Surgery for Narrow Nostrils

Dealing with Narrow Nostrils: Surgical Solutions

Narrow nostrils can be a congenital condition or develop due to factors like enlarged nasal turbines or septum deviations. Regardless of the cause, narrow nostrils can have physical and medical implications for those affected. Breathing difficulties are often a common symptom, especially when narrowing occurs due to acquired medical disorders. However, there is a solution to alleviate the discomfort and challenges caused by narrow nostrils: surgery.

One common acquired cause of narrow nostrils is a collapsed nostril. This can manifest as a persistent stuffy nose, frequent crusting in the affected nostril, and recurring nosebleeds. Breathing through the affected side is compromised, with the severity of the impediment often worsening during sleep.

In addition to the health implications, narrow nostrils can also lead to aesthetic concerns. The visible external narrowing of the nostril can create asymmetry in the nose, causing cosmetic issues. Moreover, the narrowing can impact the nasal alars, leading to a thinning of the nose. A thin nose may not align with the ideal nasal shape, and for some individuals, this can be a significant concern depending on the overall nasal appearance.

To address the problem of narrow nostrils, various treatment options exist. However, it’s important to note that all effective solutions involve surgery. By considering surgical intervention, individuals with narrow nostrils can find relief from breathing difficulties and potentially address any cosmetic concerns associated with the condition.

In the following article, we will explore the surgical options available for correcting narrow nostrils, providing insights into the procedures, benefits, and considerations to help you make an informed decision regarding your nasal health.


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Treating Narrow Nostrils: Surgical Options

Cosmetic nasal surgery, commonly known as rhinoplasty, is typically performed to narrow the nostrils rather than enlarge them. However, in cases where narrow nostrils become problematic, the same surgical procedure can also be used to widen them. The specific surgery chosen depends on the underlying cause of the nostril narrowing.

For individuals with a deviated septum, a septoplasty can be performed to address the issue. Enlarged nasal turbines, which contribute to collapsed nostrils and breathing difficulties, can be treated with a turbinoplasty. It is important to note that these procedures primarily aim to address the medical symptoms associated with narrow nostrils, rather than directly treating the narrowness itself.

To effectively address the size of narrow nostrils, there isn’t a single specific surgery, but rather a range of options depending on the underlying problem. Some commonly performed surgeries for narrow nostrils include:

  • Septoplasty 
    • This procedure corrects a deviated septum, which can contribute to narrow nostrils and breathing difficulties.
  • Turbinoplasty 
    • It targets enlarged nasal turbines to alleviate breathing problems associated with collapsed nostrils.
  • Rhinoplasty
    • While this procedure is commonly associated with aesthetic enhancements, it can also be used to widen narrow nostrils.
    • Rhinoplasty can address both functional and cosmetic concerns.
  • Polypectomy 
    • If nasal polyps are causing narrow nostrils, their removal through surgery can help improve nasal airflow.
  • Osteotomy
    • This surgical technique involves the breaking of nasal bones and is used to widen the nostrils.
    • Ethmoidectomy, a specific type of osteotomy, focuses on the ethmoid bone to increase nostril width and improve breathing.

Rhinoplasty is frequently chosen for aesthetic reasons, including narrowing wide nostrils. However, it can also effectively widen narrow nostrils. Rhinoplasty’s versatility and popularity make it a common procedure for addressing narrow nostrils, catering to both functional and aesthetic concerns.

In the upcoming sections, we will explore these surgical options in more detail, providing insights into their benefits, considerations, and expected outcomes.

Your Nostril Widening Journey

Getting a Referral

The first step in your nostril widening journey, is to consult with a qualified healthcare professional who can assess your condition and provide a referral to a specialist, such as an otolaryngologist or plastic surgeon, Like Dr Stephen Kleid.

The Consultation

The consultation is a crucial step in the process as it allows you to have a detailed discussion with the specialist about your desired outcome, expectations, and any concerns you may have. The surgeon will examine your nasal structure, discuss the potential benefits and risks of the recommended procedure, and provide you with an overview of the surgical process. They will also explain the expected recovery timeline and discuss any pre-operative preparations that may be necessary.

