Nostril Reduction Surgery – The Alar Base Procedure

Dr. Michael Menachof Headshot

Dr. Menachof, MD, FACS has performed thousands of facial plastic surgery procedures in over 20 years of experience. He has been recognized as a Fellow by multiple academies, named one of America’s Top Facial Plastic Surgeons continually since 2003 and is featured in multiple national publications.

Similar to the other parts of the nose, such as the bridge and tip, changing the nostrils requires customized attention. Nostril size, shape, and width vary for each person, and each patient has different motivations and goals for nostril reduction surgery. The outer edges of the nostril are composed of a fatty, fibrous, soft tissue, and a person’s nostril size, thickness and flaring depends on the quantity of this fibro-fatty tissue. Each person’s nostrils are unique, you should only consider surgery if your nostril structure has been bothering you for a long period of time!

Alar Reduction Rhinoplasty

Individuals who feel that their nostrils are too big, wide, or misshapen should consult a surgeon for nostril reduction surgery. This surgery is called alarplasty, or alar base reduction, and the procedure can narrow the width of the nostril base, decreasing the size or flaring of the nostrils.

Imagine an invisible line from the inside corner of each eye straight down to your chin. If your nostrils extend beyond these lines when resting or flared, you may consider nostril reduction surgery.

Patients who qualify for an alar base reduction have a broad alar base, or lower portion of the nose. This alar nose base causes nostrils to flare and spread. The nostril reduction procedure is designed to improve the shape and dimension of the nostrils.

Nostril Reduction Procedure

Alar Base Reduction

A nostril reduction procedure is performed in the office under local anesthesia and takes about an hour to complete. The alarplasty surgeon makes an incision in the crease where the nostril meets the cheek. A wedge of nostril wall is removed, and then the incision is sewn shut. The shape of the incision may be triangular, rectangular or diamond-shape, depending on the shape of the patient’s nostrils and their desired appearance. The nostril reduction scar will be hidden in the crease of the nose, and the nose will appear smaller and narrower. For the final result of the alar surgery appear natural, the nostrils should be in proportion with the patient’s other facial features.

Nostril Reduction Surgery Cost

Alarplasty reduction cost depends on the surgeon and location, but typically the procedure costs between $2,000 and $4,000. Be sure to consult an experienced facial plastic surgeon with experience in alar base nostril reduction. It’s possible to perform this procedure on its own, or as a part of a rhinoplasty. Communicate your nasal and facial goals with your doctor, and they will help you achieve your desired nasal results!

Schedule an initial consultation to discuss nostril reduction today.

Nostril Reduction Healing

Healing times after a nostril reduction procedure vary from patient to patient. The incisions are usually closed with one deep set of dissolvable sutures, and an additional superficial set of sutures. Usually, about five to seven days after the alar nostril reduction patients will return to the surgeon to have the superficial stitches removed. Patients can expect to have a tiny, visible line in the nostril-cheek crease throughout the alar reduction healing process, but this will gradually fade away. Once the alarplasty scar is closed you can conceal it with makeup, but the scars are strategically placed in naturally camouflaged places so that eventually no makeup will be needed.

There may be some redness around the scar for the first two weeks of healing. Any major alar base reduction swelling will decrease after the first three weeks, but the remainder can take up to a year to subside. You can resume day-to-day activities a day after the surgery, and resume light fitness activities two weeks after surgery, but it’s important not to strain yourself. Many patients feel comfortable in public about two weeks after surgery.

Nostril Reductions Before & After

Below is a before and after look at two of Dr. Menachof’s nostril reduction surgeries:

Alar Base Reduction Before and AfterAlar Base Reduction Before and After

Nostril Reduction is Highly Specialized

The proper post-operative nostril size is different for every patient, but the goal is the same — blend the new nose with other facial features. Nostril shaping in both alar base surgery and rhinoplasty is highly specialized, and you should consult with an experienced surgeon about your nasal needs. Do your research when looking for a surgeon, including costs and before and after photos, so you can be confident in your surgeon’s rhinoplasty ability. You should feel good about your surgeon’s eye for well-executed facial changes. Any reduction of the nostrils should be approached conservatively and delicately if it is determined as the best solution for the patient.

This post was originally posted in June 2018 and has been reposted in 2020 with updated information. 

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