Let’s Break Down the Difference Between Non-Surgical vs Surgical Rhinoplasty


One of the primary reasons we hear from patients is that they are dissatisfied with the appearance of their noses. In some cases, patients wish their nose could be a little smaller, more proportional with the rest of their face. In other instances, the goal is to change the shape of the nose, eliminating unwanted bumps or contours.

For patients who are dissatisfied with their noses, one possible solution is to get a “nose job,” or as it’s more formally known rhinoplasty. Most of our patients are at least somewhat familiar with the concept of the nose job, but here’s something you might not know: You can have rhinoplasty performed either surgically or non-surgically.

Indeed, while surgical nose job procedures have been popular for decades, more and more patients ask us about less invasive, less time-intensive options. So what’s the difference between non-surgical vs surgical rhinoplasty? Let’s break it down.

What is Surgical Rhinoplasty?

Let’s start with a recap of the surgical rhinoplasty process.

Surgical rhinoplasty is a procedure designed to change the appearance of the nose, or in some cases to improve its functionality. (For example, rhinoplasty can occasionally be a remedy for folks who have trouble breathing.)

When it comes to aesthetic rhinoplasty, the goal is typically to enhance facial harmony and to bring the nose into proportion with the rest of the face.

The specifics of a surgical rhinoplasty procedure can change from patient to patient, depending on the individual needs and goals. A few of the things your surgeon can do via surgical rhinoplasty include:

  • Change the size of the nose to achieve greater facial balance.
  • Change the width of the nasal bridge or reposition the nostrils.
  • Improve the nose profile, especially if the nose has a bulbous ridge.
  • Create better nasal symmetry.
  • Correct a nose that is drooping, hooked, upturned, etc.

Note that, because this type of rhinoplasty is a surgical procedure, it does require the use of anesthesia and is accompanied by some post-op downtime. We’ll get back to that in a moment.

Rhinoplasty Patient Results

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What is Non-Surgical Rhinoplasty?

In considering non-surgical vs surgical rhinoplasty, many patients may not realize that they even have a choice. Non-surgical rhinoplasty is not quite as common, yet it is increasing in popularity, especially among those who wish to change the appearance of their nose without going under the knife.

Non-surgical rhinoplasty is also known as liquid rhinoplasty, as it involves the surgeon injecting fillers into the patient’s nose to improve the contours and to reshape it. Liquid rhinoplasty temporarily addresses issues such as asymmetry, a drooping nasal tip, or a small bump.

Liquid rhinoplasty uses the same kinds of fillers that are used in cheeks or in lip injectables. Over the past five years or so, liquid rhinoplasty has risen in prominence as a safe, effective, non-invasive alternative to the traditional rhinoplasty option.

Non-Surgical Patient Results

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Non-Surgical vs Surgical Rhinoplasty: Weighing the Pros and Cons

As you seek to make a decision between non-surgical vs surgical rhinoplasty, it may be helpful to run through some basic pros and cons.

There are a number of reasons why many patients still choose surgical rhinoplasty. The results are more permanent, and your surgeon can make more significant changes with a scalpel than with injectables. For those who want more lasting and substantive changes to the appearance of their nose, surgical rhinoplasty may still be the way to go.

Then again, many patients would prefer something that does not require surgery, nor any post-surgical downtime. For these patients, non-surgical rhinoplasty comes with a number of benefits.

The Pros of Non-Surgical Rhinoplasty

Some of the main advantages to liquid rhinoplasty include:

  • Liquid rhinoplasty can be performed in as little as 15 minutes. By contrast, surgical rhinoplasty may take anywhere from one to four hours.
  • There is no recovery time required. In fact, some patients get liquid rhinoplasty and return to work the very same day.
  • The results are immediate. And, because you are awake during the procedure, you can actually hold the mirror and provide some feedback to your provider.
  • If you get non-surgical rhinoplasty and do not like it, the results can usually be reversed fairly quickly and easily.

These are some significant reasons to consider liquid rhinoplasty, but be aware that there are some drawbacks, as well.

The Cons of Non-Surgical Rhinoplasty

  • One of the most substantial drawbacks is that the results of liquid rhinoplasty are temporary. So, if you like the results and wish to maintain them, you will need to return for some maintenance injections.
  • There may be serious complications reported as a result of liquid rhinoplasty. However, the risk is very minimal if you entrust your procedure to a trained and experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon.

Are You a Good Candidate for Rhinoplasty?

The best way to determine your eligibility for rhinoplasty, or to find out which of these two procedures is right for you, is to join us at Charlotte Plastic Surgery for a one-on-one consultation. During this appointment, your provider will be happy to answer any questions you have regarding non-surgical vs surgical rhinoplasty.

For any rhinoplasty candidate, we typically look for the following qualities:

  • Your facial growth is complete.
  • You are not a smoker.
  • You are in good physical health overall.
  • You do not have underlying illnesses that could impact healing.
  • You have spoken with a plastic surgeon and have realistic expectations.

If you meet these criteria, then we invite you to join us for more information about rhinoplasty…no matter which kind of rhinoplasty you might seek.

Learn More About Nose Jobs in Charlotte, NC

Even subtle changes to the nasal structure can have a remarkable impact on your facial aesthetics. If you are dissatisfied with your nose, we invite you to join us at Charlotte Plastic Surgery to explore your options.

To schedule an appointment with one of our providers, we welcome you to contact us at any time. We look forward to chatting with you further about surgical and non-surgical rhinoplasty options.