Originally printed in the September 2017 issue of Vogue Arabia.
Forget the scalpel – the non-surgical nose job has stepped into the cosmetic spotlight.
I look at my twin sister’s nose as she gazes into the fish tank in my cosmetic surgeon’s office, and shake my head. Genes have not been fair to me. Relatively smaller than mine, the bridge of her nose slopes downwards to a perfectly shaped base. Although she has a bump in the middle (like me), mine is significantly larger with a dip on either side – and don’t even get me started on my oversized tip. There’s only so much magic you can work with Instagram filters. In walks Dr Adnan Tahir. I’ve been following his work ever since spotting Dubai-based entrepreneur and stylist Teresa Karpinska sporting a more refined nose shape after a visit to Dr Tahir at the Euromed Clinic in Dubai – a result she achieved without going under the knife. Welcome to the non-surgical nose job, the latest phenomenon in the world of cosmetic treatments. “By injecting fillers into the right area, we can improve the profile of the nose, by smoothing lines and filling indents,” explains Dr Tahir. “It’s not as powerful as surgical rhinoplasty, but it can improve the overall aesthetic and shape.”
After discussing my desired results, we take some “before” pictures, and I plant myself in the chair. Surprisingly, I’m not as nervous as I thought I would be. I’m not fond of needles, but Dr Tahir and his bubbly nurse, Donna, put me completely at ease. Removing the numbing cream prior to cleaning and sterilizing my nose, he examines it one final time before making some marks to guide the injections. Donna places a stress ball in my hands and demonstrates how the surgical vibrator that will be placed on my head will distract me as the fillers are injected. “A sharp scratch coming up,” warns Dr Tahir as he administers the first shot. I brace myself but relax almost instantly with the realization that it is nothing more than a tiny prick. Since the fillers contain an anesthetic, as the procedure carries on, I feel the injections less and less. “For pain ranging from one to 10, my clients rate it around four to five,” says Dr Tahir. “But lasting for only a few seconds.” When I speak to Karpinska a few days later, she agrees, explaining that her work was “surprisingly painless.”
Taking all of 15 minutes, my new shape is ready. My nose is straight, with a slight lift at the tip. Although the bump is still somewhat visible, it preserves a sense of character to my face, which ensures that the results look natural. I am astounded. Although it takes four to five days for the fillers to settle, being able to appreciate the effect instantaneously without any downtime is what makes the non-surgical nose job a true game-changer. As with any treatment, it is advised to relax for 24 hours afterwards, refrain from sport, and not wear makeup. I am also advised to not wear sunglasses for four to five days so as not to disturb the filler. Since the results can last up to a year, the treatment is the ideal way to tweak your nose without undergoing rhinoplasty. Just ensure it’s done by a certified plastic surgeon, Dr Tahir stresses, because injecting fillers in the wrong place can cause complications. Beverly Hills-based surgeon to the stars Dr Raj Kanodia agrees. “It has to be done safely. Too many novice injectors take the concept lightly, and are doing risky things with it, including injecting classically dangerous areas like the nasal ala and the nasal sidewalls. The risks include losing the vitality to the skin on the top of the nose.”
One millimeter is a mile when it comes to your face and precision teamed with experience is a must. Discussing nose shapes with Dr Tahir, I wonder how his clients decide on their look. Has the rise in social media usage and celebrity culture had an effect? “I make my clients realize that each nose is different depending on the face profile, so you can’t just have a celebrity nose stuck on you. It is, however, useful to help understand the client’s expectations.” Dr Kanodia concurs. “Celebrity requested design is the latest trend. We try to guide patients safely away from that, as the nose must fit the face. Every patient has unique characteristics that make their nose theirs. My goal is to refine and enhance, but not change a nose.” That certainly seems to be the case with the host of stars he counts as clients, including Jennifer Aniston and Cameron Diaz.
Finding the perfect shape and experiencing the results leads many who undergo a non-surgical nose job to turn their sights to rhinoplasty. “It was a good way to ‘try on’ a new nose,” says Karpinska. “But it has now made me want rhinoplasty even more.” I can’t help but agree. Dr Kanodia, who has performed more than 9 000 rhinoplasties in his 30-year career and is celebrated for his scarless technique, says, “The number of patients who benefit from a non-surgical nose job is smaller than most people realize. The key to remember is that liquid, non-surgical work can never make a nose smaller. It can only make it look bigger. So it’s meant to mask indents or asymmetries, but not to change the contour of a nose.”
The non-surgical route can also help when rhinoplasty doesn’t go to plan, as fashion and lifestyle bloggers Lailli and Alizey Mirza can attest. The sisters both underwent rhinoplasty after inheriting their father’s hook nose. “We did consider fillers, but what we wanted changed wasn’t achievable,” they say. But when the results of the surgeries were not as desired, they turned to fillers to correct the mistake, while facing revision surgery with a different surgeon. A non-surgical nose job is not without its flaws – it can’t fix every problem and only lasts for a year – but since fillers can dissolve and results are immediate, the end resolution is quick and safe. For many, it may also come down to cost. Using Juvéderm fillers by Allergan, Dr Tahir charges just over US$650 per syringe, whereas a rhinoplasty can start at anywhere from US$15 000, dependent on the surgeon. As for my new nose? The results are remarkable – and have inspired a new lease of yearning for a permanent solution to my nose woes. If I can face going under the knife.
A non-surgical nose job is not without its flaws – it can’t fix every problem and only lasts for a year – but since fillers can dissolve and results are immediate, the end resolution is quick and safe. For many, it may also come down to cost. Using Juvéderm fillers by Allergan, Dr Tahir charges just over US$650 per syringe, whereas a rhinoplasty can start at anywhere from US$15 000, dependent on the surgeon. As for my new nose? The results are remarkable – and have inspired a new lease of yearning for a permanent solution to my nose woes. If I can face going under the knife.
Vogue Arabia’s September It Girl Sara Al Tamimi is a Closet Fashionista