Q and As – Alar Base Reduction

1. Is alar base reduction surgery painful?

An alar base reduction surgery is done to adjust the width of the bottom portion of the nose. It is done as a cosmetic procedure for people who are dissatisfied with the appearance of their nose or the base of the nose. Small incisions can be placed at the crease alongside the nose at the cheek and in the nostril to adjust the alar base. The results can improve nasal symmetry, reduce nostril size, and achieve better facial harmony.          

The procedure is performed under anaesthesia, so there is no pain during the surgery. But immediately after it, the individual will experience some nasal swelling, congestion, and pain. It can be managed by ensuring the head is elevated at all times and taking the prescribed pain medication as directed.        

2. What are the complications associated with alar base reduction surgery?

There are a few complications associated with alar base reduction surgery. Other than bruising, swelling, and minor bleeding, the risk and complications of alar base reduction surgery are:

  • Infection: There’s always the risk of infection in any type of surgery. One should strictly follow wound care instructions and antibiotic regimen.
  • Nostril asymmetry: Different-sized nostrils can be a complication even after full recovery. This might require correction surgery.
  • Scarring: Any scarring after alar base reduction surgery should be unnoticeable after the procedure. One should practice proper scar care to minimize such risks.

3. Is alar base reduction a permanent procedure?

Alarplasty procedures are long-lasting and are considered permanent. However, due to the natural aging process, the shape of the nose and nostrils may change. 

Since the procedure involves the removal of nasal tissues and other trimming techniques, any changes made during the surgery are irreversible and permanent. Therefore, anyone who wants to undergo the surgery should be sure about it and consider what the result would look like. 

4. Does undergoing an alar base reduction surgery affect breathing?

A well-done alar base reduction surgery will not affect an individual’s breathing. Alar base reduction surgery removes an appropriate amount of nasal tissue to improve the overall appearance of the nose, in proportion with the rest of the face. The cosmetic surgeon should be able to properly assess how much of the nostril tissue they should remove for the desired satisfying alarplasty results and to preserve the primary function of the nose (breathing).

5. Can it be reversed?

No, the nature of the alar base reduction surgery is such that it cannot be reversed. It is permanent, and hence, people who want to undergo this procedure should speak with their cosmetic surgeon about the desired outcomes and what they want out of the procedure. 

For individuals who have body dysmorphia or unrealistic standards of beauty, it is advised for them to undergo counseling or professional help. Performing an alar base reduction surgery or any cosmetic surgery in such individuals will not achieve the unrealistic outcomes they want. Therefore, it should be discussed and agreed upon before undergoing the procedure. 

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