The nose is considered by plastic surgeons as the center of attraction in the face, and its shape or “type” can widely vary between a person and another due to their ethnicity or race.
The experts say that anatomically, the nose is divided in 3 areas, which are the bridge, the nasal tip and the alar rim-base, and any change in one of those nasal areas can drastically change the whole aspect of the face.
In fact, many of them say that rhinoplasty (or the surgical procedure to change the nose's shape) can be classified in two types, nose augmentation or nose reduction. The nose augmentation is usually performed in Asians and consists in changing the aspect of the nasal bridge when the patient has a flat nose.
On the other hand, the nose reduction is the most common (performed in Indians, Middle Eastern descents, Europeans and Afro-descendants) and consists in reducing the cartilaginous structures or the width of the nasal wings.
What is an Alarplasty?
According to experts, an alarplasty (commonly called trimming of the nostril/alae) is a plastic surgery that allows narrowing the width of the nose by reducing the size and projection of the nasal wings. This procedure also allows improving the patient's facial harmony and the breathing.
The alarplasty can be performed as an isolated procedure or as a part of a complete rhinoplasty. In both cases, the results are dramatic and the plastic surgeon always tries to make them as natural as possible.
Who can Undergo Alarplasty?
In general terms, any person who only wishes to reduce the width of his/her nasal wings can be a good candidate for an alarplasty. Most experts say that, to determine if the nose has a "normal" width, you can draw an imaginary line from the nasal wings end to the point where the eye of each side begins. If those points match, you have a normal width in your nose.
However, it is important to know that only a qualified plastic surgeon can decide who is a good candidate for an alarplasty because the width of the nose must be harmonious and proportional with the other facial structures (please follow the link to read more on Cosmetic Surgery Consultation). Likewise, the surgeon will determine the best alar size to guarantee a proper breathing.
Finally, as it was said before, this procedure can be used as a complement of a complete rhinoplasty to create a proper facial harmony and a good result.
What Must I Know Before Having Alarplasty?
You must visit a plastic surgeon to determine if you are a good candidate for this procedure, the best way to perform the alarplasty and to fill the medical history. During this consultation you must ask the doctor any question about the procedure and the recovery process.
However, you must know that an alarplasty is considered an outpatient procedure, so you will go home the same day that the procedure is performed. However, you will need somebody to take you home, and somebody to take care of you the first few days.
This plastic surgery usually has fewer complications than a complete rhinoplasty and takes less time to be performed, but as any surgical procedure, you can experience bleeding, scarring or infections after the procedure.
Likewise, the recovery time after an alarplasty is shorter than other cosmetic surgeries and you can obtain the final results after one or two months, which is the moment when swelling and bruising disappear.
How Is an Alarplasty Performed?
According to the way of treatment, an alarplasty can be performed under local or general anaesthesia. When the changes will be mild, the patient can be under local anaesthesia and sedation, but when the procedure will be more extensive or when the patient has some particular medical conditions, the surgeon can recommend the general anaesthesia.
The alarplasty usually lasts one hour. The plastic surgeon will perform small cuts under the nostrils to reduce their size and reshape them. The surgeon cuts out a part (usually a wedge-shaped piece) from each side of the nostrils base to later bond it again through stitches.
Although the patient will have some swelling in the manipulated area, the results can be noticeable after the surgery. However, the surgeon can indicate using bandages over the stitches to avoid infections.
How Much Does an Alarplasty Cost?
The cost of an alarplasty can widely vary according to the type of anesthesia that will be used during the procedure (general or local), the patient’s desires and expectations, the type and number of changes that the surgeon must perform in the nose, the need of performing additional cosmetic procedures, among others.
Alarplasty has to be distinguished from a rinoplasty that is a different job and has a different range of prices, for instance a closed rinosplaty might have a starting cost in some clinic around 2.000 $ while a non closed rinoplasty might be easily around 3.800 $ for the same person.