Flared Nostril

Do you have distinctly flared nostrils? Widely flaring nostrils can be repaired by a rhinoplasty maneuver called an alar base resection or anaplasty. But let’s make sure we are talking about the same thing because communication between the doctor and the patient is key to success.

What are the causes?

There is no real cause of widely flared nostrils, other than some people have noses that just develop that way. The condition is more common in some ethnic groups and there are two subtly different variations. If you look at where one nostril meets your cheek, that is called the alar base. Sometimes the distance between one alar base and the other is excessively wide. In other patients, the alar base distance is normal but the nostrils flare out to the side beyond the alar base – those are true flaring nostrils.

What can be done to fix it?


If you do not want to go under the knife, Botox is a quick solution that may help you. Although it does not alter the shape of the nostrils at REST, it will reduce the width when SMILING. Botox weakens the muscles that pull your nostrils to the side when you smile.

Alar base resection or Alarplasty

Rhinoplasty is a surgical procedure that reshapes and restructures the nasal bone and cartilage to improve the function of your nose and achieve an improved aesthetic appearance. One maneuver that can be used during rhinoplasty is designed to narrow the alar base or reduce the flaring of the nostrils. Depending on which variation, mentioned above, that you have, the tissue is removed in slightly different places. For a wide alar base, a small wedge of tissue is removed in the crease where the nose meets the cheek which pulls the nostril inwards slightly on both sides, narrowing the alar base. For patients with flaring nostrils, the wedge of tissue is removed from the nostril itself, above the alar base, thereby decreasing the width of the flared nostrils, but not changing the alar base width.

While these procedures are most commonly performed during a rhinoplasty, they are occasionally performed as an isolated procedure in the office under local anesthesia.

Nasal Tip Rhinoplasty

When patients say they have a wide nasal tip they might be talking about the actual tip of the nose or they may be referring to the alar base or both. It is important that in your discussion with your surgeon that you articulate exactly what is bothering you. An experienced surgeon will help you since these are discussions that plastic surgeons have with their patients every day.

A rhinoplasty procedure takes about 1½- 2 hours to perform and requires about a week before you will want to be seen in public and about three weeks before you can return to unrestricted exercise.

If you are concerned about the flare of your nostrils and are considering undergoing rhinoplasty, speak with an expert. Dr. Charles Thorne has successfully performed rhinoplasty for more than 30 years. You can arrange an appointment here or call (212) 794-0044.

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