Originating in Asia, the non-surgical nose thread lift is called a “lunchtime nose job” or a string rhinoplasty. Many of my patients ask about the procedure, so let’s look at string rhinoplasty to determine what it is, how it compares to a surgical nose job, and if it’s right for you.
What Is a PDO Nose Thread Lift?
String rhinoplasty, sometimes also called thread rhinoplasty, has grown in popularity recently as an alternative to surgical rhinoplasty. The procedure literally ties a string around the end of the nose and around the back of the head to raise the tip of the nose. Or, as an alternative, a barbed thread is used to achieve the same effect. A similar procedure is being used today as an alternative to a surgical facelift to lift sagging skin.
This thread nose lift was developed as an alternative to nose fillers or “liquid rhinoplasty.” Fillers were effective in some cases to raise the bridge of the nose or further define it, however; this technique can have some serious complications if done incorrectly, including infection and blindness in the patient. (Learn more about liquid rhinoplasty in our related blog post.)
First becoming popular in Korea, string rhinoplasty is known there as “Hiko,” originating from the words “high” and “ko” (nose). The high nose procedure elevates the tip of the nose just slightly to further define Asian facial features by using polydioxanone (PDO) thread.
Is a PDO Thread Nose Lift Worth It?
In my view, a non-surgical rhinoplasty procedure, such as a string rhinoplasty or a thread nose lift has no long-term benefit for the patient and could lead to serious complications.
As I mention in my related blog post, Does a string rhinoplasty really work?: A thread lift rhinoplasty is a minor surgical procedure prone to many complications. If you’re really looking to change the shape of your nose, look for a double board-certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon.
One study in the Journal of Cosmetic Surgery suggested, “Because it is a minimally invasive procedure, operators tend to neglect a simple but important initial step, which is sterility.”
There are a few long-term follow-up studies on patients who have had string rhinoplasties, and the conclusion is generally the same: While there is an immediate effect of heightening the nose, patients do not receive a long-term benefit.
Many patients must have follow-up corrective surgery or other non-invasive treatments such as fillers or BOTOX® even after their string rhinoplasty.
Can a String Rhinoplasty Help Me?
Some patients turn to string rhinoplasty because they are afraid of surgery or because they are looking for a fast or less expensive option to improve their looks quickly. The procedure takes about an hour and afterward, you can drive home or even go back to work with minimal swelling. But there is one big problem: The string rhinoplasty procedure is not permanent.
How Long Does a Nose Thread Lift Last?
The process uses bio-absorbable threads that typically break down between 1 and 2 years after the procedure is complete. If you repeat the procedure at 9 months, it may last longer or become permanent, depending on the stimulation of collagen in the nose.
In 2009, a long-term study of the effects of the thread-lift procedures was released and the news was grim. The authors concluded, “Thread-lifts don’t produce lasting results.”
Is String Rhinoplasty Better Than Surgical Rhinoplasty?
The answer is a resounding “no” to this question. SkinMag says, “Rhinoplasty is still the gold standard in nose augmentation and under good hands, risks are low, and the downtime is only one week.”
“String rhinoplasty is not a viable option to change the appearance of the nose either as a child, teenager, or adult. In fact, this may actually cause some injury or damage to the nose so I would not recommend it.”Dr. Edward Gross
Benefits of Nose Surgery
Having cosmetic surgery on your nose is a personal decision best discussed with you and your plastic surgeon. There are benefits to nose surgery that are both cosmetically appealing and physically or medically necessary including:
- Restoring breathing function
- Correcting injury
- Correcting an excessively wide, long, crooked, or short nose
- Reducing the appearance of a nose hump
- Improving the shape of the nose
Surgical Rhinoplasty Is More Effective Than a Nose Thread Lift
Now that you understand the risks associated with string rhinoplasty, let’s discuss safe, effective rhinoplasty to help you achieve your cosmetic and health goals.
Patients visit Primera Plastic Surgery to undergo surgical rhinoplasty for two primary reasons:
- Nasal obstruction, which can contribute to sleep apnea, disturb sleep, contribute to snoring, and even inhibit exercise.
- Cosmetic changes such as refining the nose tip, reducing a hump, or correcting an asymmetric nose.
Rhinoplasty can strengthen your ability to breathe while also correcting cosmetic concerns. This surgical procedure is completed under general anesthetic, usually on an outpatient basis. While the procedure usually takes an hour or two, the results can be dramatic and should last a lifetime, unlike string rhinoplasty. You can see some of our patients’ results below. To see more dramatic surgical rhinoplasty results, visit our before and after photo gallery.
“Rhinoplasty is usually a safe procedure with infrequent complications. When performed by a qualified cosmetic surgeon, this popular procedure can bring significant improvement in the appearance of the nose. This procedure is often one of the most gratifying procedures performed.”
If you’re unhappy with the shape of your nose, or if you’re experiencing difficulty breathing freely, snoring, or experiencing other health issues, it’s best to talk with a rhinoplasty surgeon. We invite you to request a consultation today using our online form or call us at (407) 333-3040.
This post was originally published in August 2020 and updated in October 2023.