General information

Nasalis is a paired muscle covering the dorsum of the nose. There are two parts to this muscle, the alar and transverse parts. The alar part is also known as the dilator naris posterior, and the transverse part otherwise known as the compressor naris. This muscle forms the nasal group of the facial muscles with procerus, levator labii superioris alaeque nasi and depressor septi muscles.

Literal meaning

The muscle of the nose.

Interesting information

Like all other facial muscles, nasalis originates from the second pharyngeal arch and therefore is innervated by the facial nerve (CN VII). This muscle’s actions of dilating the nostrils and depressing the ala nasi allow nostril flaring, which happens when breathing.


Alar part: Frontal process of maxilla (superior to lateral incisor).

Transverse part: Maxilla (superolateral to incisive fossa).


Alar part: Skin of ala.

Transverse part: Merges with counterpart at dorsum of nose.

Alar part: Depresses ala laterally, dilates nostrils.

Transverse part: Wrinkles skin of dorsum of nose.

Nerve supply

Buccal branch of facial nerve (CN VII).

Blood supply

Superior labial, septal, and lateral nasal branches of facial artery.

Infraorbital branch of maxillary artery.


Relevant research

For Cleft lip patients, dissection and repair of both origin and insertion of nasalis muscle produced a nasal width, columellar height, and nasal tip projection close to the normal population.

Attia, S. A., Helal, H. A., El Barabary, A. S., Awad, M. A., & Sherif, M. M. (2019). Impact of nasalis muscle repair in unilateral cleft lip patients. Journal of cranio-maxillo-facial surgery: official publication of the European Association for Cranio-Maxillo-Facial Surgery, 47(2), 255–262.

Nasalis exercises

Nose wrinkle

Nose wrinkle

Wrinkle your nose and cheeks, hold, relax, and then repeat.

Nose shift

Nose shift

Shift your nose to one side, hold, and repeat on the other side.

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