Should I Go for Revision Rhinoplasty Because of Hanging Columella?

I had a Rhinoplasty operation 2 years ago and was quite happy with the results at the time, but since then I have grown increasingly unhappy with the tip. I think it looks quite bulbous due to hanging columella. What is your opinion? And if necessary, how easy would it be to correct? (I can't upload my image as it's a pdf - I could email it to you if you respond? Thanks!)

Doctor Answers 41

Hanging columella: a good reason for revisional surgery

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I just think a hanging columella is a hallmark of bad rhinoplasty.  I do not like the way they look on their own and I especially do not like what they do for a person's overall look.  I think they need to be fixed, but every situation is different.  Send photos and operative note if you can.  Every situation is different and needs to be evaluated as such.

Fixing a hanging columella through revision rhinoplasty

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The columella (portion of the nose between the nostrils) can appear to be "hanging" for a multitude of reasons. It is important to address this issue with a revision rhinoplasty specialist, in order to diagnose the cause of your issue and address it appropriately. In some cases this can be as straightforward as a slight shave of the underlying medial crura of the lower lateral cartilages. More frequently, I address this issue by straightening the columella with a nice, straight piece of cartilage taken from the septum, what is called a columellar strut. In other cases, the infratip (area below the tip) is overrotated, in which case additional maneuvers or cartilage grafts to recreate a normal tip/infratip relationship may be needed. As others have mentioned, retraction of your nostrils can accentuate the problem. With photos, I would be able to analyze your situation further but hopefully this is helpful.

Hanging columella can be an unsightly deformity

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See an experienced rhinoplasty surgeon in your area and have them examine your nose.  If the problem is simply a hanging columella there are many procedures to improve this.  However, an experienced rhinoplasty surgeon my uncover other problems that need to be addressed.

Robert Mounsey, MD
Toronto Facial Plastic Surgeon

Hanging columella can be improved

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Increase in nostril show can be the result of a hanging columella and/or alar retraction and many times a combination of both. The good news is that it can be corrected with revision surgery.

Revision rhinoplasty for nasal tip and hanging columella

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In situations like this, it is best to consult with a revision specialist. Bring along your pre and post-op photos and operative reports. Hopefully, your surgeon can help visualize what is bothering you about your current nasal form (and perhaps confirm what you've said). Things are usually a bit more complicated than they seem, and an experienced surgeon can help determine what revision (if any) would be right for you.

Hope this helps.

Sam Most, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 66 reviews

Hanging columella

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If it bothers you, it is usually amenable to a minor revision to tuck it up slightly. It can be determined after a full exam.

Jeffrey Jumaily, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

In order to best adress a need for revision pre and post op set of photos should be included

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Hello, and thank you for your question.

It appears that from your description that you are unhappy with your tip region.  As far as the amount of time that has gone by since your surgery, you should be able to undergo a revisionary procedure. 

To correct a bit of columellar fullness should not be too challenging, as far as reducing your tip fullness- this can be more complex.  However without images it is difficult to be any more specific.

Please chose a surgeon with experience in revisionary rhinoplasties (aka, secondary rhinoplasty).

I hope this helps, and best of luck,

Sergio Pasquale Maggi, M.D., FACS
Austin Plastic Surgery Center


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Hanging columella is preventable with the right technique and especially understanding the forces and dynamics the nose undergoes with a rhinoplasty. Rhinoplasty is a one of the most difficult surgeries in plastics. Every move, every cut, has a different end result for the nose. Go to an experienced revision rhinoplasty surgeon in your area if you are still thinking about correcting it. Good luck

George S. Miguel, DO
Troy Facial Plastic Surgeon


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You must have what we call excess columellar show. A few millimeters of show is aesthetically pleasing. This is actually pretty easy to fix... but you need to diagnose what the problem is. It is not always as simple as too much... there may be too little of the lower lateral cartilages. Photographs will be great for evaluation

Norman Bakshandeh, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon

Be Careful and Select Closed Approach With A Surgeon Well Versed in Advanced Grafting Techniques

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Unfortunately you are in good company. Most rhinoplasty patients out there are very unhappy with their results in 1-2 years. The explanation for this is very simple: Most surgeons performing rhinoplasty do not have advanced training or experience, they perform the rhinoplasty of 50 years ago. Decades ago thought process of rhinoplasty was to remove cartilage to refine the shape of the nose and perform it through an open approach. An open approach makes it easy for neophyte surgeons to access visualize and manipulate the structures but also unnecessarily destroys two arteries and veins that are important for nasal vascularity. The open approach thus ensures that patients have 1-2 years of risidual swelling which hides the final result. Most rhinoplasties out there I consider cartilage robbing thus when the swlling resolves there is inadequate structure to provide aesthetic appearance and fight the cicatriacial forces or the continued scarring that results from the lowered oxygen tension and fibrosis of tissues. One additional problem it that most rhinoplasty surgeons out there inadvertently break the connection between the bony nose and the cartilagenous nose. this can cause irregular narrowing and what we calll "the inverted V deformity" which means the outline of the nasal bone becomes visible through the skin particularly in flash photography under certain lighting conditions.

In my opinion, an expert level rhinoplasty is always performed in a closed technique and ALWAYS involves grafting to add to the structural integrity of the nose. The act of opening the nose even under the closed technique causes healing and some contraction, thus for a long term beautiful result the nose must be left more structurally sound than it was found. This is missed upon most rhinoplasty surgeons.  In your case, the nose DEFINITELY should not be opened a second time because the lip-columella-tip relationship is always changed with open rhinoplasty scarring and success depends largely on the design and execution of your columellar strut.

In secondary cases such as yours it is even more crucial that sound grafting techniques are used. It sounds like at a minimum you will need  a columellar strut. Definitely do not consider any rhinoplasty procedure that does not include grafting preferably by an experienced Plastic and reconstructive training with ddition fellowship level craniofacial and aesthetic training. Of course this is my bias because it is my training but I think this level of training is very necessary for success in secondary and tertiary rhinoplasty because there is delicate nuance involved and every patient requires different maneuvers. I hope this helps!

All the best,

Rian A. Maercks M.D.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.