Surgery for Narrow Nostrils

You can either be born with narrow nostrils or they can develop as a result of enlargement of nasal turbines or septum deviations. Regardless of the reason, narrow nostrils can be both physically and medically taxing to those affected. Breathing difficulties are usually a common symptom of narrow nostrils and can be further exaggerated if narrowing occurs as a result of acquired medical disorders. Fortunately, you do not have to suffer from narrow nostrils indefinitely, surgery can help.

The most common acquired reason for narrow nostrils is a collapsed nostril. This presents as a stuffy nose that won’t go away, as well as, frequent crusting of the affected nostril, and recurrent nose bleeds. It is important to note that breathing through the affected side is also going to be compromised. The severity of the breathing impediment tends to increase while sleeping. 

Apart from the results of the narrowing of nostrils on health, this acquired or congenital problem can also result in aesthetic issues. More often than not the narrowing of the nostril is visible externally. It can make the nose appear asymmetric which can lead to cosmetic issues. Narrowing nostrils can also affect the nasal alars. This in itself is a huge problem as it leads to thinning of the nose. A thin nose is not the ideal nasal shape, and depending on the shape of the top of the nose, it can be a huge concern for some people.  

To solve the problem of narrow nostrils, there are certain treatment options available, however, its important to note that all options involve surgery.


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How to widen nostrils surgically?

Generally, when a surgeon performs cosmetic nasal surgery it is to narrow the nostrils not enlarge them. However, if narrow nostrils become a problem the same surgery (often referred to as a rhinoplasty procedure) can also widen the nostrils. There are other surgeries that a surgeon can perform, however, this depends on the reason for the narrowing of the nostrils.

A septoplasty can be performed for a deviated septum. While, a turbinoplasty for enlarged turbines can treat the breathing problems associated with the collapsed nostrils. However, these procedures do not aim to treat narrow nostrils but rather the medical symptoms that are associated with them. 

To improve the size of the narrow nostril, there is no one specific surgery but rather quite a few different ones that can help, depending on the underlying problem. Some of the most common surgeries that you can choose to undergo for narrow nostrils include: 

The ethmoidectomy is a kind of osteotomy that refers to the breaking of nasal bones. In this case, the ethmoid bone increases the width of the nostrils and makes breathing easier.  

Rhinoplasty is the most common procedure for aesthetic reasons. Although the focus of a rhinoplasty is often narrowing wide nostrils, it can also widen them. The reason why rhinoplasty is the most common procedure for the widening of nostrils is that narrow nostrils often have strong aesthetic issues that this procedure can solve. A rhinoplasty can widen the nostril to treat nostril collapse. It can also improve the shape and structure of the nose. 

Your Nostril Widening Journey

The Nostril Widening journey, for you, begins before the consultation period. The first thing you will do is choose the doctor you want to perform the procedure. Only after you complete this step, can you officially begin your journey to undergo a Nostril Widening rhinoplasty procedure. 

The Consultation Period

At this point you will have an in-depth conversation with your plastic surgeon about the surgery and what you expect. Take this opportunity to be candid with your surgeon. In other words, let them know exactly what you hope to achieve and what your concerns are. This gives your surgeon an idea of your expectations before the procedure.

You should also disclose to your surgeon any medical conditions that you may be suffering from or have suffered from in the past. These could be related to the collapsed nostril that you suffer from. This also gives your surgeon a better idea of what your issues are and how to treat you. 

You will also undergo a few blood tests just to ensure that you are healthy and ready for the procedure. The consultation period is also when your surgeon will assess you and your nostrils to ensure that you qualify for the Nostril Widening procedure.

The aim of this consultation period is to understand the reason behind your nostril collapse. It also gives your surgeon the time to choose and then perform the most appropriate surgery.

Am I a Good Candidate for Nostril Widening/Narrow Nostril Surgery?

To qualify as a good candidate for a Nostril Widening procedure you should; 

  • Be mentally and physically healthy.
  • Have a narrow or a collapsed nostril that is affecting either; the aesthetics of your nose or causing medical problems.
  • Be a non-smoker or willing to give up smoking at least 6 weeks to 8 weeks before the procedure. If you’re having difficulties quitting smoking you can speak to your doctor. They will help you find the best way to quit.
  • Have had a discussion about the surgery with a primary care physician.
    • This is so they can adjust the dosage of any medication that you may be taking.
    • This step is especially important if you are undergoing treatment for other medical conditions. 
  • Be undergoing this procedure to help alleviate any of the symptoms caused by a collapsed nose.
    • You should not be undergoing this procedure to meet any societal expectations or to fit into any trends or fads.
  • It is also important that you have realistic goals and expectations from the procedure.

If you fail to meet any of these criteria you may not be eligible to undergo a Nostril Widening procedure. The decision for this will be made by your surgeon and the team. This decision will be made during the consultation period.

Narrow Nostrils / Nostril Widening Surgery – Procedure

This step of your journey refers to the actual procedure. On the day of the procedure, you will be admitted to hospital. In most cases, the procedure is as an outpatient procedure, this means you will be able to go home the same day.

