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Alar Base Reduction (Nostril Reduction)

There are different types of nose surgeries. Alar base reduction surgery is for individuals who feel their nostrils are too big. 

What is an Alar Base Reduction?

Alar base reduction is also known as nostril reduction surgery or alarplasty. The purpose of the procedure is to narrow the width of the nostril base, which decreases the size and flaring of the nostrils. It’s for patients who have a broad alar base, which is the lower part of the nose. 

Like other parts of the nose and face, the nostril size, flare, and shape really differ from person to person. Each patient is unique and has different goals. If your nostrils have been bothering you for a while, you might consider this type of procedure. 

What Happens During Nostril Reduction Surgery?

During nostril reduction surgery, your surgeon will use a local anaesthetic to numb the area. The procedure takes about an hour to perform. Your surgeon will make an incision where the nostril meets the cheek. Depending on the desired results, the incision may be rectangular, triangle or diamond-shaped. The incision will continue inside the nose as well. 

Next, a wedge of the nostril wall is removed, and the nostrils are brought inwards to sit in better balance with the face. The incision is then sewn up. Your surgeon will use sutures to reattach your nostril to the base of your nose. The procedure will be performed on both sides of the nose to achieve a balanced and symmetrical result. The scar will be hidden in the crease of the nose. Following the surgery, the nose will appear smaller and more narrow.  

For patients who are getting a nostril reduction at the same time as traditional rhinoplasty, you will be fully sedated. Although you can perform an alar base reduction as a standalone procedure, often, it’s combined with open or closed rhinoplasties. 

What are the Benefits of an Alar Base Reduction?

If you feel like your nostrils flare too much and the base of your nose is too wide, you may be suitable for alar base reduction surgery. Benefits of nostril reduction surgery include:

  • Natural results 
  • Minimal scarring 
  • Smaller nose 
  • Nostrils in proposition with facial features 
  • Make nostrils smaller 

What to Expect After Your Treatment?

Immediately following your treatment, it’s common to experience swelling, bruising, and redness. Swelling can continue for 1-2 weeks and should subside by week 3.  

How Long Does It Take to Heal From Nostril Reduction Surgery?

During the procedure, your surgeon will use both dissolvable and additional sutures. These stitches will be removed after 5-7 days following the surgery. In the first 2 weeks, you will experience some redness. After 3 weeks, any swelling should subside. You can resume light fitness and day-to-day activities after 2 weeks. Most patients feel comfortable going out in public after 2 weeks. Once the scar closed, you can start using makeup to cover the nose until the scar naturally fades over time. 

Post-operative recovery tips to maximise results and comfort include:

  • Don’t drink alcohol for 2 weeks after the surgery 
  • Avoid salty foods for up to 2 weeks 
  • Follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions 
  • Keep the area clean as instructed
  • Elevate your head to reduce swelling 

How to Prepare for Nostril Reduction Surgery?

To prepare for your surgery, you should stop taking blood thinning medication and smoking 2 weeks beforehand. Also, avoid drinking alcohol 2 weeks before your surgery. 

When Will You See the Final Result?

You will notice the change in nostril size immediately, but the incision site will remain red for a couple of weeks. As the swelling continues to go down you will see the final result after 4 weeks. You will gradually see an improvement over the next several months. 

Are Results Permanent?

Yes, the results are permanent. After alar base reduction surgery, your new nostril size is completely permanent. 

What are the Scars Like Following Surgery?

The scars are small and positioned so they are well hidden. As there are a few different techniques you can use to perform this procedure, the scars can change slightly. When performed correctly, any scarring should be minimal. 

Who is a Good Candidate for Alar Base Reduction?

The ideal candidate for alar base reduction has wide, prominent, or asymmetrical nostrils. They want smaller or more symmetrical nostrils to create a more balanced facial structure. Overall, you should be physically healthy with realistic expectations and a non-smoker. 

What are the Potential Risks and Side Effects of an Alar Base Reduction?

Like all surgeries, there are potential risks and complications in alarplasty. It’s normal to experience redness, swelling, and some bleeding after your operation. Possible complications include:  

  • Scarring 
  • Infection 
  • Poor wound healing 

If you have large nostrils and find that they are out of proportion with your face, alar base reduction surgery could significantly change the balance of your face. By reducing the nostril size, your nose should appear smaller and more in line with the rest of your facial features. 


To book a consultation today, please call 0203 582 4947 or email

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