Sep 16

Rhinoplasty and Nostril Narrowing at the same time

We have recently heard from a couple of prospective patients who are concerned about having open rhinoplasty to narrow the tip and a nostril narrowing procedure (alar base reduction) at the same time. They had been to see other surgeons who had advised against this because of fear of risk to the blood supply of the nasal tip.

Quite frankly, we were a little surprised by this recommendation. The beauty of surgery is that it is not an exact science and there are many ways to arrive at the desired goal. However, the concern that tip rhinoplasty and nostril narrowing, when done together, might compromise the blood supply to the tip skin is really unfounded. In fact, most surgeons who make rhinoplasty a focus of their practice will tell you that they routinely perform these procedures together without issue. That has been our experience.

Some surgeons also advocate waiting to do nostril narrowing as a second procedure so that they can better assess how much narrowing is needed. To the contrary, we have found that we can very readily assess at the time of the initial tip work how much nostril reduction is needed if at all. To our minds, the initial surgery is the best time at which to make these desired changes to create a tip that is balanced and harmonious by reducing nostril width, flare, and asymmetry. We leave this part of the procedure to the very end so we can best determine how much nostril width and flare is still an issue after the other tip enhancements have been achieved. In experienced hands, the minimal swelling that occurs during surgery is not a factor.

There’s no real harm in waiting, of course, other than having to go through a second procedure later on. It can be done fairly easily under local anesthesia. In rare cases, when we feel that someone is very borderline in terms of need for nostril narrowing, we’ll wait. We almost always find later on that indeed it was not necessary. But, our overriding philosophy is that we want our patients’ first rhinoplasty with us to also be the last time they need anything done for their noses. So, when alar base reduction would be beneficial, we want to take care of it at the same time.

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