Alarplasty Nose Job – Nostril Reduction Surgery in Auckland New Zealand by Dr Mark Gittos

A beautifully shaped nose is one that has the right size of nostrils in proportion to the nose overall. Rhinoplasty, or nose job, is one of the most highly demanded plastic surgeries. However, it’s an umbrella term that covers any cosmetic surgical procedure done to the nose. Alarplasty surgery on the other hand is meant for those who wish to adjust their nostrils only. Despite the minor changes, it can dramatically transform you aesthetically.

Dr. Mark Gittos is a specialist plastic surgeon in New Zealand, with more than twenty-six years of mose surgery experience. Together with his dedicated team, he’ll give you the best of what alarplasty has to offer you.

Download Dr Mark Gittos’ Guide to Nose Surgery

Guide Nose Surgery

What Is Alarplasty?

Alarplasty, also known as alar trimming, and alar or nostril reduction surgery, is a cosmetic procedure that changes the shape and width of your nostrils. The alae, meaning the wings of the nostrils, are the section of your nose where the nostrils become rounded and extend to your cheeks. Cosmetic surgeons agree that the width of the nose should match the width of your eye area or one-fifth the width of your entire face. If your alae extend beyond these proportions, you might feel your face less balanced and appealing.

Alarplasty is most commonly done to narrow overly wide nostrils. However, it also includes any reshaping done to this area. It could be to decrease or increase the width of your nostrils, or to address functional concerns. Alarplasty is considered a sub-branch of rhinoplasty, and it can be performed on its own or as part of a comprehensive rhinoplasty procedure.

Coco Ruby Blog - Nose Anatomy Guide for Nose Aesthetics and Beauty Surface Nose Anatomy

Who Needs Alarplasty?

Wide nostrils can create a distraction that draws attention away from your other facial features, like eyes, mouth, and cheeks. If you view your nose from below, the shape of your nose base is more or less triangular. The ideal nostrils should gently curve outward between your nose tip and alar crease (the area where your alae meet the cheeks). Too much outward curvature can disrupt your overall aesthetic balance and facial harmony.

Alar trimming is most common in certain ethnicities. However, any person who feels their nostrils are too wide and are negatively impacting their facial appearance and self-image, are good candidates for alarplasty.

What Are the Benefits of Alarplasty?

The nose is a central facial feature that is near impossible to hide. Being dissatisfied with how your nose and nostrils look can have a negative impact on your mental health and life in general. The beauty of alarplasty is that it’s a less extreme cosmetic procedure when compared to rhinoplasty. Others will barely notice that you’ve undergone any plastic surgery but will certainly comment on how attractive you’ve been looking lately. Nostril reduction surgery can:

  • Narrow your wide nostrils to match your facial features
  • Correct asymmetry between your two nostrils
  • Improve breathing if nasal obstruction is present
  • Enhance your facial features
  • Increase your self-confidence to tackle life’s daily challenges

How Is Alarplasty Performed?

Alarplasty is a simple quick surgery that can transform your face dramatically. Depending on your nostril shape and desired goal, nostril trimming techniques may vary. Dr. Mark will usually make an incision in your alar crease so that any possible scarring after alarplasty will remain hidden in your natural nasal folds. He will then remove a wedge from your nostril wall depending on your aesthetic needs. Finally, Dr. Gittos will do some final adjustments to your nostrils’ shape. He will then reattach your nostrils to their base, before closing and suturing your incisions.

alarplasty nostril surgery

What to Expect During Recovery After Alarplasty?

Nostril reduction is a cosmetic plastic surgery done under local anesthesia, or general anesthesia if it’s done in combination with rhinoplasty. The average time required for the procedure is no longer than 60 minutes. You will be discharged back home soon after by your care team.

In the first days following your alar reduction surgery, pain, bruising and swelling are expected. They reach their peak by day three and start to wane after. Minor bleeding from your incisional sites is also normal and should subside completely within two to three days.

In your one-week follow-up appointment with Dr. Mark, any sutures, nasal packing, and bandages will be removed. You’ll notice then that your pain, bruises, and the bulk of your swelling are gone or reduced significantly.

