Alarplasty, also called alar base reduction surgery, is a cosmetic procedure that changes the shape of the nose.

Alarplasty is popular with people who want to reduce the look of nasal flaring and people who want to make their nose look more symmetrical.

This article will cover what alarplasty is, what the risks are, how much it costs, and whether you’re a good candidate for this procedure.

Alarplasty is a surgery in which a small amount of skin is removed from the wing of the nose. In many cases, the result is that the base of the nose looks narrower.

Incision techniques used for alarplasty include:

  • Wedge. Wedge excisions reduce nasal flaring by removing wedges of alar, or the fleshy, curved lower part of the nose that attaches to the cheek. Incisions are made externally and don’t narrow the nostril.
  • Sill. Sill excisions are used to narrow the base of the alar, or where it attaches to the cheek, and reduce nostril width. Incisions are made on the inside of the nose. This technique is often combined with the wedge technique to reduce alar flare and narrow nostrils.
  • Weir. First introduced by Robert Weir in 1892, the Weir excision technique is a refinement of the wedge technique. It customizes the excision to align with the curve of the nostril and uses the sutures to create contours.

Different incision techniques may be combined if the surgeon thinks that’ll yield the best result. The goal is to preserve a natural appearance at the base of the nose.

Technically, alarplasty is a specific type of rhinoplasty.

Rhinoplasty is the most popular cosmetic procedure performed in the United States, with an estimated 220,000 procedures performed annually.

People may be interested in an alarplasty if they feel that their nose has a flared appearance or their nostrils look open and prominent.

The alae are the fleshy parts of your nose that connect your nostrils to your face. They can be thicker or thinner, taller or shorter, depending on your natural face shape. Alarplasty carves out a small portion of these alae, which changes how broad your nose looks.

People who’ve had a previous rhinoplasty and want to refine the results, as well as those who’ve had a traumatic injury to their face, may also be interested in this corrective procedure.

You may be a good candidate for an alarplasty if you:

  • are in good health and don’t smoke
  • have healed completely from previous surgical procedures in the area of your nose
  • have realistic expectations for how a cosmetic procedure can change your appearance

Your specific nose shape, current or previous health conditions, and previous cosmetic surgeries will also help to determine whether you’re a good candidate for this procedure.

A consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon is the best way to find out if this procedure can help you achieve the results you’re looking for.

The steps for alarplasty are similar to the steps for rhinoplasty. The difference is that alarplasty is less invasive.

Surgery prep

Before the procedure, make sure to arrange to have someone available to drive you to and from the doctor’s office or hospital. This is especially true if you’re going to be under general anesthesia.

Note that general anesthesia isn’t typically required unless your alarplasty is being combined with a traditional rhinoplasty.


  1. First, your surgeon will discuss results with you at length. They may also mark your nose with a pen so that you can visualize the incision.
  2. You’ll be put under general anesthesia or topical anesthesia for this procedure, depending on your surgeon’s recommendation.
  3. Your surgeon will make an incision and carve out the small shape of your nose that you wish to have removed.
  4. After the incision is made, sutures will be made to reinforce the new shape of the alar base.
  5. Your wound will be dressed with a bandage, and you may be given pain medication and instructions for how to prevent infection.
  6. You’ll have to wear a bandage for several days after the procedure.


Recovery time for an alarplasty is relatively quick compared to other facial surgeries. Your nose will be red and swollen initially, but this should recede in 1 to 2 weeks.

Stitches will typically be removed 1 week after surgery. Full recovery takes between 1 and 3 months.

As with all surgeries, alarplasty has a risk of complications. Immediately after surgery, it’s common to see swelling, redness, and even some bleeding from the area where your skin was modified.

In the weeks after your procedure, possible complications include:

  • scarring
  • discharge or pus from the site of surgery
  • infection

It’s extremely important to use a board-certified plastic surgeon with experience performing this procedure. An experienced, licensed provider can significantly reduce your risks of complications.

Alarplasty is an elective cosmetic procedure. That means that it isn’t typically covered by health insurance. You’ll be expected to cover the cost of an alarplasty and the accompanying anesthesia.

In the United States, the cost of an alarplasty can vary widely depending on where you live and whether you.

An alarplasty tends to be less expensive than a traditional rhinoplasty because it’s a less involved procedure. Many alarplasty procedures cost between $2,000 and $3,000.

When calculating how much an alarplasty will cost you, consider how much time you have to take to recover from the procedure.

If you’re interested in an alarplasty, you can schedule a consult with a plastic surgeon.

At this consultation, you can discuss your desired results with your surgeon. Make a list of things you’d like to cover. For example:

  • Share photographs of nose shapes that you’re looking to emulate.
  • Ask about risks and side effects.
  • Talk about potential scarring.
  • Discuss the full cost of the procedure, including anesthesia.
  • Disclose any health conditions, family history, and medications that you’re taking.
  • Disclose previous cosmetic procedures and when they were done.

To find a board-certified surgeon near you, you can use the American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ online tool.

An alarplasty aims to change the shape of your nose using a small incision on the side of your nostril. It’s a relatively simple procedure, but like any type of surgery, there are some risks involved.

If you’re interested in this procedure, consult a board-certified surgeon. Individual risks and results vary widely.