What is alar base reduction (nostril reduction)?
Alar base reduction, also known as alarplasty or nostril reduction surgery, is specifically designed to adjust the size of the nostrils only. The most desirable new shape is one that has well-proportioned nostrils, which are in harmony with the overall structure of the nose. Rhinoplasty surgery or nose job is one of the most commonly requested cosmetic surgery procedures at Centre for Surgery. A nose job is a broad term that can describe many different types of surgical procedures performed on the nose, including septoplasty or tip rhinoplasty. Although it is a minor surgical procedure, it has the potential to significantly transform the appearance of the nose.
The appearance of the human nose and its aesthetic ideal has often changed throughout history with desirable nose shapes changing over time based on society’s views and attitudes on beauty. The nose has always occupied a prominent part of the face with a significant influence on facial features and therefore comes as no surprise that the nose is considered one of the most important aspects of facial harmony and beauty. Our expert rhinoplasty surgeons in London have many years of experience performing all types of rhinoplasty surgery including alar base reduction and alarplasty surgery.
What is Alarplasty (alar base reduction)?
Alarplasty is also known as nostril reduction surgery or alar base reduction and is designed to alter the width and shape of the nostrils. The alae are used to describe the part of the knows where the nostrils take on a rounded appearance and extend laterally onto the cheeks. The optimum aesthetic appearance of the nose has been determined based on carrying out hundreds of measurements on a wide variety of different people’s noses. Most experts agree that the width of the nose should match the width of the area between the eyes which is also equivalent to approximately 1/5 of the width of your face. If the width of the nose extends beyond this, many people may feel their face has reduced facial balance and diminished aesthetic beauty.
Alar base reduction is most commonly requested to alter the size of excessively wide nostrils. The shape of the nostrils can also be surgically altered. The nostrils can be increased or decreased in width and many functional concerns can be corrected including breathing difficulties and procedure may be combined with a septoplasty or tip rhinoplasty for improvement of nasal airflow obstruction. Alarplasty is a type of rhinoplasty procedure and can be performed on its own or combined with a full rhinoplasty procedure for the correction of many different types of nasal concerns.
Alar base reduction also known as an alarplasty or nostril reduction is a type of rhinoplasty surgical procedure designed to reduce the size of the nostrils. The procedure involves the surgical removal of a small wedge-shaped area of skin which results in smaller and narrow nostrils which are more symmetrical. At Centre for Surgery, we have our own day surgery facilities at 95-97 Baker Street. We do not use ‘third party’ providers and are therefore able to provide the highest standards of care.
Why do people have alarplasty?
Wide nostrils can lead to distortion of facial features when they are out of proportion to the rest of the nose which means that other areas like the cheek, mouth or eyes may lose prominence. When the nose is viewed from below, the nose base takes on a triangular shape. The ideal shape of the nostrils should involve a gentle outward curvature between the tip of the nose and the alar crease which is where the alae join with the cheeks. If there is an excessive outward curvature, the overall facial aesthetic balance can be disrupted and this may be a cause of concern for many people with excessively wide nostrils.
Alar base reduction for wide nostrils is commonly requested by people from certain ethnic backgrounds. If you feel your nostrils are too wide and are having an adverse impact on your facial appearance and self-confidence, you may be an ideal candidate for nostril reduction or alarplasty surgery.
What are the benefits of alar base reduction?
The nose is the central feature of the face and therefore has a large contribution to the overall balance of facial harmony. If you are unhappy with all your nose and nostrils look, you may find you are feeling less confident about yourself and with a reduction in emotional well-being. Alar base reduction is a much less invasive procedure compared with a traditional Rhinoplasty. It is very difficult for anyone to notice whether you have had a cosmetic surgery procedure but almost certainly will remark upon how sculpted and contoured your nose looks.
Nostril reduction surgery is ideal for patients who are looking to:
- Narrow the width of their nostrils to better match their overall facial features
- Correcting asymmetry between both nostrils
- Improve breathing through the nose if there is nasal airflow obstruction
- Enhance their facial features
- Improve self-confidence with a possible increase in emotional well-being
Am I suitable for nostril reduction surgery?
For patients who feel their nostrils have an excessively wide or flared appearance or are concerned about the size of their nostrils then the nostril reduction procedure can be highly effective.
The alar region of the nose refers to the area that joins the face to the nostrils. They have a wide variety of appearances and can appear shorter or taller or thinner or thicker which is dependent on one’s natural facial shape. The nostril reduction procedure focuses on removing a small wedge from the alar region which helps to reduce the broad appearance of the nose. Many patients may have already had a previous rhinoplasty procedure and wish to fine-tune the results even further.
