Liquid rhinoplasty seems to be the rage throughout social media as the new nose job yet a large portion of the community does not understand exactly what this procedure is. What people know is that it is a quick, relatively inexpensive, painless and minimally invasive way to change the shape of their nose. All of these are advantages to the procedure, but there is much more to consider.
Liquid rhinoplasty is a procedure using a filler substance such as Juvederm, Restylane or Radiesse that is injected under the skin of the nose on top of the nasal bones in order to fill the overlying skin and provide a temporary change to the shape of the nose. This procedure uses an absorbable substance most commonly made of hyaluronic acid. Hyaluronic acid is a component of human cartilage and skin, but it is not permanent and will eventually be reabsorbed by the body. By appropriately injecting a dermal filler agent into the nose we can achieve minor changes in the appearance of the nose such as elevating a low point in the nose, the tip of the nose and possibly even more rotation. The ultimate attribute is that by using a filler we can perform an easy procedure in the office that achieves a more balanced appearing nose that matches the rest of the face.
However, there are several drawbacks as well. Most importantly a liquid rhinoplasty is a temporary procedure because the filler agent will be absorbed by the body over a 3 to 12-month period of time. Therefore, the change in the nasal appearance is relatively short-lived. Also, a liquid rhinoplasty has no effect on changing or improving any difficulty the patient may have with breathing through the nose nor does it have any effect on the function of the nose. It is purely a cosmetic procedure. The change in the appearance of the nose by using a dermal filler is relatively limited. That means if there is a serious low point in the nose it can only be improved to a certain degree. Fillers can only be used to enlarge smaller parts of the nose by filling out the skin envelope in hopes of achieving symmetry. Therefore, it is only an augmenting procedure, or a procedure which only makes parts of the nose bigger. A traditional rhinoplasty approach can both remove as well as add tissue to the nose therefore allowing the surgeon to make bigger parts smaller and smaller parts bigger in equal amounts such that the overall nose is more balanced and has a more natural appearance as opposed to the limitation of only making parts of the nose bigger which may not result in the exact nose the patient would like to have.
Many people site the safety and reversibility of the use of injectable fillers to change the appearance of the nose. It is true that when properly performed an injectable filler or liquid rhinoplasty is safe and the filler material can be reversed or dissolved using an injection of hyaluronidase, and enzyme that will dissolve hyaluronic acid. However, to say that a liquid rhinoplasty is without risk is quite untrue. If the filler material is injected in the midline of the nose and is injected deeply into the tissues a liquid rhinoplasty is a relatively safe and reversible change in the nasal appearance. However, if the filler material is injected off the midline of the nose and inadvertently is placed within an artery or a vein of the nose this can result in occlusion or blocking of that blood vessel which can then result in death of this overlying skin of the nose. Additionally, there is a theoretic risk that if filler is injected into an artery or blood vessel near the eye some of this filler material could potentially enter a blood vessel of the eye resulting in a loss or change in vision.
In my opinion, liquid rhinoplasty is reserved for those patients who: 1. do not have breathing problems or obstructions 2. Who only desire a relatively minor change in the external appearance of the nose or 3. For those people who simply do not want to undergo a nasal surgery under general anesthesia and desire only a minor change in the shape of the nose for a relatively short period of time. The average cost of a liquid rhinoplasty ranges from $600-$1200 and a traditional rhinoplasty can range $5,000-$7,500 depending on the individual needs of the patient.
If you have any further questions about liquid rhinoplasty or want to find out if you are a candidate for this procedure feel free to contact Dr. Eugene Alford, a board-certified Plastic Surgeon at Alford Facial Plastic Surgery 713-532-3223. Dr. Alford and staff would be happy to answer any questions you may have.