Nasal base varies with one’s ethnicity. Wide flaring nostril and large nostril openings are very common among the Africans, Asians and occasionally in Caucasians. In general, the width of the eye or the area between the eyes comprises about one-fifth of the facial width. On a frontal view, a broad nasal base may distract the apparent facial balance or distract the surrounding facial features. The shape of the nose base, when viewed from below, is generally triangular. The shape of the outer nostril wall (nasal alar) ideally displays a gentle convexity between the nasal tip and nose-cheek junction (alar crease). When the shape of the nasal alar demonstrates an accentuated convexity, this may detract from nasal or facial balance.
Alarplasty or nostril reduction surgery is a cosmetic surgical procedure aim to reduce the wide flaring nostrils and nasal base width by removing a wedge of the nose at the alar base. The wound is closed together by precise repositioning at the natural crease of the external nose-cheek junction or hidden in the nostril to conceal the tell-tale sign of surgery. This surgery can be done alone or combined with nasal augmentation to enhance the overall appearance (size, shape, symmetry and proportion) of the nose and nostrils.
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Preoperative evaluation before alarplasty
Communication is vital to achieving the patient’s goals. During the initial consultation, patients should discuss their goals and expectations with the plastic surgeon. The plastic surgeon will work closely with the patients to reach an agreement about the desirable results from the surgical procedures involved and their long term benefits. Every patient is different. Therefore a specific treatment regimen is planned to suit an individual’s need.
- Discussion about expectation and desired outcome
- Medical conditions, drug allergies and previous medical or surgical treatment
- Use of current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs should be revealed
- Discussion of type of anaesthesia
- Examination and measurement of the face and nose
- Photography for preoperative and postoperative evaluation
Preparation for alarplasty
- Get laboratory testing or a medical evaluation
- Adjust your medications if you have certain medical conditions
- Stop smoking and alcohol well in advance of the scheduled date for surgery
- Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements before surgery
The risks and safety information on alarplasty
The practice of medicine and surgery is not a perfect science. Therefore, some risks may occur even in the hand of an expert. Although good results are usually achievable, some potential risks may arise such as
- Poor wound healing
- Numbness (temporary)
- Skin discolouration
- Skin contour irregularities
- Post rhinoplasty swelling
- Nasal asymmetry
- Alteration in the nasal airway
- Possibility of revision surgery
- Anaesthesia risks
Postoperative expectations of alarplasty
Post-surgical swelling peaks at about two to three days after surgery and gradually subsides after that. Most patients return to work on 1-2 days after surgery. The recovering time from alarplasty usually takes about 7-14 days in most cases for the swelling and bruises to subside. Any externally visible sutures are removed one week after surgery. A significant improvement in the visible scars at the alar crease or inside the nostrils is evident at one month and will continue to become inconspicuous 6-12 months after surgery. Routine postoperative follow up are periodically scheduled for the year following surgery to ensure optimal healing.
How much will a alarplasty surgery cost?
Cost is always a consideration in elective surgery. Alarplasty prices can vary widely.
The cost of alarplasty may include:
- Surgeon’s fee
- Hospital or surgical facility costs
- Anaesthesia fees
- Prescriptions for medication
- Medical tests
Alarplasty is a cosmetic surgical procedure. Therefore, most of the health insurance companies do not cover cosmetic surgeries or their complications.