What is liquid rhinoplasty? The non-surgical nose job popular on TikTok

We take a closer look at the social media-loved procedure that promises a temporary new nose

Liquid rhinoplasty has become one of the most-searched non-invasive surgeries on TikTok. The temporary treatment can last for up to 18 months. Getty Images
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There’s no denying that TikTok has become the go-to place for millennials and Gen Z to showcase and learn about beauty hacks and new treatments.

The latest trend proving popular on the social media platform is liquid rhinoplasty, better known as nose fillers. The temporary treatment, which can last for up to 18 months, has been gaining traction as a low-cost non-surgical alternative to traditional rhinoplasty.

Plastic surgery is one of the most-viewed hashtags on the video-sharing site, with #nosejob videos consistently in the top five, racking up billions of views. The hashtag #liquidrhinopasty has exploded over the past few months as TikTokers share before and after videos — viewed in the hundreds of millions and counting — of themselves getting injections to alter the shape of their nose. Some posts show surgeons creating “Tinkerbell noses”, the name used for an upturned or snub nose look.

But what are the risks of the non-surgical procedure?

What is a liquid rhinoplasty?

Nose fillers, according to the King’s College Hospital Dubai website, are “used in non-surgical rhinoplasty to straighten the appearance of the nose by reshaping it and increasing its volume. The procedure is used as an alternative to surgical rhinoplasty. Individuals who do not want a permanent change can opt for nose fillers.”

Liquid rhinoplasty is performed using syringes containing a filler, which is administered to reshape the nose, whether to smooth or plump out areas or disguise bumps. Using biodegradable hyaluronic acid to achieve the desired look, fillers can only add to the nose and will not take away cartilage or bone in the way a traditional rhinoplasty would.

“These fillers add volume, so they add more fullness to the nose,” says Dr Dany Kayle, founder of Dr Kayle Aesthetic Clinic. “This means this type of procedure can add volume to the tip to give you an upturned nose, or you can put the fillers in along the bridge to remove lumps and bumps. They can make small changes to your nose ... The effect is instant.”

What is the difference between liquid and traditional rhinoplasty?

The fillers used in a liquid rhinoplasty contain biodegradable hyaluronic acid to achieve the desired look. Diana Polekhina / Unsplash

Dr Tarek Bayazid, senior plastic surgeon at BodySmart Clinic Dubai, says the difference between liquid and traditional rhinoplasty is “immense”.

“Rhinoplasty allows me to correct functional issues such as breathing problems and bone deformities. These types of issues cannot be treated successfully, if at all, with filler treatments. We use nasal fillers to correct minor irregularities only.”

Kayle says: “Surgical rhinoplasty is able to change the shape and size of your nose in every possible way. Non-surgical rhinoplasty involves injecting dermal fillers that comprise hyaluronic acid, a substance made naturally by our bodies, into a specific area of the nose, in effect filling it and straightening the nose, but it can't, by any means, make the nose smaller.”

How long do nose fillers last?

Experts say nose fillers can last for a maximum of 18 months. However, depending on the type of filler used, some can be dissolved immediately if they haven’t achieved the desired effect. Bayazid says: “The lifespan of injectables always depends on the metabolism rate of the patient. If the metabolism rate is high, the filler will disappear quicker.”

What is the recovery time for nose fillers and what are the risks?

“Rhinoplasty is an invasive surgery that has a substantial recovery period due to significant bruising and swelling to the nose itself and the facial tissues around it,” says Bayazid. “On the other hand, fillers are much less invasive, with little to no downtime.”

As with all procedures, even non-invasive ones, liquid rhinoplasty carries some risks. “For instance, if the filler is incorrectly administered, you can risk it going inside the artery supplying the optic nerve leading to nerve damage or even blindness," says Kayle.

“By the same token, care should be taken when injecting over the tip area to avoid the risk of filler material going into the arteries there, blocking them and causing skin necrosis.”

Bayazid's advice is to always look for a certified plastic surgeon “because they know the vascular anatomy of the face in general, and the nose in particular”.

Updated: April 21, 2022, 9:08 AM