During the consultation, feel free to ask any questions you may have to ensure you have a clear understanding of the procedure and its potential outcomes. It is essential to have open and honest communication with the surgeon to establish realistic expectations and ensure you are comfortable moving forward with the chosen surgery.

Remember, each individual’s situation is unique, and the specialist will tailor the treatment plan to address your specific needs and goals.

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.

Determining Your Candidacy for Nostril Widening/Narrow Nostril Surgery

To determine if you are a suitable candidate for nostril widening or narrow nostril surgery, several factors need to be considered. Here are some key points to assess your candidacy:

Mental and Physical Health

Being in good mental and physical health is crucial for any surgical procedure. It ensures that you can tolerate the surgery and the recovery process without any significant complications. Your surgeon will evaluate your overall health status to determine if you are fit for the procedure.

Narrow or Collapsed Nostrils

Candidates for nostril widening surgery typically have narrow or collapsed nostrils that are causing either aesthetic concerns or medical issues. These issues can include breathing difficulties, frequent crusting, recurrent nosebleeds, or other symptoms associated with the narrowing of the nostrils.

Smoking Habits

Smoking can negatively impact the healing process and increase the risk of complications. It is generally recommended that candidates be non-smokers or be willing to cease smoking for a specific period, usually at least 6 weeks before and after the procedure. Your surgeon will provide guidance on the required smoking cessation timeline.

Medical Need

The primary purpose of nostril widening surgery is to address the symptoms caused by a collapsed nose and improve breathing ability. It is essential that your decision to undergo the procedure is based on genuine medical concerns rather than societal pressures or cosmetic trends.

Realistic Expectations

Having realistic goals and expectations is crucial for any surgical procedure. Your surgeon will discuss the potential outcomes of nostril widening surgery with you during the consultation. They will ensure that you have a clear understanding of the expected results and limitations of the procedure.

Ultimately, the determination of your candidacy for nostril widening surgery will be made by your surgeon and their medical team. During the consultation period, they will carefully assess your specific situation, medical history, and goals to provide personalized recommendations and determine if you meet the criteria for the procedure.

Remember to openly discuss any concerns, expectations, or questions you may have during the consultation. This will help ensure that you make an informed decision and have realistic expectations regarding the potential benefits of the surgery.

Narrow Nostrils / Nostril Widening Surgery – Procedure

risks nose surgery - nose surgery Dr Stephen Kleid

Once you have made the decision to undergo nostril widening surgery, the procedure itself will be performed in a hospital setting. Here’s what you can expect on the day of the procedure:

Admission to the Hospital

You will be admitted to the hospital. In most cases, nostril widening surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure. This means that after the surgery, you will be able to go home on the same day.

Anesthesia Options

Your surgeon will discuss the anesthesia options with you prior to the surgery. Dr Kleid usually prefers to preform this procedure while the patient is under general anesthesia, meaning they are unconscious for the procedure.

Incision and Nostril Alteration

To enlarge the size of your nostrils, your surgeon will make an incision at the base of your nose. Through this carefully placed incision, they will proceed to alter the shape and size of the nostrils according to the pre-discussed surgical plan. This precise adjustment aims to achieve the desired aesthetic outcome while ensuring functional improvements.

Incision Closure

After completing the necessary alterations, your surgeon will close the incision using dissolvable sutures. These sutures eliminate the need for a separate suture removal appointment, as they naturally dissolve over time.

Post-Procedure Recovery

Once the surgery is complete, you will gradually wake up under the care of the medical team. If there are no complications, you will be allowed to go home and rest in the comfort of your own surroundings.

It is important to follow the post-operative instructions provided by your surgeon to facilitate proper healing and recovery.

Remember, each individual’s surgical experience may vary, and your surgeon will provide personalized guidance and post-operative care instructions based on your specific situation.

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. Furthermore, smoking throughout the recovery period increases the risk of infections which can also lead to scarring or wound separation. 

