Could my alar rims be adjusted - to make nostrils smaller - is this possible? (photo)

I have elongated nostrils - I have posted here a picture of the nose I would like (my simulation) on the right, and my current nose on the left. Also a side view. Is it possible to make long narrow nostrils less visible?

Doctor Answers 11

Alar base surgery and tip projection

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After evaluating the photos that you posted, it appears that you have mild alar flaring that contributes to wider nostril appearance on the frontal view and a slightly overprojected nose (length of the nose from the cheek to the tip on the profile view is too long) that contributes to the elongated appearance on the profile view. Both of these could be improved with rhinoplasty. Slight deprojection of the nose (bringing the tip back 1 mm or so) will improve the overprojection but will cause increased alar flaring and this could be corrected by alar base excisions (removal of nostril skin just infront of the alar crease (crease dividing the cheek/upper lip and nostril). Another less obvious issue to consider if you have the projection of your nasal tip altered is that your radix (transition of forehead to nose that is slightly depressed) appears low. Augmenting the radix so that it is slightly higher will likely provide better balance with the degree of tip projection on the profile view. These issues can be improved with rhinoplasty.

Alar wedge resection: a good idea

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Sometimes there is more "material" or skin than the nose needs or after reduction.  Be careful because this procedure can result in visible scars.  At a consultation your nose can be looked at 3D to see why the ala seem wide to you.

Jeffrey Ditesheim, MD, FACS
Charlotte Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Alar rim adjustment for wide nostrils

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An alar plasty can be performed as a stand-alone procedure, or as part of a rhinoplasty. The procedure involves removal of a small wedge of skin at the base of the nostrils to narrow the nostril and nasal base.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Rhinoplasty for alar narrowing.

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Rhinoplasty for alar narrowing for your nose can be done. You will need the tip done as well otherwise it will look bigger. See a very experienced rhinoplasty surgeon. 

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


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The alar wedge resection is usually done at the same time as a Rhinoplasty, if needed.  Consult with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon who is very experienced in Cosmetic Rhinoplasty surgery for your best result.

Robert E. Zaworski, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 61 reviews


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It is possible to narrow the nostrils with surgery to obtain the result that you desire. The procedure is called ala wedge resections and is frequently done in conjunction with a full rhinoplasty Dr. Corbin

Frederic H. Corbin, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

Changing alar shape

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It looks like you narrowed the alar width with the photo you showed.You must assess the width of the nasal tip.
Get imaged by a rhinoplastic surgeon.

David A. F. Ellis, MD
Toronto Facial Plastic Surgeon

Alarplasty to make nostrils smaller

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To achieve your desired result, tipplasty and alarplasty will be required. Based on your side view photos, your alar rim is also slightly retracted. Should alar base resection not be enough to correct this, alar rim lowering procedure will be needed to achieve the result that you want.

Somyos Kunachak, MD
Thailand Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Alar Rim Adjustment to Decrease Nostrils

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The alar rims can be adjusted and the flare of the nostril rims reduced to decrease the size of the nostril opening. You should refine the tip so the components of the lower nose remain proportional. 

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

Could my alar rims be adjusted - to make nostrils smaller - is this possible?

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After reviewing your photos and your desired look, I am optimistic and confident that we could achieve a closer proximity to your goals. As you know -- guarantees in medicine--are impossible.. However, your desired improvement in my opinion appears realistic. Nostrils can be adjusted. The fundamental techniques of rhinoplasty --which include tip narrowing, height, width and length adjustments--will give you your desired result.

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.