Does nostril narrowing/alar base reduction always look unnatural? (Photo)

I have a somewhat wide tip and my nose flares out a lot when I smile(far beyond beginning of my eyes, see below). However, looking at rhino results of people with alarplasty, they almost exclusively look "off"; it's instantly visible that something was done, mostly because the nostrils always end up being too triangular. Is this always the case? Also, how long until the scare become invisible to outsiders?

Doctor Answers 7

Alar base reduction

From the photo it does not seem you would need this procedure.  Nonetheless, it can look very natural and the scar can be almost imperceptible if done properly.  Best wishes, Dr. T.

Fort Lauderdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Does nostril narrowing/alar base reduction always look unnatural?

Hello finallysophia,
Thanks for your question.
Alarplasty can be done in many ways and to varying degrees.  This is what makes some outcomes look natural and others look unnatural.
A good consultation with photos and simulations to get a realistic look at possible outcomes is always recommended.
Scars will fade over the course of 6-12 months in most patients.  They can easily be covered with makeup until that time.
I hope this helps.
Good luck,
Dr. Shah

Manish H. Shah, MD, FACS
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

Avoiding unnatural results with rhinoplasty and alar narrowing

The goal of all cosmetic surgery should be to limit distractions, with a corollary that we should not trade one distraction for another.  Nowhere is this more important than in rhinoplasty, where the results are as plain as the nose on your face.

Subtle alterations in alar size and nasal base width should be additive and not subtractive to overall facial aesthetics.  To maximize your chances for a successful outcome be sure you choose a surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery who can show you a comprehensive portfolio of his/or work.

Daniel Greenwald, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Alar Narrowing

It all depends on how much nostril width is reduced or the size of the alar wedge removed. Generally staying under 4mms of tissue removed does not make the nostrils look too triangular in shape.

Barry L. Eppley, MD, DMD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 72 reviews

Closed rhinoplasty candidate, some advices:

Thank you very much for sharing your concerns with us.

The harmony between facial parts makes us instinctively recognize the beauty... without knowing it, without defining it, just a perception that surprises and captivates us.

In this regard, I suggest perform a Closed Rhinoplasty (without visible scars) to treat the tip, base and nasal bridge.
With this procedure you get a delicate nose, better harmonize with your other facial features.

Kind regard,
Dr. Emmanuel Mallol.-

Emmanuel Mallol Cotes, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 256 reviews


Hello and thank you for your question. Based on your photograph, you may not need alarplasty.  I generally reserve alarplasty for patients with much wider alar bases and the scars can be disguised very well, if good technique is employed.  There are other techniques for your nose which could have a nice overall look.  You may benefit from a tip refining rhinoplasty. Your surgeon can accomplish this by trimming, suturing, and reshaping the cartilage in your lower nose. Cartilage grafts may also be used to help improve tip refinement. The most important aspect is to find a surgeon you are comfortable with. With good surgical technique, you could have an outstanding result. I recommend that you seek consultation with a qualified board-certified plastic surgeon who can evaluate you in person.

Best wishes and good luck.

Richard G. Reish, M.D.
Harvard-trained plastic surgeon

Richard G. Reish, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 125 reviews


Thank you for your questions. An experienced surgeon can prevent your scars to be visible to outsiders and can provide you with a natural look. For that reason, I suggest you consult with a board certified facial plastic surgeon.

Best wishes, 

Ross A. Clevens, MD
Melbourne Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 117 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.