Rhinoplasty, or a “nose job”, is one of the most common surgical procedures performed by plastic surgeons, however more recently cosmetic physicians have been using injectable dermal fillers to safely correct curves and a drooping nose tip.
In fact, it’s such a common procedure in Asia that it’s actually been nick-named the “Asian Rhinoplasty”, although you don’t need to be Asian to experience the benefit of a non-surgical rhinoplasty.
Anyone who wants to change the appearance of their nose without surgery may be a good candidate. Non-surgical rhinoplasty is a fantastic procure for instantly filling those hollows and straightening out the “lumps and bumps”, not only along the bridge of the nose, but also helping to straighten any “crookedness” along the sides of the nose.
SURGICAL RHINOPLASTY VS NON-SURGICAL RHINOPLASTY: WHAT IS THE BEST CHOICE FOR ME?
In choosing if non-surgical rhinoplasty is right for you, you need to think about your goals, budget and what can be achieved by each procedure.
Surgical rhinoplasty is permanent, but along with that goes the cost: the cost of the surgeon, the cost of the anaesthetic and hospital stay, and the “down-time” for recovery. There’s also the risk of an anaesthetic and the surgery itself.
A non-surgical rhinoplasty may be able to smooth out those “lumps and bumps” on the nose without the risks of surgery. The non-surgical option relies on injecting fillers to the nose, and fillers are not permanent, but you can expect that the filler will last for an average of a year.
If you are thinking of a surgical rhinoplasty, but aren’t quite ready to commit, the temporary nature of filler may appeal to you. The other benefit of a non-surgical rhinoplasty is that there is no downtime making it a true “lunchtime nose job”.
What should I expect during a non-surgical rhinoplasty?
- During a non-surgical rhinoplasty, you will first have a full assessment with a cosmetic doctor who will review your medical history as well as discuss your goals with you to ensure that you are indeed a good candidate for the procedure.
- After an anti-septic nose cleaning, a small dot of local anaesthetic is all you’ll need for this procedure. It’s the same stuff used at the dentist and it may raise a small “mosquito bite” near the tip of the nose, but that will go away within half an hour to an hour.
- Experienced cosmetic doctors may have a different approach, but my approach is to pierce the skin with a sharp needle only once which drastically reduces the chance of swelling, bleeding, and serious complications.
- Instead of using sharp needles to inject filler, I’ll use a blunt tipped cannula. There are many benefits of using a cannula vs a sharp needle, including less pain and more precision.
- The cannula is then passed up the bridge of the nose, just under the skin. Most people say that the sensation feels slightly strange, but not painful. The filler has local anaesthetic in it, so the inject area will continue to become numb.
- The tip of the cannula is passed so that it is directly located in the area to be filled. This can be right along the bridge of the nose, or along the sides, or both. The filler is then carefully injected a little bit at a time. An experienced injector may stop every now and then so the client can have a look in the mirror and see how it looks.
- After the correct amount of filler has been placed it usually needs a bit of a massage to make sure that the filler is smooth, evenly distributed, and with no lumps or bumps. The whole procedure is simple and quick and shouldn’t take more than twenty minutes.
DOES NON-SURGICAL RHINOPLASTY HURT?
With the new technique of blunt tipped cannula injection of dermal filler, the number of injection points required is now reduced.
You’ll need much fewer injections: the first is a tiny injection of local anaesthetic, and the second is to pierce the skin to allow the cannula to be placed under the skin. Ice is also used to numb the skin before injecting.
Ice serves a few purposes, as it also helps to constrict the blood vessels in the area, making them less likely to be punctured by the needle, and minimising the chance of bruising.
The cannula blunt tip itself doesn’t hurt; most people describe it as a strange sensation, but not painful. The filler itself also contains local anaesthetic, so the area continues to become numb as the filler is injected.
WHAT TYPE OF FILLER IS BEST FOR NON-SURGICAL RHINOPLASTY?
There are lots of different brands and types of fillers, but a dissolvable filler is so much safer and can be dissolved if you aren’t happy with the result.
