Making the decision to get rhinoplasty is a huge life choice. The procedure, also known as a “nose job,” often involves serious surgery and a lengthy recovery. Moreover, your entire face will be getting a new look. It’s certainly not a choice to make likely.
Still, if you’re interested in altering the size, shape, or overall appearance or function of your nose, rhinoplasty is the answer. And in this case, it’s important to have all the facts before you move forward. Up ahead, we’ll go over one of the most important aspects of rhinoplasty surgery: Whether you should choose surgical rhinoplasty or non-surgical rhinoplasty.
Surgical Rhinoplasty vs. Non-Surgical Rhinoplasty: What’s the Difference?
There are two major types of rhinoplasty surgery: surgical rhinoplasty and nonsurgical rhinoplasty (also known as liquid rhinoplasty).
The rhinoplasty you probably know about is surgical rhinoplasty. This is a surgical procedure that involves being put under with anesthesia and having small incisions made inside or around your nose. Liquid rhinoplasty or nonsurgical rhinoplasty does not involve surgery, anesthesia, or incisions. Instead, it involves the administration of injectable fillers. These fillers (which are usually made up of hyaluronic acid or HA) are injected on and around your nose with a syringe by a skilled cosmetic surgeon.
Naturally, there are pros and cons to both of these options.
First, before diving into the nuanced differences, it’s important to know that there is one situation that necessitates surgical rhinoplasty only: If you need nose surgery in order to fix a functional problem — something that usually involves trouble breathing like a deviated septum — you’ll need to have surgical rhinoplasty. Functional issues cannot be fixed with nonsurgical rhinoplasty.
Moving on, if the issue you would like to ameliorate is aesthetic — that is, if you want to change the size and/or shape of your nose — you can generally get either surgical rhinoplasty or non-surgical rhinoplasty. But keep in mind that this only holds true for minor issues. For example, let’s say you have a dorsal hump, which is a small bump on the bridge of your nose. This can usually be fixed with either surgical or nonsurgical rhinoplasty. In the case of surgical rhinoplasty, incisions will be made, usually inside your nose so that there is no scarring. Next, your surgeon will lift the skin of the nose slightly and alter the bone and/or cartilage beneath to eliminate the hump. In the case of nonsurgical rhinoplasty, your surgeon would simply use an injectable filler to add volume above and below the dorsal hump, so that the overall appearance of your nose is smoother, and the hump is not visible.
In this case, your biggest decisions would be whether or not you want the changes to be permanent (non-surgical rhinoplasty is not permanent, but surgical rhinoplasty is) and how much you’d be willing to spend (non-surgical rhinoplasty is less expensive than surgical rhinoplasty). Furthermore, some people have an adverse reaction to the idea of major surgery and maybe be more interested in nonsurgical rhinoplasty so that they don’t have to be put under and endure a lengthy and sometimes uncomfortable recovery period. Whereas surgical rhinoplasty will take several hours and require you to be on bed rest for at least a few days, also taking time off from work or school, you can be in and out of your doctor’s office in about 15 to 30 minutes if you get an injectable filler and nonsurgical rhinoplasty.
How Can Rhinoplasty Improve Your Appearance?
Rhinoplasty isn’t for everyone, but it can certainly fix some common issues people struggle with. If you have any of the following, you might consider either surgical or non-surgical rhinoplasty in order to feel more confident about your appearance:
- Crooked nostrils
- A crooked nose bridge
- A crease at the very tip of the nose
- A large hump over the bridge of the nose
- A nose that is overly prominent compared to your other facial features.
- A nose that is far smaller than your other facial features
- A bulbous nose tip
- A sharp angle at the nose tip
Making Your Final Decision
While the above gives you a general idea of the differences between surgical and nonsurgical rhinoplasty, keep in mind that there are still situations that will be unique and will require more thought and expertise from a surgeon. If, for example, you only want a minor change to your nose but that change involves making your nose smaller, not bigger in any way, nonsurgical liquid rhinoplasty is never going to work. This is simply because liquid rhinoplasty can only be performed if adding volume will improve the issue.
Of course, the very best way to decide between surgical and nonsurgical rhinoplasty is to meet one-on-one with a professional cosmetic surgeon who specializes in rhinoplasty. Most surgeons who perform surgical rhinoplasties can also perform liquid rhinoplasties, so they will be the best source of information on both of these procedures.
At your consultation appointment, make sure to bring notes on your medical history, pictures of noses you like the appearance of, and any other information you think may be pertinent to your situation. The doctor will talk with you about your goals and medical history and give you a short physical examination to best answer your questions and make a recommendation.
In the end, even if you’re still on the fence about whether you want to get rhinoplasty at all, it’s easy to make a consultation appointment with a cosmetic surgeon just to talk about your options including the all mighty second opinion. Rhinoplasty is a serious life decision, which means it’s always best to have the facts right before moving forward.
Dr. Raj Mohan is a Texas-based board-certified plastic surgeon who focuses on aesthetic and reconstructive surgery of the face, breast, and body. He is one of the few surgeons in the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex with specialized fellowship training in aesthetic surgery. He has extensive training in non-invasive procedures and offers the latest in injectable fillers, botulinum toxins, chemical peels and laser skin resurfacing.