Surgical vs. ‘Liquid’ Rhinoplasty: Which Is Right for You?

Woman who received rhinoplasty from Dr. Keith Ladner (model)

If you’re insecure about the way your nose looks, you’re not alone. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, rhinoplasty was the top-ranked surgical procedure of 2020, with Zoom meetings and selfies highlighting every perceived imperfection.

As a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon specializing in rhinoplasty at my Denver practice, I’ve also seen an uptick in patients considering nose jobs.

Even as surgical rhinoplasty remains popular, though, “liquid rhinoplasty” using injectable fillers such as Restylane® is becoming a trendy nonsurgical alternative. One study published last year called it “one of the fastest-growing cosmetic procedures worldwide.”

Are You a Candidate for Nonsurgical Rhinoplasty?

The first thing to know if you’re thinking about a nonsurgical approach to rhinoplasty is that it can only modify the nose’s appearance through addition. That means it’s not an option for patients who want to reduce the size of their noses.

For certain patients, using fillers can be effective to:

  • Minimize the appearance of a bump on the bridge of the nose
  • Elevate the nasal tip
  • Change the contour of the nose in other ways

The only way to know for sure if you can benefit from nonsurgical rhinoplasty is to meet with a facial plastic surgeon who can examine your nose anatomy and discuss the concerns you have about your nose’s appearance.

What Are the Benefits and Limits of Nonsurgical Rhinoplasty?

Even patients who are good candidates for liquid rhinoplasty often choose a surgical nose job at my Denver practice after weighing the pros and cons of the nonsurgical approach.

The benefits of nonsurgical rhinoplasty include:

  • Changes can be reversed if a patient doesn’t like the results (if a hyaluronic acid-based filler is used).
  • The results can be seen immediately, and there is minimal recovery time.
  • The procedure can be completed relatively quickly compared to surgery.

You may have noticed I didn’t include cost as one of the benefits. That’s because nonsurgical rhinoplasty won’t necessarily save patients much money if they want to maintain the results. Fillers don’t produce permanent changes and—depending on the desired changes—each treatment session can cost more than $1,000.

So, what are the limitations of the nonsurgical approach?

  • Results are temporary.
  • Concerns about the size of the nose can’t be addressed.

Is Nonsurgical Rhinoplasty Safe?

One concern that needs to be considered is the safety of injecting fillers into the nose. Vascular occlusion is a rare but very real complication that can result from nonsurgical rhinoplasty. It occurs when a provider inadvertently injects filler into an artery. The filler clogs the artery and blocks the delivery of blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the area. Often the problem is apparent immediately because the skin turns white. In some cases, however, the condition develops more gradually and can result in tissue death.

Even though there is always this risk, choosing an expert injector greatly reduces the chances of this complication.

Surgical or Nonsurgical Rhinoplasty?

Most people who feel self-conscious about their noses choose surgical rhinoplasty because it produces dramatic, permanent results. Our rhinoplasty patients are among the happiest with the outcomes of their procedures. You can see the results in our gallery of rhinoplasty before-and-after photos and this recent Instagram post:

If you want to learn more about surgical and nonsurgical rhinoplasty, contact us using the online form to request a consultation or call us at (303) 253-7686 to schedule an appointment. Women and men considering rhinoplasty travel from Aurora, Colorado Springs, and throughout the Rocky Mountain Region to our practice.

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