Feb 11

Can you correct asymmetric nostrils?

We are often asked by patients whether nostril asymmetry can be corrected. This is something that often really bothers people a lot even though they know that noone else really sees their nostrils on a regular basis (except for maybe the family pet). The answer depends on the cause of the asymmetry. Much of the time, it is caused by asymmetry of the cartilages that make up the tip of the nose. You can be born this way but, more often than not, it happens from over-aggressive previous surgery. In this case, fixing the cartilage problems will go a long way towards improving nostril symmetry. You can see more results in our photo gallery.  Sometimes, one nostril is just naturally smaller or shaped differently than the other one. The nostrils can be made to appear more similar in size and shape, but they may not be made perfectly symmetrical. This is usually cosmetically acceptable because noses and faces aren’t naturally perfectly symmetrical. So, the goal is to have every aspect of your nose look nice, natural, internally balanced, harmonious with other features and unoperated upon.When there is a major difference in nostril symmetry, such as in someone with a cleft lip and palate, deficient bone and soft tissue is often responsible. In these situations, we have to do a lot of work including grafting to get things looking more similar. But, even in these cases, improvements can be had. We encourage you to discuss your particular concerns with us directly, so we can evaluate you individually.


 Rhinoplasty Base View PreopRhinoplasty Base View Postop

This young woman was unhappy with the asymmetry of her nostrils that was also affecting her breathing. She also wanted her tip to be a little more refined and less boxy in appearance. In the 1 year postop view, you can see narrowing of the tip and achievement of nostril symmetry.

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6 Comments so far

  1. Dan Rodriguez February 1st, 2011 7:59 pm

    First, I’m looking to narrow my nostrils. Then, my nose is slightly twisted leftward and my right nostril is more exposed then the left. Can straightening of the nose bring the right nostril into place? Also, my nostrils are quite exposed from a front view, similar to a pig nose. Can there be anything done about making the nostril less revealing from a straight front view? Thankyou I look forward to your response.

  2. admin February 2nd, 2011 11:26 am

    Hi Dan,

    Your nostrils may be asymmetric in and of themselves, or they may also appear crooked because the tip cartilage itself is crooked and is pulling or tethering the nostril. All of these factors must be addressed during surgery in order to get as much nostril and tip symmetry as possible. At the same time, it is often possible to reduce the appearance of nostril ‘show’ from the front by changing the tip contour to reduce the area of nostril seen. Feel free to send us some photos and we can be more definitive about your specific situation. We look forward to being of help.

  3. Linda June 30th, 2011 2:18 am

    I have almost the same exact problem as the picture above. If all I needed was an soft bone or tissue surgery, how long would the healing process take & how much swelling would take place?

  4. admin June 30th, 2011 7:29 am

    Hi Linda,

    Nostril narrowing by itself can be done under local anesthesia or light sedation. There are sutures that are generally removed after 6-7 days. You should look presentable after a week with any residual swelling gradually decreasing over the first several months. Adding tip refinement to the procedure would add slightly to tip swelling after the procedure but it resolves fairly quickly. See our post on swelling after rhinoplasty for more details.

  5. Laura April 13th, 2014 10:46 am

    My nostrils are almost exactly as the picture above. I am happy with the rest of my nose, I just want my nostrils to look symmetrical. What kind of surgery is involved with that type of correction? Are you saying I could just go under local anesthesia to correct asymmetrical nostrils?

  6. developer April 14th, 2014 8:59 am

    Hi Laura,

    If the only asymmetry is in the shape of the nostrils themselves, they can be addressed under local anesthesia with a nostril reduction procedure. This can be done asymmetrically to compensate for differences in nostril shape.

    If, however, like the case photos shown above, the asymmetry also involves a crooked columella (the vertical bridge of tissue between the nostrils), this is best addressed through an open rhinoplasty approach under general anesthesia.

    Feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss your situation in more detail.

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