How Do I Make My Nostrils Wide Again After Nostril Narrowing Surgery?

Q: Dr. Eppley, I previously had rhinoplasty 15 years ago with another surgeon who had made my nostrils smaller at the area where the nostrils meet the cheeks. As a result, the nostrils are now too rounded off. I would like for the nostrils to restored as close as possible to what it was originally. I believe the procedure would involve some skin/tissue grafting. Before booking a consultation, I would first please like to know if the doctor performs such a procedure and whether it would lead to unsightly, significant scarring?

A: It is ‘easy’ to make the nostrils more narrow as defined by the usual good scarring as a result of the tissue excision. The converse of nostril widening, however, is a different story. As you have correctly surmised it requires the addition of a graft (chondrocutaneous graft from the ears) to replace what has been removed after the nostrils are released from the cheeks. Such interpositional graft replacements, while increasing nostril width, will have a different skin color from that of the nose and cheeks since it comes from the ear.  Thus it will be visible and will not look exactly as it did before even though nostril width may be restored. Such nostril base grafting is really a reconstructive procedure and not an aesthetic one. (unlike nostril narrowing) Thus I would be cautious when considering this procedure for aesthetic restorative reasons.

Dr. Barry Eppley

World-Renowned Plastic Surgeon