5 Facts About Non-Surgical Nose Jobs From The Who Invented Them
Just a few years ago, if you wanted a new nose—smaller, straighter, smoother—you could either a.) have a rhinoplasty or b.) that's it. You had no other options. But with the rise of injectable fillers came an off-label use for them capable of transforming your entire profile in under 15 minutes: the non-surgical nose job. Working with the same hyaluronic acid gels used for lips and cheeks, a doctor can correct curves, bumps, and lumps, making your nose appear smaller (even though it's technically getting bigger). The facial cosmetic surgeon often credited with inventing the technique is Dr. Alexander Rivkin, though hundreds of plastic surgeons and dermatologists now offer the service across the country. The before-and-after photos are so unbelievable that you might just think the "lunchtime nose job" is too good to be true—an Instagram fable, if you will. It's not. We caught up with Rivkin to help separate myth from fact, and to get all the information you need to know about the new nose job.
1. Temporary Or Permanent—It's Your Choice
Most cosmetic fillers are temporary. The injections last anywhere from three months to two years, depending on the type you choose, before slowly dissolving. People often scoff at the procedure's fleetingness—why even do it if you're going to have to go back over and over again? Rivkin will start a patient off with a temporary filler ("Voluma lasts for a year and half, and it's reversible and natural looking," he says) before moving on to a permanent filler. "Once the temporary one dissolves, I have them come back and use Bellafill, a permanent filler." While you can correct your nose using Voluma in one 15-minute session, Bellafill (a collagen-based injectable used typically used to treat acne scars) takes three spaced-out sessions to see the final result that will last years.
2. It's Dangerous In The Wrong Hands
All injections come with risks—swelling, bruising, bleeding. But the nose is a particularly delicate area of the face. "I think that people need to understand the safety principles of injecting, and a have a healthy fear of the nose. In terms of what's dangerous, the nose ranks up there as the most dangerous," says Rivkin. That's because the blood supply to the nose is quite weak, particularly in noses that have already undergone a previous surgery. "If you put a whole bunch of filler into the tip or nostril, you can overrun the blood supply to your skin and cut it off," he says. This isn't a procedure you want to shop around for on Groupon. Speak to your doctor about their experience with non-surgical nose jobs—and be sure they outline all the potential risks.
3. It's Not Just For Bumps
The ideal candidate for a non-surgical nose job is someone who has a pronounced bump on the bridge of their nose. By filling the area around the bump, you can create the illusion of a perfectly straight nose. "The most important lesson is that people think you're adding to the nose, but you're actually adding and making it look smaller," says Rivkin. But you can also correct a droopy tip (filler will help lift it up) and mildly crooked noses (filler will correct any sharp angles). People who are not a candidate? "If it's just too big I can't make it smaller, if the bump is too big or too extreme, or if they had their nose broken, I can't help with that. Or if the nose is too thick, I can't thin it out," he says, noting that a traditional rhinoplasty would be needed in those cases. There is one exception, however. In certain cases where scar tissue is causing a widening of the nose, a shot of steroids can help it subtly shrink (crazy, right?). "You don't want to inject too much, a little bit is okay and when it works it's permanent—you're dissolving the scar tissue under the skin," notes Rivkin.
4. It Costs More Than Rhinoplasty
The average cost of a rhinoplasty in the United States is $5,046. For a temporary non-surgical nose job using Voluma, you'll end up spending about $2,500 a year. And if you eventually choose to go permanent with Bellafill, you'll spend $1,500 a session for three sessions, totaling $4,500. So while it's not a cost-effective solution, it does mean you won't have to wheeled into surgery. And it can drastically improve the appearance of noses that are too fragile for a revision rhinoplasty.
5. The Recovery Is Easy
If we were to create an injectable pain scale, Botox would be at the bottom (you can barely feel it) and cheek injections would be positioned near the top (it burns like the fire of 10,000 fiery suns). Lip injections would fall somewhere in the middle. And a non-surgical nose job? All accounts say it's nearly painless. Dr. Rivkin uses a topical cream to numb the area—though ice helps, too—and says the pain is moderate, with the tip of the nose being the most sensitive area. "It's a real lunchtime procedure. People can generally go right back to work," he says. "You can be a little red or a little bruised for a week, but we have lasers that can fix that too."