The Harley Medical Group

The Key Differences Between Surgical Rhinoplasty and Non-Surgical

Nose reshaping is an increasingly popular cosmetic procedure and with the introduction of non-surgical techniques, is becoming more and more accessible. Here we are taking a deep dive into the key differences between surgical and non-surgical nose reshaping procedures.

The difference between surgical and non-surgical rhinoplasty

Surgical Rhinoplasty involves making incisions in the skin and making changes to the shape of the bone and cartilage in the nose. Non-surgical rhinoplasty offers a less invasive alternative to surgical interventions for those searching for a way to correct, enhance or alter the shape and appearance of the nose. Dermal fillers are injected under the skin in specific locations to alter the proportions and contours of the nose to give the illusion of a thinner, straighter or more symmetrical appearance.

Non-surgical rhinoplasty vs surgical: The pros and cons

As with any aesthetic procedure, there are pros and cons that make the different options more suitable for some patients than others.

Non-surgical techniques provide solutions that are less costly, associated with fewer risks and require shorter recovery periods. Whereas surgical Rhinoplasty facilitates a more drastic, permanent change to the shape of the nose.

The nature of surgical Rhinoplasty means that it is associated with greater risk than non-surgical Rhinoplasty, especially when performed under general anaesthetic. A study published in The Aesthetic Surgery Journal found that the overall complication rate of surgical Rhinoplasty was 0.7%[1] and some of the risks include:

  • Infection – If the incision sites are not cared for and cleaned properly after surgery, the chance of infection is increased.
  • Breathing disturbance – Rhinoplasty which aims to reduce the overall size of the nose is associated with an increased risk of breathing disturbance.
  • Skin numbness – Usually a temporary side effect of invasive surgery, that commonly resolves during the recovery period.
  • Bleeding – As with any surgery, making incisions in the skin and soft tissues carries the risk of bleeding.

Non-surgical rhinoplasty is considered to be safe and complications are rare but there is a risk of swelling, bruising and redness around the injection sites. A safety review published in The Journal of Facial Plastic Surgery and Aesthetic Medicine found that serious events occur in just 0.2% of cases when administered by a Doctor[2].

Non-surgical vs surgical nose job: Who is suitable?

Surgical Rhinoplasty is most suitable for patients who are searching for a permanent solution to their cosmetic concerns and where more significant changes are required. Non-surgical rhinoplasty is a suitable alternative for many patients looking to make minor adjustments to the contours of the nose or smoothen small bumps and irregularities.

However, there are circumstances where it would not be possible to achieve a patient’s desired results with non-surgical Rhinoplasty. Some examples of when this might be the case include:

  • Excessive rotation of the tip of the nose
  • A large hump or bump on the bridge of the nose
  • Significant deviation of the nose
  • Nasal reduction

In these cases, surgical intervention may be more appropriate. In any instance, the most suitable approach for your aesthetic goals should be discussed with your expert at The Harley Medical Group during a free no-obligation consultation. You can read about the most important questions to ask your Rhinoplasty surgeon here.

If you would like to explore how non-surgical Rhinoplasty can help you to achieve your desired results, sk:n, the UK’s leading skin clinic, provides non-surgical nose job treatments administered by highly trained and experienced expert clinician injectors.


1. Layliev J, Gupta V, Kaoutzanis C, Ganesh Kumar N, Winocour J, Grotting JC, Higdon KK. Incidence and Preoperative Risk Factors for Major Complications in Aesthetic Rhinoplasty: Analysis of 4978 Patients. Aesthet Surg J. 2017 Jul 1;37(7):757-767. doi: 10.1093/asj/sjx023. PMID: 28472446.

2. Rivkin A. Nonsurgical Rhinoplasty Using Injectable Fillers: A Safety Review of 2488 Procedures. Facial Plast Surg Aesthet Med. 2021 Jan-Feb;23(1):6-11. doi: 10.1089/fpsam.2020.0291. Epub 2020 Dec 2. PMID: 33270519.

Posted June 29, 2022
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