Q: Dr. Eppley, I am interested in getting a rhinoplasty. I’m looking for mostly tip narrowing and some nostril narrowing for when I smile, and also don’t like how close the bottom of the nose is to my lip when I smile. I’m wondering what you suggest.

A: It is important to recognize that rhinoplasty, like almost every other facial plastic surgery operation, is a static and not a dynamic procedure. The rhinoplasty operation is designed to fix anatomic problems in the shape and function of the nose that exist when one’s face is at rest and not smiling. Thus your nasal tip can be significantly narrowed and shortened and the nostrils narrowed, and that will have some positive impact on the appearance of the nose when smiling, but not to the degree that you may ideally like. The distance between the base of your nose and upper lip when smiling is a dynamic one that rhinoplasty will not really improve per se. Lifting the nasal tip may provide some illusion that it is improved but not by actual measurements between the nose and lip. That area of improvement is not an achievable or expected outcome from any rhinoplasty surgery.

Dr. Barry Eppley
Indianapolis, Indiana