Rhinoplasty, which is often called a “nose job,” is one of the most common plastic surgical procedures. However, more and more people are looking for a less invasive way to reshape their nose.

This is where liquid rhinoplasty comes in. It still smooths out bumps and contours the nose, but it’s temporary and has very little recovery time.

This article will cover the procedure and compare the pros and cons of liquid rhinoplasty versus surgical rhinoplasty.

Liquid rhinoplasty is the nonsurgical option to traditional rhinoplasty.

It’s used to temporarily address issues like a dorsal hump (small bump), a drooping nasal tip, and asymmetry.

With this procedure, a surgeon injects fillers into a patient’s nose to improve the contours and reshape it. This is usually done with hyaluronic acid (HA), the same type of filler commonly used in cheek and lip fillers.

Over the years, HA has gained a reputation for being safe, effective, and a good alternative to surgery. Juvéderm and Restylane are popular HA brands.

A 2016 study even found that HA gel was able to fix nasal issues that traditional rhinoplasty couldn’t address. It was also shown to correct minor post-rhinoplasty issues.

Pros of liquid rhinoplasty

  • The procedure only takes around 15 minutes. This is a lot quicker than the 1 to 4 hours that it takes to complete a rhinoplasty.
  • Results are immediate, and there’s very minimal recovery time. You can have the procedure done and return to work the same day.
  • Since there’s no anesthesia, you’re awake and conscious during the entire procedure. Some surgeons even let you hold a mirror during it, giving you more control.
  • It’s reversible if HA is used. If results aren’t what you wanted or a serious complication occurs, the surgeon can use injections of hyaluronidase to dissolve the filler.

Cons of liquid rhinoplasty

  • Results are temporary, so if you like your new look, you’ll have to get more treatments done to maintain it.
  • According to a 2018 study, serious vascular complications, such as a blockage of a blood vessel, have been reported. This happens when the filler has either been injected into one of the nose’s arteries or it comes so close that it compresses it, cutting off the blood supply.
  • Since certain arteries at the end of the nose are connected to the eye’s retina, vascular complications can lead to blindness. Other closely connected arteries can also result in necrosis or death of the skin. However, these complications are very rare in the hands of a properly trained, board-certified physician.
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Pros of surgical rhinoplasty

  • You can get multiple surgeries done at the same time.
  • For instance, some people decide to get their nose and chin (chin augmentation) done together.
  • Unlike a liquid rhinoplasty, the results are permanent.
  • It’s not just a cosmetic procedure. It can also correct breathing issues and structural changes by reshaping the nose.

Cons of surgical rhinoplasty

  • Since you’re going under the knife, there are more risks involved. This includes bleeding, infection, a bad reaction to the general anesthesia, and even a numb nose.
  • It can be quite costly. The average cost of a rhinoplasty is $5,350, according to 2018 statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
  • Meanwhile, a liquid rhinoplasty may cost between $600 and $1,500. However, the cost of a rhinoplasty is usually a one-time purchase.
  • In addition to longer recovery time, final results could take up to a year as the swelling settles.
  • If you don’t like your results and wish to have a second surgery, you have to wait around a year until your nose is fully healed.
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Aesthetically speaking, the ideal candidate for liquid rhinoplasty is someone who has small nasal bumps and slightly droopy tips, said Dr.Grigoriy Mashkevich, MD, a facial plastic surgeon at Specialty Aesthetic Surgery.

This also means that asymmetries along the nose can be effectively corrected with injections, added Mashkevich. “Much of the success depends on the individual anatomy as well as the extent of the required correction.”

The ideal candidate must be able to take recovery steps and recognize complications and be ready to treat them.

“A good candidate for liquid rhinoplasty is someone who first and foremost understands the pros and cons involved with this intervention,” he said.

Who’s not a good candidate?

As for who’s not the ideal candidate? Someone who’s looking for a drastic result, such as fixing a severely crooked or broken nose.

If you’re looking to correct breathing issues, a nonsurgical option is unable to fix this. This can only be done with rhinoplasty surgery.

Someone who wears glasses regularly also isn’t an ideal candidate, as wearing heavy glasses or sunglasses isn’t recommended for 1 to 2 weeks after the procedure. This is because the filler material can combine with the skin of the nose if too much pressure is applied.

Also, if the filler material is added to the bridge of the nose, it can be displaced if your glasses put pressure on that area.

  1. The treatment begins with the patient either sitting or lying down.
  2. The nose may be cleaned with a solution made up of 70 percent alcohol.
  3. Ice or numbing cream is applied to numb the skin, minimizing pain. Neither will be needed if the filler used already contains a local anesthetic.
  4. Small amounts of the HA gel are carefully injected into the area. Adding too much can negatively affect results.
  5. The filler is then smoothed out, not massaged, to prevent pressure.
  6. The procedure takes around 15 minutes. However, it could take longer if a numbing agent is applied, as it takes around 10 to 15 minutes to kick in.

What’s the recovery like?

A major plus to liquid rhinoplasty is that there’s very little downtime after the procedure.

Patients are advised to avoid pressure on the injected area 1 to 2 weeks after treatment. They may also have to gently massage the area for 1 to 2 weeks.

Unlike surgical rhinoplasty, liquid rhinoplasty is temporary. Results typically last 6 months up to 2 years, depending on the type of filler used and the individual.

Some patients found that they didn’t require follow-up treatment after even 24 months.

You’ll have to repeat the procedure to maintain results.

Liquid rhinoplasty has a low complication rate.

However, as with any cosmetic procedure, there are risks involved. In addition to redness and swelling at the injection site, side effects include:

It’s recommended that you find a board-certified surgeon to perform your procedure. They’re well-equipped to assess your health and determine if you’re a good candidate for liquid rhinoplasty.

“A board-certified surgeon, who specializes in rhinoplasty surgery, would have the intricate understanding of the underlying nasal anatomy as well as a 3-dimensional appreciation of the ideal nasal contour,” said Mashkevich.

“These are critical in ensuring a safe injection and natural appearing outcomes with liquid rhinoplasty.”

You may have to meet with several surgeons before finding the right one. To make the process easier, here are some questions to ask your potential surgeon:

  • Are you board-certified?
  • What experience do you have performing this surgery?
  • How many liquid rhinoplasty procedures do you perform each year?
  • Do you have experience performing a traditional rhinoplasty?
  • Can I look at before and after photos from previous clients?
  • What will the total cost of the procedure be?

To find surgeons in your area, use this tool from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Liquid rhinoplasty has become a popular choice for those looking to avoid going under the knife.

As with any procedure, there are pros and cons. For example, results may appear right away, but you’ll have to undergo regular treatments to maintain your new look.

For the most part, however, liquid rhinoplasty is a safe and efficient nonsurgical alternative to traditional rhinoplasty.

Just make sure you find a board-certified surgeon to perform the procedure. They can help ensure that you see positive results.