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Rhinoplasty to Make Nostrils Smaller (Alarplasty)

Some people who have wide or prominent nostrils that bother them: there is a solution. Alarplasty is a surgical procedure that can reduce the size and shape of the nostrils.

What is an alarplasty?

The alar is the section on your nose where the nostrils become rounded from the tip and extending toward the cheek. Alarplasty addresses this specific area. It is a plastic surgery procedure most commonly completed to alter overly wide nostrils. This procedure is used to increase or decrease the width of the nostrils, for either cosmetic or functional reasons.

How does it work?

The procedure is performed under local anesthesia, an incision is made either on the outside or inside of the nose in the alar region. Next, the surgeon removes a specific amount of tissue. Once this tissue is removed, the incision is sutured. This narrows the span of wide nostrils. Bone and cartilage are not touched with an alarplasty, so recovery is faster than a rhinoplasty.

What is the difference between an alarplasty and a rhinoplasty?

Unlike a rhinoplasty that can change the appearance of your entire nose, alarplasty only changes the width of the nostrils. A rhinoplasty is performed under general anesthesia, an alarplasty is performed using local anesthesia. During a rhinoplasty the surgeon can trim away cartilage, shave down bone, or remove unnecessary soft tissue; during an alarplasty the surgeon only performs incisions to the alar region of the nose and does not touch the bone or cartilage.

Does it leave scars?

The incision is made in the natural crease where the nostrils meet the face, so the scar is well hidden.

How long is the procedure?

It is a relatively quick procedure. Typically, it takes forty-five minutes to an hour, not including the time it takes to apply numbing and local anesthesia.

Is it painful?

Because of the local anesthesia the procedure is pain-free. A minor pain killer will be prescribed for the recovery period.

What is the downtime after an alarplasty?

Downtime is one to two weeks. If you wear prescription glasses prepare to be without glasses for about three weeks and without contacts for about three days following the procedure.

What should you expect after surgery?

You will likely feel some discomfort and minor pain in the nose area and you will experience swelling and puffiness during the first few days following the operation. After about two to three days the pain will start to go away but the swelling will continue. Minor bleeding at the incision site is normal and usually stops after about two days. The swelling of the face will start to go away after about one week and should be back to normal after two weeks. You will need to come back to the office for bandage removal around the third day of recovery and you will come back between the 7th and 10th day for removal of the stitches.

Even after the bandages and stitches have been removed it is important to avoid strenuous activities that may affect your results. Anything that can increase pressure on the face will prolong swelling and bruising for up to three weeks after the procedure. Even after all sutures have been removed you must remember that the nose is still healing and take good care of your nose! Eyeglass frames should not be worn for three weeks following the surgery and contact lenses should not be worn for the first two to three days after surgery.

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