Nose Correction Without Surgery

Non-surgical rhinoplasty, also known as a non-surgical nose job, injection rhinoplasty, or the “15-minute nose job”, can be a lower-risk, lower-cost alternative (with less pain and less downtime as an added bonus) for those who may have otherwise considered surgical rhinoplasty. For those who can’t afford the expense or downtime associated with surgery, or for those who are simply afraid to actually go under the knife, it can be quite a relief to hear that there is such an option available.

While non-surgical rhinoplasty cannot reduce the size of a large nose, the creation of symmetry or smoothing out of contour irregularities can actually make the nose appear smaller on the face. Furthermore, the non-surgical nose job can provide a non-invasive alternative for revision surgery for patients dissatisfied with the results of surgical rhinoplasty. Non-surgical rhinoplasty can be useful to:

  • Reduce the appearance of a “bump” by filling out the surrounding tissue
  • Reduce or eliminate unsightly depressions, dents, or grooves
  • Improve symmetry
  • Create a lifting effect on a drooping nasal tip
  • Raise and define a flat bridge or de-emphasize a rounded tip (popular in Asian and African-American populations)
  • Correct a “scooped out” or “saddle-nose” profile (whether you're born with it or it is the result of previous surgical rhinoplasty)

How Non-Surgical Rhinoplasty Is Done

Tiny amounts of an injectable dermal filler (such as Radiesse, Artefill, Juvederm, or Silicone) are injected into areas that need to be filled out to achieve a smoother, more symmetrical appearance. The filler is injected in minuscule amounts using what is called a microdroplet technique.

This procedure is not exactly a quick fix, as the end result is only achieved after a series of several treatments, with at least 4-6 weeks in between sessions. This gradual approach is necessary because of the way these fillers work.

After injection, your body’s defenses begin working to “wall off” each microdroplet of the filler material, forming a capsule of tissue that holds it in position. Over a period of time, the natural tissue built up around the filler creates more volume in the area, so the result cannot be accurately judged at the end of each injection session.

Only after the prescribed amount of time is it possible for the doctor and patient to judge if and where more injections are needed, as well as how much is needed. This allows to doctor and patient to judiciously decide when enough is enough.

The Safety of the Procedure

Non-surgical rhinoplasty does not require general anesthesia or IV sedation. Only a local anesthetic is used, sometimes in conjunction with an oral sedative to relax the patient. Because of this and the fact that there is no actual cutting involved, this method carries less risk than a surgical rhinoplasty procedure. There are, however, some risks, which include:

  • Hypersensitivity reactions
  • Infection
  • “Lumpy”, asymmetrical, or otherwise unsatisfactory aesthetic results
  • Nasal skin damage

There are also risks associated specifically with silicone injections, such as migration (movement of the silicone to another part of the face or body), and the formation of granulomas. However, these problems have historically been mostly associated with the injection of larger quantities of silicone by unqualified injectors.

It is believed that the microdroplet method significantly reduces the risk of these complications. Furthermore, because the nose is a virtually static (having limited movement) area of the face, the possibility of silicone migration is much less.

What Cannot Be Accomplished With Non-Surgical Rhinoplasty?

If you want a smaller nose, a thinner bridge, a large bump removed, or a more narrow tip, this procedure will not accomplish your goals. Non-surgical rhinoplasty cannot improve breathing problems or correct internal defects such as a deviated septum. Nor can it (or any other procedure) give you a “perfect”, completely symmetrical nose. As always, the goal of cosmetic surgery is an improvement, not perfection.

The Downside

Injections with Juvederm, Radiesse, or most other fillers are temporary. To maintain your results, you will have to come back again and again for injections. This can be inconvenient and could become quite expensive over time.

On the other hand, injections of silicone or Artefill are forever. You can’t change your mind and have it removed, except through painful and disfiguring surgical excision. Because of this, selection of a highly-qualified surgeon is exceedingly important.

People with autoimmune disorders should not undergo injections with silicone or other permanent fillers, and those concerned about hypersensitivity reactions should ask their doctors to perform a skin test before going ahead with the procedure. If you are considering surgical rhinoplasty at any point in the future, you should not have injection rhinoplasty with a permanent filler like Artefill or silicone.

Non-Surgical Rhinoplasty Fillers

If you are considering non-surgical rhinoplasty, but are unsure which filler material might be best for you, learn more about your options for non-surgical rhinoplasty fillers.

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Article Sources
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  1. Harb A, Brewster CT. The nonsurgical rhinoplasty: A retrospective review of 5000 treatments. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2020;145(3):661-667. doi:10.1097/PRS.0000000000006554

  2. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Dermal fillers minimally invasive procedures.

  3. Lee JM, Kim YJ. Foreign body granulomas after the use of dermal fillers: pathophysiology, clinical appearance, histologic features, and treatment. Arch Plast Surg. 2015;42(2):232-9. doi:10.5999/aps.2015.42.2.232

  4. American Society of Plastic Surgeons. How a nonsurgical rhinoplasty can provide amazing results. Updated September 18. 2018.

  5. National Center for Health Research. The wrinkle in facial injections and implants: Safety questions.

Additional Reading
  • Adjustment of Subtle Postoperative Nasal Defects: Managing the “Near-Miss” Rhinoplasty; Anthony P. Sclafani, Thomas Romo, III,Jay G. Barnett,Channing R. Barnett; Facial Plastic Surgery, Volume 19, Number 4, 2003.

  • Dermal Fillers, Consumer Information Sheet, American College of Osteopathic Dermatology;
  • Interview with Alexander Rivkin, MD; Los Angeles, CA, conducted on October 15, 2009
  • Interview with Robert Kotler, MD, FACS; Beverly Hills, CA, conducted on August 31, 2009
  • Liquid Injectable Silicone for Soft Tissue Augmentation; Prather CL, Jones DH; Dermatol Ther. 2006 May-Jun;19(3):159-68