Best Rhinoplasty Procedure to Fix Wide Nostrils?

I'm caucasian, white female who has very wide nostrils. I usually see nose jobs with people that have a hump. I don't have that at all. My problem is I have a very big nose and have extremely wide nostrils that really spread across my face when I smile. It really is hideous. I never hear about narrowing of the nostrils.

My surgeon wants to narrow them by cutting at the side of each nostril and then closing it up in the natural seam of the nose. I am worried about scarring. He claims the scarring will be minimal and I can use cover up.

Doctor Answers 14

Fixing wide nostrils

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It is possible to narrow broad or wide nostrils with a nasal base reduction or Weir incisions. A crescent of tissue is removed from the side of the nostrils and often times the incision is brought inside of the nostrils. In essence, we are removing a wedge of tissue from each nostril and then carefully stitching it back together so that the scar is minimal. This will narrow the extra skin of the ala and as needed narrow the nostrils to decrease the width of the nose.

Thank you and best of luck.

Dr. Nassif

Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Decreasing the Width or Flair of the Nostrils

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Decreasing the width or flair iof the nostrils is accomplished via incisions at the base of your nose, which heal very well. The nostrils will still flair with animation, which is normal, but this will be less obvious.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Rhinoplasty to reduce wide nostrils

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Alar based excisions are a small incision on the inside floor of the nose and are not carried up along the lateral nostril rim. This can be done under local or general anesthesia and takes about 15 minutes to perform. They are also known as Weir excisions. Typically approximately 3 to 5 mm of skin is removed on the floor of the nose in or on the nostril face.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 158 reviews

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Reducing wide nostrils

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If your surgeon is an experienced rhinoplasty surgeon, you can expect to get excellent results with narrowing the nostrils the way that he described to you, and with minimally noticible scarring. This is a fairly common procedure, and can give you quite a nice nose. Good luck!

Amy T. Bandy, DO, FACS
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 109 reviews

Your nostrils may be narrowed with Rhinoplasty Surgery.

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The computer-imaging you provide seems to be a realistic expectation after Rhinoplasty Surgery. You see narrowing of your nostrils and tip, along with correction of your tip asymmetry that is causing your lower nose to drift to your left.

Your nostrils are not terribly wide, and I do not like to place any scars in the "natural seam of the nose" (nice description). Although these external scars may heal well, they may be unsightly and require subsequent dermabrasion. I like to keep the nostril-narrowing scar well concealed in the base of your nose (nasal sill).

I hope this is helpful for you.

Eric M. Joseph, MD
West Orange Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 435 reviews

Reduction of wide or large nostrils, but not in isolation.

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The type of alar base reduction your surgeon is describing is quite appropriate for narrowing the nostrils and when done with meticulous technique, the scars should be a non-issue.

I caution patients, however, that narrowing the nostrils can make the tip of the nose look wide or at least out of proportion. It's important to adjust not just the nasal base, but also a corresponding amount of nasal tip and bridge to achieve a pleasing appearance. Computer imaging pre-op can demonstrate this effect and help patients (and surgeons!) visualize the intended result.

Keep in mind, though, that spreading of the nose when smiling is normal and is not really correctable with rhinoplasty (at least not if a natural appearance is desired).

All the best,


David C. Pearson, MD
Jacksonville Facial Plastic Surgeon

Wide nostrils and risk of surgery

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This is a procedure with a high satisfaction rate. While every surgery carries risk, the likelihood of unfavorable scarring is low and, in the hands of a skilled surgeon, you should be pleased with the results as dramatized in your computer mock up.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Wide Nostrils

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There generally 2 types of nostril widths: horizontal and vertical. Horizontal narrowing can be achieved by making the incision on the inside of the intranasal groove and the vertical reduction which narrows the length and thickness of the nostril.
Both incisions heal well especially in Caucasians. However, an incision is an incision and there is always a potential for poor healing. In general, most outcomes are acceptable.

Oleh Slupchynskyj, MD, FACS
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 285 reviews

Rhinoplasty for wide nostrils

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Yes, your surgeon is right.  Excising skin at the base of the nose is frequently done and does narrow the nostrils. The scars heal very well, and I suspect that within a few months you won't need any cover up at all for them. Good luck.

There are number of ways to make nostrils look less wide

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The most common technique for narrowing nostrils is called alarplasty. I published an article on this in the Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery last spring. Even though there are external incisions, they usually heal so well that they are undetectable by the untrained eye. However, a number of other nasal findings can also make nostrils appear large. If the cartilage holding the tip of the nose up is weak or displaced, either naturally or from previous surgery, there is a long crease next to the tip of the nose. The tip of the nose appears to be separate from the nostrils making the nostrils look too wide, when the aren't. Strengthening the tip cartilage to actually bring the wall up improves the transition from the tip to the nostril making the tip AND the nostrils actually appear smaller.

I suggest you seek a specialist in rhinoplasty who has a lot of experience with nasal grafts to discuss your nose.

Steven J. Pearlman, MD
New York Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 141 reviews

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.