Risks and Complications of Nostril Widening Procedure

It is important to be aware that like any surgical procedure, nostril widening surgery carries certain risks and complications. While these complications are relatively rare, it is crucial to have an understanding of them in order to identify any warning signs and take prompt action if necessary. During your consultation with your surgeon, they will provide you with detailed information about the specific risks associated with the procedure. Some of the potential risks and complications, include:

  • Allergic Reaction to Anesthesia:
    • Although rare, there is a small risk of experiencing an allergic reaction to the anesthesia used during the procedure.
    • The anesthesiologist will carefully monitor you throughout the surgery to minimize this risk.
  • Infection
    • Infection is a potential complication with any surgical procedure.
    • Your surgeon will take precautions to minimize the risk of infection, such as prescribing antibiotics if necessary and providing you with post-operative care instructions to follow.
  • Bleeding
    • Some bleeding is common after surgery, but excessive or prolonged bleeding may occur in rare cases.
    • Your surgeon will provide instructions on how to manage bleeding and when to seek medical attention if needed.
  • Wound Healing Issues
    • Impaired wound healing, separation of the incision site, or delayed wound healing can occur in rare cases.
    • Your surgeon will provide guidance on wound care and follow-up appointments to monitor the healing process.
  • Persistent Swelling and Pain
    • While some swelling and discomfort are normal after surgery, persistent or excessive swelling and pain that are not relieved by painkillers should be reported to your surgeon.
  • Discoloration and Bruising
    • Temporary discoloration and bruising around the surgical site are common and typically resolve over time. However, severe or prolonged discoloration should be brought to your surgeon’s attention.
  • Temporary Loss of Sensation
    • It is possible to experience temporary loss of sensation in the operated area, which typically resolves on its own within a few weeks or months.

It is important to closely follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions, attend follow-up appointments, and promptly report any concerns or unexpected symptoms. Your surgeon will work closely with you to minimize the risks and ensure a smooth recovery process.

Understanding the Cost of Nostril Widening Procedure


The cost of a nostril widening procedure can vary depending on several factors, including the specific surgical technique used, the surgeon’s experience and expertise, the geographical location of the clinic or hospital, and any additional procedures or services involved. It is best to consult with a qualified surgeon to obtain an accurate estimate of the cost based on your individual needs and circumstances.

In general, the cost of a nostril widening procedure may include:

  • Surgeon’s fee
    • This covers the skill, expertise, and time of the surgeon performing the procedure.
  • Anesthesia fee
    • This includes the cost of administering anesthesia during the surgery.
  • Facility fee
    • This covers the use of the surgical facility, including operating room and equipment.
  • Pre-operative tests and consultations
    • Before the procedure, you may need to undergo certain tests or consultations, which may have associated costs.
  • Post-operative care
    • This includes follow-up appointments, medications, and any necessary aftercare services.

It is important to note that insurance coverage for nostril widening procedures may vary. In some cases, if the procedure is performed for medical reasons, such as correcting a breathing problem, a portion of the cost may be covered by insurance. However, if the procedure is purely cosmetic, insurance coverage is less likely.

To obtain a clear understanding of the cost involved, it is recommended to schedule a consultation with a reputable surgeon who can evaluate your specific case and provide you with an accurate cost estimate. They can also discuss any financing options or payment plans that may be available to help you manage the cost of the procedure.

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.

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 turbinate’s.
  • 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 ?

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, Or Email us.

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 
    (03) 8849 1400

What to Bring to Your Consultation

  • We encourage you to bring a friend or family member to accompany you, as they can provide an extra perspective and support throughout the process.
  • It is important to take thorough notes and carefully review all the documents provided to you.

How to Book a Consultation

  • Dr Kleid’s Consultation fee is $600 which includes a nasendoscopy ($300).
  • A referral from your GP or Specialist is necessary to see Dr Kleid for a consultation. (As of July 1st 2023)
  • Please contact the Patient Care Team at Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery today to book your consultation.


The information presented in this article is provided solely for educational and informational purposes. It is not intended to substitute professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with your physician or qualified healthcare provider regarding any medical condition or concerns you may have. Do not disregard or delay seeking professional medical advice based on the information provided in this article. The author and publisher of this article do not warrant the accuracy, applicability, or completeness of the content, and any reliance on the information presented is at your own discretion and risk.