You will initially be reviewed by a fully qualified consultant plastic surgeon experienced in rhinoplasty & nose job surgery. Our lead surgeons are specialist rhinoplasty surgeons and hold or have previously held NHS consultant appointments and where they regularly perform complex reconstructive surgery. This way you have the opportunity to discuss directly with the surgeon who will perform your alarplasty operation (if you go ahead) your ideas, concerns and expectations about the nostril reduction procedure. The surgeon may also inform you of the risks which may occur if you choose to travel abroad for your alar base reduction.
As part of the consultation, the surgeon will:
- Take a full history and examine you;
- Explain what the alarplasty surgery involves; and
- Will offer his/her professional opinion of what can/cannot be done to achieve the ideal aesthetic outcome
What does alar base reduction involve?
Alar base reduction is quick procedure to carry out with the ability to transform your facial features instantly. The type of nostril trimming technique chosen by your surgeon will depend on the shape of your nostrils and your goals for treatment. Alarplasty surgery is easily carried out under a local anaesthetic as the procedure is less invasive compared with a full rhinoplasty procedure. As with all procedures at Centre for Surgery, nostril reduction is a day case procedure which means will be admitted and discharged on the same day which allows you to recover in the comfort of your own home.
If you choose to have a general anaesthetic, you should ensure you have a responsible adult to collect you after the procedure is complete and look after you for at least the first 24 hours after your procedure. In most cases, a general anaesthetic is not required, if the procedure is not combined with an open rhinoplasty.
Your surgeon will first carefully mark the area with a marker pen. These markings form the basis for the area of skin that will be removed as part of the nostril reduction procedure. Local anaesthetic is then injected into the areas which are surgically marked. After a sterile prep and drape of the area, your surgeon will carefully place incisions in the area of the surgical markings to remove the wedge of tissue. The Surgeon will usually make the incision in the alar crease to minimise any possible scarring after alarplasty as the incision will be concealed in your natural skin folds. After the wedge of soft tissue has been removed at the alar base, the surgeon will perform fine cautery to seal any small blood vessels and minimise postoperative bruising. Final adjustments are often made to your nostril shape prior to re-attaching the nostrils back to their base followed by closure with dissolvable stitches.
The surgical site is then covered with a sterile dressing. The post-operative nursing team will monitor you until you are medically fit for discharge. A prescription for post-operative antibiotics and painkillers will be given to you by your surgeon. You will see one of our post-operative nursing team at one week for a wound check.
Alar base reduction recovery
Nostril reduction surgery is most commonly performed under local anaesthesia or under a general anaesthetic if combined with a full rhinoplasty. Alarplasty takes approximately one hour to carry out and you will be allowed to go home soon after your procedure once the post-operative instructions have been explained to you. It is normal to experience mild bruising and swelling in the first few days after alar reduction surgery. Any pain or discomfort should be minimal and easily controlled with over-the-counter painkillers. Bruising and swelling will start to settle down after five or six days. It is normal to experience minor oozing from the incision sites and this will resolve completely after 48 to 72 hours. You’ll be reviewed at one week by one of our post-operative nurses and stitches will be removed and the incision site will be inspected to make sure everything is healing properly. Most patients report no pain by the end of the first week and any bruising and swelling has either gone or reduced substantially by the end of the first week.
Unlike rhinoplasty surgery, alar base reduction does not involve surgical alteration to the nasal bone which helps to significantly reduce any potential bruising, swelling or discomfort as well as ensuring a much quicker recovery. The average recovery time after alar base reduction is approximately two weeks with most patients returning to their normal activities by the one-week stage. Compared with other parts of the face, the nose is more prone to developing prolonged swelling due to its highly vascular nature. Any persistent swelling usually takes between three and six months to fully resolve. The scars after nostril reduction surgery are barely noticeable due to their location within the nasal skin folds even straight after the alar base surgery. Our post-operative nursing team will be able to advise you on optimal scar management strategies to make sure your scars completely fade with time.
When will I start to see alarplasty results?
Having your nostril reduction surgery carried out by an expert rhinoplasty surgeon means your healing and recovery will be rapid and this means your results will be noticeable after only one week. The vast bulk of any bruising and swelling will be fully resolved after one week. Most patients can then begin to enjoy the results of the alar base reduction procedure with a significant boost in self-confidence.