Unlike a nose job, alar reduction surgery does not involve bone reshaping. This not only decreases the severity of your pain, bruising, and swelling but also the time needed for a full recovery. The average recovery period is two weeks, with the majority of patients returning to their usual daily routine only one week after their alarplasty.

The nose tends to retain swelling longer than any other tissue. Any lingering swelling, though unnoticeable, may take up to three to six months to completely disappear. As for scarring, its location prevents it from being noticed, even right after your alarplasty. With time and proper scar care, your scar will completely fade away.

When Can You Start Seeing Results After Alarplasty?

In the right set of skilled surgical hands, your body’s response to injury, and your post-op self-care routine, results can be noticed as soon as your bandages are removed (after one week). The majority of your bruising and swelling will be gone by then, and you’ll be in awe at how drastically different your face looks.

By two weeks, you’ll be confident enough to pose away in pictures and upload selfies. Be prepared for all the compliments you’re going to receive! And although it takes three to 6 months to shed all the swelling, more than 80% of it will be gone in one month after your nostril reduction surgery.

What Are the Risks and Complications of Alarplasty?

Alarplasty is a simple yet powerful cosmetic plastic surgery, with only minor complications as a result. Other than bruising, swelling, and minor bleeding, which are all your body’s natural response to injury, risk and complications of alar reduction surgery are:

  • Infection: There’s always a risk of infection in any type of surgery, especially if you didn’t follow your plastic surgeon’s wound care instructions and antibiotic regimen.
  • Nostril asymmetry: Different-sized nostrils can be a complication of nostril trimming procedures, even after full recovery. It is important to choose a certified experienced plastic surgeon like Dr. Mark Gittos, to avoid such complications.
  • Scarring: Any scarring after alarplasty should be unnoticeable soon after your procedure. It is important to decide on a skilled plastic surgeon that has honed his techniques over the years, as well as practice proper scar care to minimize such risks.

Which Celebrities could have had Alarplasty Nose Surgery?

Plastic surgeries involving the nose are popular in Hollywood and almost seem like a right of passage. Here’s a list of celebrities who’ve undergone nostril trimming surgery, be it alone or as part of rhinoplasty.

  • Scarlett Johansson: The two-time sexiest women alive actress has undergone a nostril trimming procedure early in her career. It’s hard to believe so, when her results look so natural!
Scarlett Johansson before and after nose job pictures (alarplasty)
Scarlett Johansson before and after nose job pictures (Alarplasty)
  • Beyonce: Queen B herself is believed to have had both alarplasty and rhinoplasty procedures. Though she never confirmed or denied undergoing plastic surgery, the subtle changes in her nostril size and nose definition are undeniable.
  • Kate Moss: The famous English supermodel didn’t have a super nose before her alarplasty. Kate had her nostrils reduced to look narrow, more defined, and less bulbous.
  • Tyra Banks: The famous supermodel and TV personality was always a vocal supporter of plastic surgery. She had a nose job with nostril trimming early on in her career. Tyra says it was for both cosmetic and functional reasons, as she suffered from a broken nose injury before.

How Much Does Alarplasty Cost?

It’s hard to put a price tag on a cosmetic procedure, alarplasty is no exception. The final cost of nostril reduction surgery depends on many factors: plastic surgeon chosen, your nose anatomy, the extent of the procedure, and more. However, alarplasty is considered less costly than a full-on nose job procedure.

Dr. Mark will give you a price quote after your first consultation session. This will include the surgeon, care team, and hospital fees. Regardless of the cost, this life-long procedure is well worth it. The majority of patients who’ve undergone alarplasty were ecstatic with their results. They reported that the amount of money spent on the procedure was well worth the cost.

Is Alarplasty Covered by Insurance?

Cosmetic plastic surgeries in general, including alarplasty, are usually considered an elective type of surgery. Elective cosmetic surgery is not usually covered by ACC nor health insurers. However, if your nostril reduction surgery is not intended for cosmetic reasons only, your plastic surgeon may classify it as medically necessary.

This may be the case if your nostrils are causing you difficulty in breathing, are a part of a developmental defect, or a part of a post-traumatic nose injury.

