What is Liquid Rhinoplasty: Everything You Need To Know

woman receiving hyaluronic acid injection in nose


The way we look plays a huge factor in the daily quality of our lives. Not only can your physical appearance greatly impact your self-confidence, but it can further influence how you talk to others and how they perceive you. That’s why it’s becoming increasingly popular among Americans to seek out cosmetic procedures to tinker with their body in hopes of improving their appearance. One of those procedures is the liquid rhinoplasty. Also referred to as a nonsurgical rhinoplasty, this plastic surgery procedure works to alter the shape of your nose via non-invasive methods, i.e using a dermal filler injection.While this non-invasive alternative seems ideal for many people, there is still a lot to know about liquid rhinoplasty. We’re here to help. In this article, we’re going to go through everything you need to know about rhinoplasty: the different options, how they work, their pros and cons, the recovery process, and much more. Stick around!


Rhinoplasty is a surgical procedure that looks to change the shape of the nose, writes the Mayo Clinic. This process is commonly known as a nose job and is capable of providing a variety of aesthetic and health benefits to its recipient.

WebMD writes that some of the aesthetic benefits are:

  • Removing a hump on the nose

  • Straightening the bridge

  • Reshaping the nose's tip

  • Increasing or decreasing the size of the nostrils

  • Making the nose bigger or smaller

While some of the health benefits are:

  • Correcting the nose after an injury

  • Opening breathing passages

Surgical or Traditional Rhinoplasty

There are two broad categories of rhinoplasty procedures: surgical and nonsurgical. While the surgical options include three different types of procedures — open, closed, and secondary — there is only one nonsurgical choice: liquid rhinoplasty. Let’s first go through each surgical choice and see what it entails.

photo comparison of woman and surgical lines on her face

Open Rhinoplasty

This variant of a surgical nose job is a procedure in which the incision used to access the structures of the nose gives your doctor broad visibility of the underlying cartilage and bone. Generally, a small incision is made near the underside of the nose that is used to connect to two other incisions made within both nostrils; these incisions are how your surgeon gains access to the key parts of your nose: by lifting the skin up and off the structure.

An advantage of the open rhinoplasty is that it gives your operating surgeon a more detailed look at your nose, allowing him to perform more accurate work with “more precision,” says Dr. Steven J. Pearlman. Ultimately, this surgical procedure yields more aesthetically pleasing results. However, one disadvantage of this choice is that it “results in a scar because of the trans-columellar incision,” according to Dr. Rahban, a cosmetic surgeon based in Los Angeles.

The full recovery time for an open rhinoplasty can last anywhere between 12 and 18 months. Don’t let this worry you! The acute healing phase only lasts around two to three weeks — during this time, there will be significant swelling, bruising, and pain. You’ll be able to resume most, if not all your daily activities within the first month.

Closed Rhinoplasty

The next surgical option for getting a rhinoplasty is the closed variation. The key difference between open and closed rhinoplasty are that the former involves a third incision on the outside of the nose, while the latter only “uses incisions inside the nostrils,” says Healthline. This means that there is little to no visible scarring left after the procedure; it also means that there is a “reduced recovery time.”

While the lack of scarring and reduced recovery time are both benefits of this procedure, it does also come with disadvantages. Primarily, your surgeon will have very “limited visibility and surgical access” to your nasal structure, says the Plastic Surgery Center of Atlanta. That means it’s more difficult to perform drastic alterations in the closed rhinoplasty, and thus it is recommended for individuals who are only looking for simple, minor nose reshaping.

The total recovery timeline for a closed rhinoplasty can last up to 6 weeks, writes AEDIT. Most patients will see a significant reduction in acute symptoms — such as swelling and bruising — within a few days to a week.

Revision Rhinoplasty

The final rhinoplasty surgical procedure is actually used as an optional, supplemental procedure after someone has received an initial rhinoplasty. According to Richard Chafoo, M.D, the revision or secondary rhinoplasty primarily occurs when patients are “unhappy with their prior surgery.” It follows a similar process as the open and closed rhinoplasty, as it can be done with incisions only inside the nose as well as with a third incision outside.

The route that your surgeon takes is largely based on what he deems will yield the most success. However, AEDIT writes that revision rhinoplasties should always be done with an open approach to “more accurately view and assess the nasal structures.” AEDIT is a database of medical information regarding aesthetic procedures compiled and curated by experts in the field.