Fillers can also be classed as “thick” or “thin”. Thick fillers are great for replacing volume, for example in the temples or cheeks, whereas thin fillers are better for the lips as they are malleable, softer, and more natural feeling.
For the nose you want a filler with a good amount of structure, but something that can also be massaged into place. Your injector will able to help decide which filler type is best for you depending on your goals and where exactly you want it injected.
HOW MUCH FILLER DO I NEED FOR A NON-SURGICAL RHINOPLASTY?
The answer is different for everyone, as we all have different aesthetic goals, but in general it is better to use less rather than more. My philosophy is that “it’s easy to put more in later, but it’s much harder to take it out if we use too much”. A good injector should never propose more than one ml filler in one area at one time.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT AFTER A NON-SURGICAL RHINOPLASTY?
Non-surgical rhinoplasty is a simple and quick procedure, and downtime is minimal; you should be able to return to your normal activities immediately (within reason). You’ll only have the one, tiny needle point where the cannula entered the skin, and you’ll be fine to go back to work if you need to.
WHAT IF I HAVE PAIN?
If you do feel slightly sore, use a simple, mild painkiller such a paracetamol. Avoid the use of aspirin and ibuprofen as these can increase the likelihood of bruising. Ice packs can help if you feel swollen, but usually this isn’t an issue with this particular procedure.
It may be helpful to sleep with your head up on a few pillows for the first night as it minimises swelling overnight. There aren’t really any strict limitations on your activity following the procedure: just take it easy. You can do your regular Pilates class, but don’t run a marathon that night. You can have a glass of wine with dinner, but don’t drink the whole bottle.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS OF NON-SURGICAL RHINOPLASTY?
Non-surgical rhinoplasty is considered to be a safe procedure, which avoids the need for a general anaesthetic that is required for a surgical rhinoplasty.
Of course, no procedure is without its risk. The two main risks both involve the blood supply in the area, and both can be avoided with careful injections.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATION #1
The first risk is that the blood supply to the skin over the nose can be compromised if too much filler is injected into the area and the arteries and veins are compressed. The skin becomes “blanched”; when you press on the skin it goes whiter as the blood is emptied from the tiny blood vessels, but when released, the blood only returns very slowly to the area.
This would usually be noticed at, or very soon after the injections, and the solution is to immediately dissolve the filler using hyalase. The best way to avoid this is to not inject too much dermal filler, especially to the bridge of the nose.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATION #2
The other possible complication is also the most feared complication in all of cosmetic medicine, namely blindness. This is because in some people there may be some blood vessels that have a connection with blood vessels going to the eyes. If filler is directly injected into these blood vessels, the filler may travel to the eyes. This is an absolute disaster, and thankfully never happened in Australia, but it’s one more reminder of why you should do your research and chose a highly skilled and experienced injector.
Sharp needles can pierce veins and arteries beneath the skin. Since blunt cannulas simply push aside any arteries and veins encountered beneath the skin, there’s a reduced risk of bleeding and bruising.
A “blunt tipped cannula technique” to perform non-surgical rhinoplasty is a much safer way to inject to this area, as the blunt tip of the cannula actually “pushes away” blood vessels with its blunt tip, rather than pierce the vessel and lead to the possibility of injection into a vessel.
Remember that when you pay for filler or anti-wrinkle injections, you’re not just paying for the product injected, but also the experience and skills of the injector.
It can’t be emphasised enough that this is really an advanced technique and should not be considered by anyone other than an experienced injector.
These more serious risks are very unlikely if the technique if performed correctly and in a safe manner by an experienced injector. Far and away the most common side effects are swelling and bruising. With the new technique of injecting with a blunt tipped cannula, rather than sharp needles, the incidence of bruising is reduced.
HOW LONG DOES A NON-SURGICAL RHINOPLASTY LAST?
The answer to this question varies from person to person, as everyone metabolises filler at a different rate, and it also depends on the type of filler used. The thicker fillers tend to last longer than the thinner fillers. For a general idea, the type of filler used for a non-surgical rhinoplasty to last between six to twelve months, depending on the individual.