After two weeks, most of our patients have enough confidence to start taking photos of themselves including selfies. We hope you will be looking forward to the positive remarks others will give you once you are healed from the surgery. Although approximately 3 to 6 months are needed for all swelling to resolve, the vast majority of patients find they have no more swelling after only one month from their nostril reduction surgery.
Risk and complications of alarplasty
Alar base reduction is a commonly carried out procedure at Centre for Surgery and when performed by an experienced rhinoplasty surgeon, the risk of complications is minimal. Complications however can potentially occur with any surgical procedure, nostril reduction surgery is no different. There are many factors that will influence healing such as the thickness of the skin, smoking status and a number of other factors.
At the consultation, your surgeon will always take time to fully discuss the risks and complications associated with alar base reduction. By choosing Centre for Surgery for your alarplasty procedure, you can be confident in having highly experienced and expert rhinoplasty surgeons to perform your procedure and manage your aftercare.
Risks of alar base reduction include (but are not limited to):
- Surgical site infection
- Excessive scarring
When considering any type of cosmetic surgery, it is important to only consult with a fully qualified consultant plastic surgeon who is a specialist in all types of rhinoplasty surgery including alar base reduction. This will help to reduce the risk of complications significantly.
How much does alar base reduction cost?
Alar base reduction is also known as alarplasty or nostril reduction and is a type of rhinoplasty surgery. The total cost of surgery will depend on a number of factors and an accurate costing will be given after your consultation with one of our surgeons.
Alar base reduction generally costs £2495 under local anaesthetic at our Baker Street clinic in central London.
What is included in my treatment package?
- As many preoperative consultations with your surgeon as you like to make sure the procedure is right for you
- Treatment at a specialist day surgery facility recently rated ‘Good’ by the CQC
- Enhanced same-day discharge with the added benefits of recovering in your own home
- 24/7 clinical support from your surgeon for the first 48 hours and our expert postoperative support team
- Your very own dedicated patient coordinator
- In-depth preoperative medical assessment to make sure you are fully fit for the nostril reduction procedure
- Exceptionally high standards of postoperative care described as ‘outstanding’ by the CQC with regular telephone and face-to-face checks by our expert postoperative support team
What are the benefits of alar base reduction?Alar base reduction is a highly effective procedure for addressing:
- Size of the nose - with a reduction in the size of the nostrils, the lower part of the nose appears more narrow and smaller
- The shape of the nose - by removing soft tissue at the alar base, the nose takes on a more narrow shape
- Disorders of breathing - when alar base reduction is combined with a septorhinoplasty then the procedure can address both the size, symmetry and projection of the nostrils
At what age can I have alarplasty?Alar base reduction or alarplasty is one of our most popular types of rhinoplasty procedures. The nose does not undergo full maturity until after puberty and this is at least 16 years of age in most people. You must be at least 18 years of age before having a consultation for nostril reduction surgery at Centre for Surgery in London.
Is alar base reduction worth it?Patients who are unhappy with how their nostrils look are often keen to learn more about the benefits of having a nostril trimming procedure. The benefits include a significant improvement in facial appearance and emotional well-being. Although alar reduction surgery is considered minor surgery, the effects it can produce can lead to a significant boost in your confidence and general outlook on life.
What type of anaesthesia is used for alar base reduction?Alar base reduction is easily carried out under local anaesthetic as a day case at our state of the art surgical facility at 95-97 Baker Street.
If you choose to have nostril correction with a rhinoplasty procedure, your surgeon will perform the procedure under general anaesthetic for your complete comfort. You will still be able to go home the same day once you are medically cleared for discharge.
Is alar base reduction permanent?Nostril reduction surgery results in permanent changes although the results may change slightly over time due to the natural ageing process. This is why it is important to choose a specialist rhinoplasty surgeon to perform your alarplasty procedure.
Can nostril reduction surgery be reversed?Alar base reduction produces permanent results and cannot be reversed. If you are unhappy with the appearance of your alar base reduction performed elsewhere, revision surgery may be considered to correct the appearance. It is important to bear in mind that revision surgery has a higher risk of causing abnormalities in the shape of the nostrils combined with a higher risk of excessive scarring developing.
What is recovery like after alarplasty?Unlike a full rhinoplasty procedure, the recovery time for alarplasty is much quicker with less risk of post-operative complications. Although the area will be swollen initially, this will settle down after 7 to 10 days. The non-dissolvable sutures will be removed seven days after the procedure. Final results can be expected between 2 to 3 months after the nostril reduction procedure.