In these circumstances, a Medicare Item Number will be given to you, and you’ll be eligible for a rebate (visit Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) for more information). Third-party insurers will similarly reimburse you if a medical or functional component is provided by your plastic surgeon.

Why Choose Dr. Mark Gittos for Your Nostril Surgery?

Alarplasty, though a more minor cosmetic procedure compared to others, demands a specialized plastic surgeon. Choosing a plastic surgeon with extensive experience in facial cosmetic surgery, and who had performed alarplasty as a significant portion of their practice, is necessary to ensure the best results.

Dr. Mark Gittos is one of the leading plastic surgeons in New Zealand. He specializes in cosmetic facial surgery and has performed countless nostril reduction procedures over the years. In his surgeries, he implements the latest techniques, combined with decades of international surgical experience.

Dr. Gittos will be with you every step of the way during your nostril reduction surgery, from your first consultation appointment to your final follow-up. He will give you his honest opinion; and will invest the time to explain how he can fix your wide nostrils, the techniques he will use, how the recovery period is like, and if there are any possible complications. It is important to have all the information needed to make an informed decision. Your satisfaction and safety are his top priority.

Alarplasty FAQs – Frequently asked questions about alarplasty surgery

At what age can I have Alarplasty?

  • Alarplasty is one of the most frequently requested procedures in both adults and young teens. It’s best performed when your nose reaches its adult size. This could occur as early as age 14 for girls, and 16 for boys. Surgery will require parental permission.

Is Alarplasty worth it?

  • If you are dissatisfied with how your nostrils look, and how its negatively impacting your facial appearance and self-esteem, then yes, a nostril trimming procedure is well worth it. This minor yet drastically altering surgery can make you look and feel more attractive, boosting your self-confidence to sky-high levels.

Is Alarplasty permanent?

  • Though slightly susceptible to the natural aging of time, nostril reduction surgery is considered permanent. This makes choosing a qualified plastic surgeon like Dr. Mark Gittos all the more important.

Can Alar reduction be reversed?

  • Alar reduction surgery is permanent and cannot be reversed. If you are dissatisfied with your nostril narrowing, revisional surgery can be performed to improve it. However, you should be aware of the excessive scarring and abnormal contouring of the nostrils that may result after.

Further Reading – Medical Sources:

About Dr Mark Gittos FRACS (Plast) – New Zealand Plastic Surgeon 

Practice locations in Herne Bay Auckland, Northland and Bay of Plenty – Kerikeri, Whangarei, New Plymouth & Tauranga

Dr Mark Gittos is a leading Specialist Plastic Surgeon and operates a practice in Herne Bay, Auckland and in the UK. The practice focuses on both surgical and non-surgical procedures, each designed to help restore, improve or change a physical characteristic or problem. The first step in every case is to talk through your personal requirements and explore all the options, before deciding on the most effective solution.

Dr Mark Gittos offers high quality, natural-looking cosmetic surgery results and is highly experienced in BreastBody and Face Surgery having performed over 4000 Surgeries in the last 26 years.  With worldwide expertise Dr Gittos is an expert in breast, face and body surgery for men & women. 

Naturally, before any treatment is begun, we will explain clearly the advantages and risk factors; so that you have the information you need to make an informed decision that is best for you. Visit the practice to find out more.


Please NOTE: Dr Gittos only performs surgery on non-smoker patients with a BMI less than 30. To check your BMI please visit the NZ Heart Foundation website. For help giving up smoking before surgery visit the Smoke Free website

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What to Bring to your Plastic Surgeon Consultation

  • Bring a friend or relative to help discuss the information and your choices
  • Take lots of notes and read the documents provided thoroughly
  • Dress in simple clothes as you may need to undress for examination
  • Bring your medical referral and any relevant medical documents or test results

Book your Initial Surgery Consultation

  • A Referral from your GP or specialist is helpful but NOT essential – you can have a consultation without a GP Referral
  • Email us or Call on 09 529 5352 to arrange your surgeon consultation appointment.
  • Book a consultation with Dr Gittos by paying the Consultation Fee – $350 incl GST

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Please contact us to arrange to book a consultation with our Specialist Plastic Surgeon or to speak with our Patient Care Advisor.

Send an enquiry form today or phone  09 529 5352  during Clinic Hours