Why is There an Indent in my Nostril when I Smile?

When I smile I get this line/dent in my nose. What is it called? Why do I have it? Its only on the left side of my nose not the other. Ive never had rhinoplasty before. Is it fixable or is that just how my nose is shaped?

Doctor Answers 11

Nostril indention upon animation

 The  nostril indention can be caused by  the a concave or inverted lower lateral cartilage on the affected side, and a active depressor septae ligament the tethers the tip downwards upon animation. Both of these can be addressed with a rhinoplasty procedure.

Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 145 reviews

Inverted Lower Lateral Nasal Cartilage Causing Asymmetry of Nose

Hi Miss Mex,

It appears that you may have an inverted left lower lateral nasal cartilage that is concave instead of the normal convex.  This would have to be confirmed on an actual physical examination.  If that is the case, and it bothers you aesthetically, it can be corrected by nasal surgery.  The offending piece of cartilage is excised, flipped, and then sutured back in place correcting the problem.  Choose your rhinoplasty surgeon most carefully.  Good luck and be well.

Dr. P

Michael A. Persky, MD
Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Why is There an Indent in my Nostril when I Smile?

The indent you're referring to is your alar groove. While it might be more pronounced on your left side it is dramatically enhanced by the lighting in the first two photos you've posted. The lighting "flattens" the right side of your nose and enhances shadowing on the left side in the first two photos. Filler could potentially soften this but you're best off ignoring it. You have a very attractive face and everyone notices your eyes and brows and are unaware of the groove that troubles you. I hope this information is helpful.

Stephen Weber MD, FACS

Lone Tree Facial Plastic Surgeon

Stephen Weber, MD, FACS
Denver Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 129 reviews

Indent near nostril

This looks like a normal variant. I would run far away if someone says that you should have an operation to improve this.  Enjoy life!

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Nostril indent

That little depression is known as the soft triangle of the nose and, as you note, it is more noticeable on one side than the other. Do not try to get it fixed. It is actually a desirable feature of a nicely shaped nose. Overall your nose looks quite nice so don't mess with it, you would be making a mistake.

Ronald J. Edelson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Depression Left Nostril When Smiling

The asymmetry you have observed, regardless of cause (there are several), can be improved with rhinoplasty surgery. Consult with an experienced specialist who will examine you and describe alternative treatments.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Non-surgical rhinoplasty with fillers is a great treatment for nasal asymmetry, including dents

Fillers, like Restylane, Radiesse, and occasionally Arterfill, are great options for contouring the nose and improving nasal symmetry.

Non-surgical Rhinoplasty is an advanced filler technique so look for someone who specializes in the procedure. 

The fillers may be used to fill dents and concavities or add definition to the tip, similar to the effect of a tip graft.   They last one year in total, half of the filler is absorbed at 6 months and many patients will have touch-up appointments then.

Good luck,

Dr. M.

David C. Mabrie, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 111 reviews

Indentation on the side of Nose

The indentation you are referring to is the Alar groove.This is a normal structure.The Alar groove deepens when you smile.It is not uncommon for some asymmetry between the right and  left side of your nose to exist.

Jay M. Pensler, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Nasal indentation when smiling

The indentation of your nose is a normal variant.  Rhinoplasty would not be expected to correct this problem with any degree of certainty.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Why is There an Indent in my Nostril when I Smile?

Assymetry in the human face occurs 100% of the time. What you see is a very minor degree of assymetry and should not require surgery. I doubt one friend or acquaintance out of 100 would even notice this unless you first called it to their attention. You should not consider surgery, but if it's a very bothersome problem for you a little Botox into the muscle causing the change is an easy and noninvasive way to stop the crease from forming.

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 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.