The recovery time for this procedure depends on which route your surgeon takes — open or closed. Refer to those sections to learn their respective recovery times.


woman laying down with surgical lines drawn on her face

Nonsurgical Rhinoplasty

Now let’s move on to the focal point of this article: nonsurgical or liquid rhinoplasty. Liquid rhinoplasty is the only noninvasive option for getting a nose job. It involves using an injectable filler — usually a hyaluronic acid filler — to help alter the shape of your nose. The injection of the filler can “fill a depression” and help change the “shape and size of [your] nose” while concealing defects. One major nuance associated with liquid rhinoplasty is that its results are not permanent; Healthline writes that they typically last for “6 months up to 2 years,” depending on a variety of variables in your procedure.

So let’s consider who the liquid rhinoplasty procedure is ideal for. In a separate article, Healthline states that this cosmetic surgery is perfect for those who are “looking to smooth out bumps in their nose” or make it appear less angular. Liquid rhinoplasty is also a good option for anyone who isn’t ready for a permanent solution, or perhaps is worried about the risks and recovery time involved in a traditional rhinoplasty.

Targeted Areas

Now let’s weigh the possible targeted changes you can make with a liquid rhinoplasty

  • smooth out small bumps in your nose

  • make the tip of your nose more prominent

  • add volume to your nose

  • lift the tip of your nose

Each of these changes is only possible because it involves adding mass or volume to offset or entirely eliminate an undesired feature. That means you can’t remove mass or volume from your nose using liquid rhinoplasty. Some changes you cannot make are:

  • Reduce the size of your nose

  • Smooth out prominent bumps on your nose


photos of woman before and after rhinoplasty

Risks and Side Effects

Like any cosmetic procedure, liquid rhinoplasty comes with its own set of risks and side effects. However, these are far less obtrusive and painful than surgical rhinoplasty. Let’s go through the side effects of liquid rhinoplasty.

First, the primary side effect caused by liquid rhinoplasty is a little redness and sensitivity in the area of the injection for a few days following the procedure. Other possible side effects include bruising at the site of the injection, swelling, filler migration, and even nausea.

While those are the side effects of a liquid rhinoplasty, what about the risks? Before we get into them, it’s important to note that they are very uncommon. In a 2019 study of 150 people who received liquid rhinoplasty only 1.82% reported a complication.


happy woman with a bandaged nose

With that in mind, one major risk of a liquid rhinoplasty is complications that arise if the filler is injected into a blood vessel. This can damage the vessel and disrupt the blood supple to the skin around your nose; this may result in necrosis— that area of skin dying. You would likely need additional procedures to manage that complication. In an even worse case, the hyaluronic acid filler could get into a blood vessel that supplies blood to your eyes, causing vascular occlusion. This would result in blindness or reduced vision.

Dr. Emily MacGregor, founder of the STORY clinic, told Refinery29 that the nose has many blood vessels that connect to vital areas of the body, which makes liquid rhinoplasty a technically difficult procedure. She adds that the margin of error is only “about a millimeter” in terms of how deep and exactly where the filler can safely be injected.

Preparing For Treatment

Once you’ve decided that liquid rhinoplasty is the right procedure for you, it comes time to begin preparing for your treatment. While your facial plastic surgeon will certainly provide a detailed guide on how to get ready for the process, here are a few broad guidelines you should follow.

While it is not required to fast before liquid rhinoplasty, your surgeon may ask you to avoid caffeine and high-sodium/sugary foods during the days prior to your appointment; this is in efforts to minimize swelling after the procedure.photo of various types of medications

If you take any non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or any other medication or product that works to thin your blood, your doctor will likely ask that you stop taking them a week prior to your procedure. It’s wise to inform your treatment team about all the medications you take — prescriptions, OTC medicines, herbal products, dietary supplements, vitamins, and even recreational drugs.

Take note of your vitamin K levels to reduce the risk of bruising post-treatment. Eat plenty of green, leafy vegetables to elevate your vitamin K levels in the weeks before your procedure.

Drink plenty of water and eat a balanced meal the morning of your appointment. Try not to overeat, as this can lead to feelings of nausea during or after the appointment. Make sure your meal includes something with starch and protein.


What’s The Procedure Like?

