At the age of 16, Chloe was already dreaming of a rhinoplasty because she was tired of feeling ugly after years of dealing with unkind comments about her flat and broad Asian nose. Now 25, she has decided it is time to explore procedures that will enhance the appearance of her nose.
Chloe, 25, before and after her rhinoplasty.
Read more: Beauty Diary of Chloe’s Nose Job
Enter the lunchtime nose job, something we’ve blogged about quite extensively recently. Those who are nervous about going under the knife have turned to 30 minute nose jobs which can lift the nose bridge, smoothen out ugly nose humps and even subtly refine the nose tip. Nose fillers has been the reliable go-to for men and women today who seek to perfect the often imperfect Asian nose, with any cosmetic mishaps easily dissolved with a quick injection of hyaluronidase which melts away the filler immediately.
Pictorial depiction of nose filler injections.
Hyaluronic acid fillers are easily reversible with hyaluronidase,
which dissolves the fillers immediately.
Even more recently, nose thread lifts have garnered an impressive following, promising height and definition like nose fillers, but only better. The rising popularity of this procedure here can perhaps be attributed to the Asian mindset of beauty defaulting to Western standards. Nose thread lifts punch above their weight because it gives a lifted but more slender nose bridge compared to nose fillers, and it can even lift and refine the nose tip, sans scalpel. Given the popularity of these “lunchtime rhinoplasties”, more clinics have jumped on the bandwagon, with some promising sky high claims of unrealistic downtimes and results.
Pictorial depiction of a nose thread lift.
4-6 threads are usually inserted via the nose tip along the nose bridge,
and sometimes down the collumellar (between the nostrils) for a nose lift effect.
So part of the challenge of getting a lunchtime nose job is navigating through potential minefields and finding a reputable clinic or doctor who can lay out the pros and cons of each procedure, so that patients can make up their own minds and decide what is best for them.
In this article, we’ve put together some facts about nose thread lifts to get our readers started in their hunt for the safe and perfect lunchtime nose job.
Resetting Your Expectations
If for some reason, you have been led to believe that these fuss-free lunchtime nose jobs are without risks of complications, you couldn’t be more wrong. Blindness and complications such as skin necrosis due to accidental intravascular filler injections has always been the single worst fear in nose filler injections, even in the most experienced hands. Cosmetic variations in nose filler injections are also common, since migration and lateral spread in the asian nose is not uncommonly seen. Overzealous correction also give the asian nose an unnatural “avatar-ish” appearance.
A Na’vi woman in the movie “Avatar”, showing the “Avatar Nose”,
which describes overzealous correction of the nose bridge with nose fillers.
Given the significant potential pitfalls of nose fillers, nose thread lifts are becoming extremely popular, where nose PDO (polydioxanone) threads are inserted just above the nasal bone, allowing the threads to function like an implant, yet minimizing the trauma of insertion via its no-knife, blunt cannula or sharp needle technique. If inserted correctly, threads do not migrate and the effect is a slender, seamless lift, mimicking bone. Since the material does not absorb water (unlike fillers), and doesn’t require time to set, what you see is what you get: there is little risk of having to correct minor imperfections and even lesser risks of overcorrection. Most importantly, this technique has virtually no risk of vascular complications and blindness.
But if the above or other literature elsewhere has had you duped into thinking nose thread lifts are completely safe, it is in no way perfect. Firstly, bruising and swelling can occur after thread insertion, but bruises resolve relatively quickly and post-procedural tape compression helps with reducing swelling. Secondly, the insertion technique is important, as deviations, kinks and dimpling have happened in less experienced hands. Thirdly, problems such as correction of a dorsal hump still needs to be negotiated with fillers, as it is technically challenging to glide the rigid cannula or needle over a hump. Lastly and most importantly, nose threads are impossible to remove non-surgically because of the screw cog design which act like hundreds of mini hooks to effect the nose lift, so any imperfections will have to be waited out till the nose threads are bio-degraded naturally, or via surgery, for example, during a rhinoplasty.
Nose Thread Lifts are Not Better Than Rhinoplasties
Some clinics advertise nose thread lifts as better than the actual rhinoplasty. To me, that sounds like a dangerous brag. Anything that potentially needs correction with a rhinoplasty can’t be better than it.
Remnants of nose threads that were removed
surgically during rhinoplasty at The Sloane Clinic.
This patient had dimpling at the nose tip caused
by incorrect insertion of nose threads at another clinic.
It is important to be realistic about what these procedures can and cannot do. Rhinoplasty is still the gold standard in nose augmentation and under good hands, risks are low, and the downtime is only one week. The results are permanent, unlike nose thread lifts and fillers. For noses that need a lot of work, the potential for a satisfactory correction is significantly lower with most temporary options. For example, lifting the nose bridge with nose fillers and nose threads give the illusion of a more defined nose bridge, but does not actually correct the wide-nose problem, likewise with the familiar fleshy or bulbous asian nose tip. In fact, poorly inserted threads can potentially widen the already large nose tip.
Nose Fillers Are Not Inferior to Threads
Even though blindness is a scarce but known risk, some doctors are still choosing nose fillers over nose thread lifts in some scenarios. Firstly, masking the dorsal hump is best done by placing filler directly into the defect, giving the final appearance of a smooth and seamless nose bridge.
Correction of a “bump” on the nose, also known
as the dorsal hump, before and after nose fillers.
A permanent solution would be a rhinoplasty.
However, overcorrection of a dorsal hump may result in a “greek nose”, a term used to describe a very straight and high nose bridge, prized amongst Caucasians but not as flattering or natural-looking for some Asian groups such as the Chinese. Worse, as with all fillers, migration may still occur long after the filler has set, exaggerating the hump in turn.
Overcorrection of the dorsal hump may result in the greek
or roman nose, characterized by a very straight and high nose bridge,
which is less flattering for certain Asian groups, such as the Chinese.
Thankfully, hyaluronic acid fillers are easily reversible and they can be dissolved with a simple injection of hyaluronidase, an enzyme that effectively breaks down the filler, so there is no risk of having to live with a bumpy or deviated nose bridge because of the procedure. It may seem counter-intuitive but some patients also prefer hyaluronic acid fillers because of its reversibility, compared to nose threads.
Now that we have broken down the risks and benefits of various nose augmentation options, regardless of which, it is important to discuss your options with a doctor you can trust, or go to a clinic which can offer any of the temporary or permanent nose job options. Going with the latter theoretically eliminates bias towards limited treatments offered. For example, while most aesthetic clinics offer nose fillers, some may offer both fillers and nose thread lifts, but only a handful offer rhinoplasties along with nose fillers and thread lifts under one roof. One example is The Sloane Clinic, which has a team of medical aesthetic doctors trained in both fillers and thread lifts, and a consultant plastics surgeon who does the rhinoplasties. Such a clinic would perhaps be most likely to give the least prejudiced advice regarding the best nose augmentation treatment for you.