Options to Correct Uneven Nostrils After Rhinoplasty?

I have uneven nostrils resulting from a Rhinoplasty 11 days ago. I'm not interested in revision, as I want the nostril to be larger--not smaller. What are my options? Please help me with any advice, and if I am to entertain revision what exactly am I up against? Does stretching the skin around the rim of my small nostril using compressed cotton or some small device help?

Doctor Answers 8

Too soon to tell

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Since it has only been 11 days since your rhinoplasty surgery, it is not a good idea to have revision rhinoplasty or alarplasty done at this point. There is definitely swelling in the nose that needs to subside before embarking on any revision surgery. An alarplasty on the large side can also reduce the size of the larger nostril to more match the smaller nostril.

Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Keep waiting after Rhinoplasty

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Dear MsMiami,

As you have already heard, you still need to be patient on this point. There may be a difference now that is not visible later, once the swelling has gone away. Regarding streching (splinting), I would not recommend doing this until being advised by your surgeon. Although splinting does work, and is occasionally necessary, it is only advisable if recommended by your surgeon.

On this note, there are patients who have asymmetry in the nostrils after surgery that requires surgical improvment. There are ways of making the nostrils larger after surgery.

Often, rhinoplasty surgery can unmask mild asymmetries that were present before surgery. In some cases, the nostrils may be asymmetric because of nasal septum deviation at the lower edge of the septum, thus affecting the middle wall in between the nostrils (the collumella). Sometimes the asymmetry is due to retraction of the nostril edge which can make the nostril seem larger. In very few patients, the asymmetry results from asymmetric removal of skin from the alar base (where the nostrils atach to the cheek).

I hope this helps.

Behrooz Torkian, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Rhinoplasty and Uneven Nostrils 11 Days After Surgery

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Hi Ms. Miami,

You really need to wait some time (4 to 6 months) before even considering revision rhinoplasty. It is not uncommon for nostrils to be uneven during the first weeks after surgery.

Do not attempt to dilate your nostrils with compressed cotton or any other device that you may find on late night cable TV. Be patient, stay in touch with your rhinoplasty surgeon, and let your nose heal.

Maybe even take a walk on beautiful South Beach for me. I hope that your nose heals and settles well.

Dr. P

Michael A. Persky, MD
Encino Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Too soon to make any judgement.

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 You need to wait 6-12 months and then decide. It is too soon due to the swelling to make any decision about unevenness of the nostrils.

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

You could certainly massage the smaller rim

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As you are very early in your postoperative course, you will have significant amounts of swelling especially in the nostril areas. I have patients massage the nostrils if they feel they are too thick. It typically is effective and not dangerous to the healing of the nose. It gives a patient a small measure of control over the course of their recovery.

You need to understand that it will take at least a year for your nose to settle down. You can speak to your surgeon about revisions at that time. Don't worry right now since it is too early.

Manish H. Shah, MD, FACS
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

11 days is very soon to be getting worried

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Final results from rhinoplasty take weeks to months to see. 11 days post-op is very early and you really should not be worried at this point. Wait for the swelling to resolve and the tissues to settle. That said, you may need a revision on the nostrils, but this will usually make them smaller rather than larger. Good luck with your recovery.

Waiting, Anticipating

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Ms. Miami,

As you have now heard many times, you must wait at least 6 months and preferably a full year before considering rhinoplasty revision.  It will take that long for swelling and scarring to settle down.  Good luck!

You need not to touch it.

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Talk to your rhinoplasty surgeon. A lot of complex delicate structures have been surgically manipulated. Pulling, etc may break the structures or sutures, and damage beyond repair, your nose. Some of this may be due to swelling, and some may be able to be manipulated by your doctor who knows what went on under the skin.


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.