What is the Name of the External Tissue on the Underside of the Nose That Separates the Nostrils?

I recently had a small cyst removed from the exterior skin that is under my nose which separates the two nostrils. I've Googled and WebMDed to find what this area is called, but I've seen nothing definitive. I've seen the terms "frenulum," "columna," and "nasal septum," but I'm not satisfied that any of these are correct.

Doctor Answers 9

What is the Name of the External Tissue on the Underside of the Nose That Separates the Nostrils?

 The section, of the nose, that you are describing is called the "Columella".  Hope this helps.

Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

What separates the nostrils

The structure dividing the two nostrils is the columella. the area of the lip below it is the philtrum. The septum is internal.

Michael L. Schwartz, MD
West Palm Beach Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

The skin that separates your nostrils at the base of your nose is called your columella.

If you are looking at the base view of your nose, the skin from your upper lip to the apex of your nostrils is columellar skin. Above the apex of the nostrils is called the infratip lobule. Hope this helps. Dr Joseph

Eric M. Joseph, MD
West Orange Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 405 reviews

What is the Name of the External Tissue on the Underside of the Nose That Separates the Nostrils?

The area you are referring to is called the columella. This structure is made up by a portion of the two lower lateral cartilages and the skin and ligaments in this area.

Richard J. Brown, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Nose Anatomy


I believe the anatomical area you are referring to is the COLUMELLA.

I hope this helps.

Dr. Sajjadian

Ali Sajjadian, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 189 reviews

The answer is columella.

The nasal septum is the central structure inside the nose that divides the nasal cavity into left and right sides, and it is comprised of cartilage, bone, and mucous membranes on either side. The skin below the septum is the columella. You can actually pinch the skin of the columella and move it back and forth over the caudal (lower edge or "tail" end) of the septal cartilage.

The frenulum is the band of mucous membrane that runs from the midline of the lip to the gum inside your upper and lower lips. Another frenulum is the band on the underside of the tongue.

In non-medical terms, the columella is the skin that hangs down between your nostrils. This is where an incision is made for open rhinoplasty. Closed rhinoplasty uses incisions only inside the nostrils.

BTW, any physician (not just rhinoplasty surgeons) knows this anatomic definition is definitive. Hope that clears this up! Best wishes! Dr. Tholen

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 246 reviews

Columella forms the base of the nose

The medical term for the portion of the nose between the nostrils is the columella.  There is cartilage under this area of skin called the lower lateral cartilage as well as the septum.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 16 reviews


Dr. Schwartz from West Palm Beach and Dr. Weber from Lone Tree are exactly right.  Now you can talk about the Columella, the Nasal Septum and the Philtrum over the dinner table!

Robert Shumway, MD
San Diego Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews


The soft tissue that separates the nostrils is called the columella. I hope this information is helpful.

Stephen Weber MD, FACS

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.