Your surgeon will discuss anesthesia options with you prior to surgery.

To enlarge the size of the nostrils your surgeon will make an incision at the base of the nose. Through this incision, they will alter the nostrils. This helps improve the shape and size of the nostrils. Once complete they will close the incision using dissolvable sutures so that you don’t need to come back in for their removal. This marks the end of your Nostril Widening procedure. Once you wake up and if there are no complications you will be able to go home and rest.

Recovery from the Procedure

During your recovery from the Nostril Widening procedure, you will experience some swelling, bruising and slight discomfort. The recovery period can last for up to four weeks to six weeks. Although you can return to most of your day-to-day life within 2 to 3 weeks.

The main aim at this point is to avoid any strenuous activities for the 4 to 6 weeks, especially those that put pressure on your incision or the nose. This is to avoid any complications in the wound healing process. Complications can lead to scarring, poor wound healing and even opening of the wounds.

You will receive both pain management medication and antibiotics for the swelling and pain that occur during this time.

You should also abstain from drinking or smoking during this time. Mixing alcohol with antibiotics or pain management medication is never a good idea. It’s also important that you refrain from smoking throughout the recovery period as it increases the risk of infections which can also lead to scarring or wound separation. 

Benefits of the Nostril Widening Procedure

The Nostril Widening procedure has both aesthetics and medical benefits. Narrow nostrils can affect the shape of the nose which then affects the entire face structure as the nose has a very central position. Improving the shape of the nose helps improve the aesthetic of the face. Moreover, narrow nostrils are often associated with several breathing problems which can be solved with a Nostril Widening procedure. 

Risks and Complications of Nostril Widening Procedure

The nostril widening procedure is a surgical procedure, and like many other surgical procedures it has certain risks and complications. Although these complications are quite uncommon (especially if you follow your surgeon’s recommendations for the recovery period), it is important to know them so that they can what for the signs and be proactive should they occur.

Some of the risks and complications associated with a nostril whitening procedure are quite serious and require immediate help. You should discuss which risks fall into which category during the consultation with your surgeon so that you can be on the lookout for more serious complications.

Some of the most common side effects of a nostril widening procedure include:

  • Allergic reaction to anaesthesia 
  • Infection
  • Bleeding 
  • Pus oozing from the incision site
  • Separation of the incision site
  • Impaired wound healing 
  • Persistent swelling
  • Persistent pain not relieved by painkillers
  • Severe discolouration and bruising 
  • Temporary loss of sensation 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a surgery to make your nostrils smaller?

  • You can make your nostrils smaller through a nostril reduction surgery or a rhinoplasty procedure(nose job).
  • To make your nostrils smaller, the surgeon may remove a piece of your alar base and pull in the nostrils, hence, reducing their size significantly.  

How do you fix narrow nasal passages?

  • Depending on the reason for the Narrowing of the nasal passages, there are several surgical procedures that you can undergo to treat this condition.
  • If the narrowing has occurred due to a physical deformity or enlargement of nasal structures or even due to the presence of polyps, you can undergo specific surgical procedures to treat these conditions.
  • If your nasal passages are narrow congenitally, you can undergo a Nasal Widening Procedure.

Can you get your nostrils widened?

  • Yes, you can undergo a nasal widening procedure to widen your nostrils.

Why are my nostrils so narrow?

  • Narrow Nostrils can occur from birth or they can narrow over time due to injury to the nose, any trauma, or even enlargement of the turbinates. In some cases, nasal polyps can obstruct most of the lumen of the nostril.

How can I widen my nose without surgery?

Unfortunately, widening your nostrils without surgery is not possible. As widening of the nostrils requires actual manipulation of the nose, it is not possible to treat narrow nostrils without undergoing any form of surgery.

Why Choose Dr Kleid for Rhinoplasty?

Dr Stephen Kleid
Cosmetic Rhinoplasty

Dr Stephen Kleid is an experienced ENT Surgeon (Otolaryngologist) based in Melbourne with a passion for Septo-rhinoplasty, Septoplasty and a strong interest in Rhinoplasty Revision.

Dr Kleid’s Procedures

How can we help?

Dr Kleid’s Team takes pleasure in assisting you with any questions when considering a plastic surgery procedure. Please call the Hawthorn East clinic in Melbourne between 8 am – 6 pm on Weekdays.

Phone,  Email or Book a free 15-minute Call with Dr Kleid’s team.

What Next?

Want more information about your Procedure?

  • For more information about pricing and payment methods, please visit our page on Surgery Payment options.
  • Talk to our Patient Care Team from 8 am to 6 pm Monday to Friday on 
    1300 264 811

What to Bring to Your Consultation

  • If you like, please bring a friend or relative to help discuss the information and your choices.
  • Take a lot of notes and thoroughly examine the documents your surgeon provides.

How to Book a Consultation

  • Dr Kleids Consultation fee is $600 which includes a nasendoscopy ($300).
  • A referral from your Doctor is helpful to claim any Medicare or Health Insurance rebate but is not necessary for a consult.
  • Please contact the Patient Care Team at Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery today to book your consultation.