Non-surgical nose jobs: What they are, how they work and if you should get one.

liquid nose job

Guys, let’s have an honest and open conversation about nose jobs.

Not the surgical ones that require a trip to hospital, involve lots of bandages and leave you looking like you’ve come from a bar fight.

Specifically, we’re talking about liquid nose jobs.

Yes, the words ‘liquid’ and ‘nose job’ together sound equal parts intriguing and terrifying, but this non-invasive, non-surgical procedure is fast becoming one of the most requested cosmetic treatments in Australia.

There’s a lot to like about the idea of a liquid nose job – quick, pain-free, almost zero recovery time and a less expensive price tag than traditional rhinoplasty.

But there are also a few important factors to consider before paying for needles full of stuff to be poked into your face.

How long will it take? Will there be side effects? Is it safe? And most importantly, how will it look?

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We picked Rhinoplasty Sydney’s Dr William Mooney‘s nose brain to bring you absolutely everything you need to know about liquid nose jobs. No BS or judgement – just the practical, medical and financial information you need to know if you’re considering getting work done on your nose.

Having performed three liquid nose jobs the morning we spoke to him, as well as 15 years’ worth of procedures, we can assure you he knows his stuff.

What is a liquid nose job?

Liquid nose job, non-surgical nose job and injectable nose job are all different names for the same thing – injectable rhinoplasty.

“Injectable rhinoplasty is a technique of using fillers to modify and improve the contour or shape of the nose,” Dr Mooney told Mamamia.

“It’s a treatment for people who want to change the shape of their nose, but don’t want to do the full rhinoplasty. This could be for a number of reasons – medical, financial, time constraints. Basically, it’s a fantastic tool for patients who don’t want surgery but still want to improve the contour of their nose.”

liquid nose job before and after
liquid nose job before and after
Liquid nose job 'before' and 'after' shots. Images: Supplied/Rhinoplasty Sydney.

The difference between a nose job and a liquid nose job

No, not all nose jobs are created equal. Which you choose depends on your primary concern.

Surgical nose jobs, or rhinoplasty, is an operation that for many is purely functional, Dr Mooney explained.

"For some, rhinoplasty is about fixing breathing problems - can't breath during exercise, snoring and sleep apnea. For others, it's purely cosmetic to fix a bump on your nose. More often, patients choose this option because their concerns sit somewhere in between."

"What we do with every patient is, we take a long time to chat to them about their history, their problems, their medical problems and functional problems (breathing, snoring, hay fever, allergies, sinus issues). If you've got problems with the inside of your nose, a nose job is certainly the best option."

Traditional rhinoplasty procedures can take up to two hours under a general anaesthetic and involves straightening and reshaping the nose by correcting the bones and the cartilage. The recovery time is usually two to three weeks depending on the individual.

As for liquid nose jobs, Dr Mooney said patients generally opt for this treatment if they're concerned about cosmetic aspects of their nose that aren't severe enough to warrant formal surgery.

"In some patients, there's a little bit wrong with their nose, it's something that annoys them that might play on their confidence or serve as a constant reminder of trauma they've been though, such as a car accident or domestic violence."

"If it's just a little cosmetic change they'd like to make, in most cases injectable rhinoplasty is the way to go. Often, time constraints, other medical problems and financial constraints also determine the choice between surgical and non surgical."

liquid nose job before and after
liquid nose job before and after
Liquid nose job 'before' and 'after' shots. Images: Supplied/Rhinoplasty Sydney.

Different types of non surgical nose jobs?

Dr Mooney explained there are two types of non surgical nose jobs you can get - temporary or permanent.

The temporary filler is hyaluronic acid, which is essentially a synthetic collagen similar to the product used in lips, cheeks and fillers in the face. It's also found in popular skin serums and oils because of its skin-plumping, hydrating effects.

Dr Mooney said the form of hyaluronic acid used in temporary injectable rhinoplasty is slightly different because a) injectable rhinoplasty should ideally last longer than facial fillers and b) the skin on your nose is thinner than elsewhere on your face, therefore there's more chance of irregularities forming.

Then there's the permanent option, which Dr Mooney stressed is actually that - permanent.

"The permanent filler is called polyacrylamide - the product has tiny microspheres of a synthetic, silicone sort of product. It's the same thing that artificial heart valves, prosthetic hips and some breast implants are made from."

"It's something that's tolerated in the human body, something that has been for decades and enjoys a low side effect profile. The key is going to a specialist and using a sterile technique and applying it very carefully."

How long does a non surgical nose job treatment take?

Liquid nose jobs are a quick and relatively painless procedure which generally take around 30 to 45 minutes. So yes, you could get it done in your lunch break, but not before spending a decent amount of time discussing the procedure before hand.

"There's a whole lot more time and thought that goes into the process before the actual procedure," Dr Mooney said.

