Q: I have two differently sized nostrils. My left nostril is smaller than my right. It looks like just removing some skin will fix the problem. How easy is this to do? I have attached a picture of my nose from below for you so you can see the problem.
A: There are numerous causes of one nostril being different than the other one. Since the nostril is geometrically a triangle, changes in the any of three legs (columella, alar rim, nostril sill) can cause a change in nostril size and shape. The most common cause of nostril asymmetry is an alteration of the vertical leg. That is the piece of skin between the nostrils known as the columella. It is supported from behind by the end of the septal cartilage, known as the caudal septum. This is frequently deviated or deflected to the side into the nostril space. When this occurs, the oval-shape of the nostril will become deformed making it look smaller. This is exactly what your picture shows…a classic deviated caudal end of the septum.
Whether more of the septum is off of the midline as it goes deep into your nose is unknown. You would probably know that because such a deviation is likely to cause breathing problems of which you would be aware. Regardless, correction of this problem is through a septoplasty procedure. The septum is moved back to the midline behind the columella. This anatomic correction returns the nostril size and shape back to better symmetry with the opposite nostril.
Septoplasty is commonly performed as part of many cosmetic rhinoplasty surgeries.
Dr. Barry Eppley
Q: I have a problem with my profile. I wish it would look normal or see my jaw line. I always wished to see it. I think this is because I used to sleep with my mouth open when I was a child. I also a rhinoplasty by a bad doctor who made my nostrils asymmetric.:( This was 4 to 5 years ago. I went to someone who offered the lowest fees since I wasn’t earning much at the time. I would like to come to the states from Egypt for corrective surgery.
A: When most people talk about happiness with their profile, they are almost universally referring to the position of their chin. Based on how the lower jaw (mandible) grows and the bite (occlusion) comes together, the horizontal or forward position of the chin will be affected. For most it is an issue of being too short or not ‘strong’ enough particularly in men. Too much chin is far less of a problem although it does exist and it is more of a concern in women rather than men.
Correction of chin shortness can be done with either an implant or osteotomy. (moving just the chin bone forward) Which is better is determined by multiple factors including the amount of chin shortness, age of the patient, and the position of other chin dimensions. (e.g., vertical height) How much or far forward the chin position should be moved can be determined prior to surgery with computer imaging.
Nostril asymmetry after rhinoplasty is not rare and does not necessarily occur because of a ‘bad’ surgeon or that the operation was performed incorrectly. Even a rhinoplasty executed perfectly can still cause some differences in the shape of the nostrils after all is healed. The nostril shape is influenced by the support of the lower alar cartilages and the overlying skin. Both of these can be altered by the healing forces after rhinoplasty, particularly in the soft triangle area of the nostril where there is no cartilage support to resist the contractile forces of scarring. Secondary correction of nostril asymmetry is possible through cartilage or chondrocutaneous grafting of the nostril rim.
Dr. Barry Eppley