How Severe is Nostril Scarring After Revision Rhinoplasty?

A year ago, I had Rhinoplasty to reduce my septum, remove my dorsal hump, and reduce the size of my nostrils (which were extremely large). I'm happier with my nose, but the size of my nostrils still concerns me and I'm considering having revision surgery to make them smaller.

My surgeon said that there's a risk of scarring by having the nostrils reduced further, could any of you share your experiences in nostril scarring? How likely is it? How visible are the scars? Will they fade? Is there any after-care treatments to minimize the scars?

Doctor Answers 5

Scars from Nostril Reduction

Reducing the size of the nostrils is a common procedure in rhinoplasty. It involves removing extra skin where the nose meets the face, placing the incisions in natural lines to hide them. The scars usually heal well and are difficult to see when healed. It is important for all patients to realize that any skin incision will create a small scar, even if well done. As always, there is a trade between a better nostril shape and the presence of small scars.

Baltimore Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Nostril size or alar base reduction and revision rhinoplasty

Nostril size can be further reduced but you want to be conservative; once tissue has been removed, it cannot be placed back in. When too much skin has been excised, the sides of the nostrils (the alae) can appear too straightened or artificial. You want to leave a little curve so that the nostrils do not look operated upon. If the incisions that are made to reduce the nostrils are visible they can be dermabraded after about 6 weeks after surgery to make them look less visible. 

Russell W. H. Kridel, MD
Houston Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Scaring and base of nose reduction.

The width of the base of your nose can be reduced. It requires a visible incision hidden along the outer crease of the nose. If the skin quality is favorable like your, then the resulting scar is hardly noticeable. There is a limit to the reduction that can be achieved and its usually less than what is desired. However that alone shouldn't stop you. I'd encourage you to continue.

Oakley Smith, MD, FRCSC
Toronto Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

Revision Rhinoplasty

Your surgeon is correct in that you will have some degree of scarring with this type of revision procedure. Usually the incisions are placed along the outer margin of the nostril where it joins the cheek. Alternatively, some incisions are placed along the nasal sill, which is the area between the columella (the column separating the two nostrils) and the outer margin of the nostril.

In still other cases, both incisions are combined. In most patients these incisions heal quite nicely and are barely visible to the naked eye. Like all scars, they are visible initially, start fading away within a few weeks and continue healing upwards of one year following surgery. This type of base reduction procedure can really help to provide a much more balanced looking nose.

John M. Hilinski, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Nostril Reduction

Addition reduction of the nostril size can be achieved by making incisions at the base of the nose where the outer margins of the nostrils join the face. Scarring is  usually favorable in a person like you with light skin color. I would encourage you to proceed with the revision.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 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.