In other words, you can't walk into a reputable clinic at lunch time and make it back to the office in time for your next meeting.

"The first consultation takes around an hour to an hour and a half. After we discuss the patient's medical history and concerns, we take photos and 3D imaging to show patients what they'd look like with an injectable rhinoplasty and a formal nose job."

"Then we do a 'try before you buy treatment' so we can show patients what their nose would look like with an injectable rhinoplasty. We use saline - the same stuff you have in hospital in an IV drip, it's completely safe and lasts for about 10 minutes - and we inject under the skin so patients can see, touch and feel the result, and take selfies."

At this stage, Dr Mooney sends his patients home to think the decision over and chat with family and friends. This is also because of a built-in insurance policy in the saline treatment - "we're not able to do the saline and the injectable treatment in the same day as it takes around 24 hours for the saline to leave your system so it gives the patient a cooling off period."

The next step is choosing the injectable (i.e. temporary or permanent).

Once those decisions are finalised and the patient is happy to proceed, things move quite quickly.

"Patients typically know what they're in for because the treatment is very similar to the saline treatment they would've already experienced," Dr Mooney said.

"We use ice for anaesthesia - the filler has local anaesthetic in it so one you start it's really not a painful procedure at all. Ice is usually enough, when you get down to the tip of the nose it can be a little ouchy but it's a relatively tolerated procedure.

"Then we send the patient away and they come back a few weeks later. Patients who opt for the permanent option are prescribed antibiotics at the same time because it is a liquid implant and it's very important to avoid infection."

liquid nose job before and after
liquid nose job
Liquid nose job 'before' and 'after' shots. Images: Supplied/Rhinoplasty Sydney.

Can you go back to work after a non surgical nose job?

Possibly the most attractive thing about the liquid nose job is the recovery time. That's because there is none.

That said, Dr Mooney tends to shy away from the 'lunchtime face lift' or 'lunchtime nose job' terminology because it's not a walk-in walk-out procedure.

"[That terminology] implies we hurry, when we don't," he explained.

"Yes, it's an instantaneous procedure and patients walk out the door with a brand new nose and go straight back to work, but all the initial consultations take time. Generally, patients take up to a year to settle into their decision to undergo the procedure."

How long do non surgical nose jobs last?

How long your non surgical nose job will last depends on which filler you choose and how your body metabolises it.

"Different people seem to chew through their filler at different rates. Smokers, gym junkies and high-stressed individuals seem to have a higher metabolic rate and metabolise the filler a bit faster," Dr Mooney explained.

"I'd warn those patients that they might not get as much longevity out of the filler, but as long as they have realistic outcomes and expectations they're generally happy."

If you opt for temporary injectable rhinoplasty, Dr Mooney expects the results to last about 12 months. The shortest he's ever seen the temporary liquid nose job last is six months, and the longest, over two years.

Up to 90 per cent of patients who choose a permanent filler are satisfied with their implants at the five year mark. Dr Mooney says these can last between five to 10 years, at which point the patient will need to decide whether to do nothing, top up their filler or undergo a formal surgical nose job.

Are there any side effects or risks?

Injectable rhinoplasty side effects are minimal, but the main two to be concerned about are bruising and infection.

Some individuals simply bruise easily and might experience some slight bruising around the under eye area. Dr Mooney said the larger concern is infection, which can only be avoided by going to a reputable surgeon for this procedure.

"Only a surgeon should be performing this procedure. I have wonderful cosmetic nurses in my clinics but I'm the only one who performs the injectable rhinoplasty," he said.

"It's a very detailed procedure, down to the millimetre, and more importantly, there are a lot of large vessels and arteries that run over your face. It's important your practitioner knows how to avoid and deal with those things."

How much is a liquid nose job?

Liquid nose jobs are a heck of a lot cheaper than formal surgical nose jobs. They'll still cost you though.

Depending on the volume of filer you use, a temporary injectable nose job costs between $1000 and $1500, and $2000 to $3000 for permanent filler.

Surgical rhinoplasty can cost between $6000 and $15,000.

Are liquid nose jobs right for everyone?

Deciding to get any sort of cosmetic procedure requires a lot of thought and research. Undergoing a liquid nose job is a great option for many people, but it's not right for everyone.

"If you've got a big bump on your nose, you can camouflage it with filler, but you can't make it go away. Liquid nose jobs are good for crooked noses and flat noses, but you can't make a big nose smaller. It's not for everybody," Dr Mooney said.

"We never treat a patient as 'just a nose', we take everything from their lifestyle to medical history into account before making any decisions."

This article should not replace personalised, professional medical advice. Please seek advice from your GP and specialist for more information.

You can find out more about Dr Mooney and injectable rhinoplasty on his website Rhinoplasty Sydney.

Have you ever genuinely considered cosmetic surgery? Have you ever tried fillers, and what did you think?

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