Q: Dear Dr. Eppley, I want a rhinoplasty and as part of it I’d like a wedge excision procedure to reduce the alar flare without reducing nostril size. However, there seems to be a lot of concerns with the wedge procedure as it leads to some external scarring. I wouldn’t mind this if the scar itself was camouflaged within the alar crease. My main concern is that there might be an obliteration of the facial alar groove with this procedure. Is this a real concern? What is the best way to go about this without obstructing the alar crease?
A: There are two basic skin excisional approaches in rhinoplasty to change the bottom shape of the nostrils. The first technique is the removal of a vertical wedge of skin inside the nostril just next to the lateral nostril wall. This will reduced the flare of the ala with minimal narrowing of the nostril width. This leaves no visible external scar and will not alter the alar-facial groove. This appears to be what you may need. The other technique is where this inside the nostril excision is extended out along the ala-facial groove. This results in significant nostril narrowing as well as flare reduction. This does place a scar in the alar-facial groove which, if well placed, is not a visible scar concern. It does not result in any chance of effacement of the alar-facial groove.
Dr. Barry Eppley