The Nonsurgical Nose Job May Be Too Good to Be True

Joanna Della-Ragione walked out of Dr. Ourian’s office with a different nose in minutes. (Photo: Dr. Simon Ourian)

The latest fad in cosmetic procedures is the nonsurgical nose job, where a new nose is miraculously sculpted in 15 minutes or less. The transformation happens with injections of hyaluronic acid fillers, and there’s virtually no pain or recovery time. The procedure helps people build up nasal bridges and change the shape of nostrils, but is not an option for people who want to correct dorsal bumps or large noses. With no downtime, it’s being marketed as an easy, pain-free alternative to a nose job, but is it really that simple or that safe?

Recently, Kylie Jenner’s lip doc, plastic surgeon Dr. Simon Ourian, performed the procedure on writer Joanna Della-Ragione, who wanted to change the slope of her nose subtly but didn’t want to go under the knife. In a matter of minutes – but after thousands of dollars of injections – Della-Ragione’s nose was transformed.

One woman transformed her nose using only fillers. (Photo: Joanna Della-Ragione)

If this all sounds too good to be true, it may be. The procedure has been around for years, but in the past was rarely used to fully transform a nose the way traditional rhinoplasty would. Instead, it has been used to fill very minor dents or flaws in noses that have already been operated on. According to Michigan-based plastric surgeon Dr. Anthony Youn, this is for a reason. “I am hesitant to perform the procedure because the nose has a higher risk of complications from filler injections than most other part of the face,” Dr. Youn tells Yahoo Beauty. “The most dreaded complication is intravascular injection of a filler into a blood vessel. This is when the filler is inadvertently injected into a blood vessel of the nose, causing the blood supply to the nose to be cut off. If this isn’t reversed, then the skin of the nose can literally turn black and die, leaving the person horribly disfigured.” Dr. Youn says that this complication is extremely rare but is irreversible. A way to prevent the issue is to ensure that only a board-certified doctor works on you using nonpermanent fillers. These can be dissolved with another injection, but these tend to last only 6 to 12 months. While more permanent fillers last around two years, they will leave the patient out of luck if an injection is improperly placed.

According to Dr. William B. Rosenblatt, a top NYC cosmetic surgeon, the impermanence of the nonsurgical nose job is both the best and the worst thing about the procedure. He sites overinjection as a common complication, but admits that if it looks bad, the advantage is that it won’t last. “Most of the time the complication is you put too much in and you end up with a deformity. It doesn’t correct it, it makes it look worse,” Dr. Rosenblatt told Yahoo Beauty. “The only good thing about most of these fillers is they go away eventually.” Another complication is that fillers may dissolve away unevenly in different areas of the nose, so maintaining your new nose can prove to be expensive. “You can spend anywhere from 600 to 1,000 dollars for a filler. And then they go away, so you would then have to repeat it,” says Dr. Rosenblatt. “People feel that fillers last longer in the nose than they do in other places. But … for argument’s sake, say it costs 1,000 bucks. Well, in seven years you’ve paid for a nose job.”

Cost is an appealing factor for candidates for the nonsurgical nose job, but Dr. Rosenblatt warns that you’re not getting your money’s worth with the procedure. “If you want to overpay for something, that’s your prerogative,” he says. “There are only a few doctors who can do good nose jobs … anybody can put in filler, and 99 percent of the people doing it can’t do a nose job. So you have thousands of dermatologists out there putting in filler. So now there’s another area that they’re putting in filler and they’re delighted to do it, it’s money in their pocket.”

Dr. Youn and Dr. Rosenblatt almost always recommend a traditional rhinoplasty over a nonsurgical nose job. If you’re a candidate for the procedure, the doctors say they would instead recommend a procedure where they would take cartilage from different parts of your nose to fill a dent they would otherwise fill with injectables. This way, the change is permanent and doesn’t introduce foreign objects into the body, so it feels like your real nose. While it’s not a common complaint, the doctors say that a nonsurgical nose job can feel soft, rather than bony. Any cosmetic procedure has negative side effects, but these two top doctors think this is one treatment worth avoiding.

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