Now it’s time for your liquid rhinoplasty. What should you expect?

Well, it will almost certainly start with you, the patient, either sitting or lying down. Your surgeon or a member of their team will then likely clean your nose with a solution made up of 70% alcohol. This is when ice, a numbing cream, or possibly even a local or topical anesthetic will be applied to minimize the discomfort you experience during the injection. Now the actual cosmetic portion of the procedure can begin. Your surgeon will carefully and strategically start injecting small amounts of hyaluronic acid into your nose — adding too much can negatively impact results. The filler is then smoothed out — not massaged — to prevent a build up of pressure. The whole procedure can take as little as 15 minutes, but also as long as 45 minutes because it takes time for the anesthetic to take effect.


woman receiving hyaluronic acid injection in nose


Once your liquid rhinoplasty is complete, you’re likely going to see pain, swelling, and redness in the area of the injection. After a few hours, however, the injection will start to settle and the redness will subside. This is when you’ll be able to better see your results. Consider bringing an ice pack to your appointment to use after, but make sure to check with your doctor if this is okay.

After a week or two, redness and bruising should completely subside. The results of your liquid rhinoplasty will be fully visible by now. It is advised that you avoid pressure on the injected area in the weeks after your appointment. You may even be instructed to gently massage that area, too.

Most people who swear by liquid rhinoplasty love it because they have little to no downtime. You can be back at work and resuming your normal daily activities the same day as your appointment.

Pros and Cons of Nonsurgical Rhinoplasty

Let’s recap some of the pros and cons of getting liquid rhinoplasty.


  • You avoid going under general anesthesia.

  • Quick recovery timeline compared to traditional rhinoplasty.

  • Results aren’t permanent, so if you’re unhappy with the results you know they’ll go away.

  • The cost of nonsurgical rhinoplasty is much lower than its counterparts.


  • You can’t really achieve dramatic, drastic changes to your facial appearance.

  • There still are side effect, i.e bruising and swelling.

  • There’s a slight possibility a misplaced needle could cause necrosis (skin death) or retinal vascular occlusion (blindness).

  • This is quite a new procedure, pioneered by Dr. Rivkin in 2004; as such, the long-term side effects are not well studied yet.

Finding The Right Surgeon

A huge component of getting a successful and satisfying liquid rhinoplasty is finding the right surgeon for you. That’s why we recommend you go with a board-certified surgeon who specializes in rhinoplasty to perform your procedure.

The reason you should seek out a board-certified surgeon is because, not only do they have years and years of experience in this field, but they also have a keen appreciation for the ideal nasal contour as well as an intricate understanding of the underlying nasal anatomy. You may have to meet with several different surgeons before finding the right one to perform a liquid rhinoplasty for you. Here are some questions you should ask them to help streamline this process:

  • Are you board-certified?

  • What experience do you have performing liquid rhinoplasties?

  • How many non surgical rhinoplasties do you perform each year?

  • May I look at before and after photos of a few of your clients who received this treatment?

  • What will be the total cost of this procedure?


These questions will help you narrow down the perfect surgeon that fits your needs. We highly recommend using this tool from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons to find capable surgeons in your area.

photo of smiling surgeon in front of hospital

Wrapping Up

Our physical appearance holds much power over the quality of our lives. Not only does it steer your own self-image and self-esteem, but it further impacts how others perceive you and how they feel towards you. That’s why it’s becoming so popular for both men and women to seek out cosmetic procedures to optimize their aesthetic appearance. More power to you! As we’ve been discussing, one of those procedures is a liquid rhinoplasty — the only nonsurgical nose job that exists today.

Naturally, just like most cosmetic endeavors, this noninvasive procedure comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. While it won’t last forever, that can be a great thing if you aren’t happy with the results. Conversely, if you are pleased with the results, it's unfortunate that you’ll have to get it done again once the effects fade. While there is a small chance of major complications with liquid rhinoplasty, such as skin death and retinal blindness, that chance is negligibly small. It is still, however, and important factor to consider. Another huge advantage of the nonsurgical, liquid rhinoplasty is that it is much more affordable than its traditional counterparts; while the former only costs between $600 and $1,500, the latter can run you up to $5,400. It’s important to consider all the factors before choosing a procedure for you, and it’s especially wise to discuss your needs with your surgeon. Best of luck!

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