In Asia, particularly in Singapore, one of the most sought-after cosmetic procedures is nose reshaping. It’s so popular in fact that in some Asian countries such as South Korea, it’s become commonplace for parents to gift their daughters a free nose thread lift when they turn 18.
In general, Asian noses lack height (have a low nasal bridge) and have a bulbous nasal tip with a high amount of fat and cartilage. This contributes to Asians having a flat facial profile.
In the past, the only procedure available for nose reshaping was surgical rhinoplasty. However, thanks to modern solutions and technologies, we’re now equipped with several tools that allow cosmetic doctors to perform nose reshaping without having to go under the knife.
The two most popular solutions today are nose fillers and the HIKO nose thread lift. In this article, I’ll draw from my ten years of experience as a cosmetic surgeon to educate you further on this particular topic.
Risks of Nose Fillers
Before the invention of the HIKO nose thread lift procedure, if patients wanted to avoid surgery for nose reshaping, they had to settle for nasal filler injections. These nose fillers were either made up of hyaluronic acid (Restylane or Juvederm) or calcium hydroxyapatite (Radiesse).
However, there are great risks involved with nasal fillers including:
- Worsening the shape of the nose
Some hyaluronic acid fillers are also counterproductive and instead of improving their nose, actually worsens the shape and look of the nose. A lot of cases have been reported about this, with some even causing their nose (or part of their nose) to slide off the sides after the procedure.
- Skin necrosis
Skin necrosis is the term called for the death of skin cells and tissues. This happens when too much filler is injected into the nose, which blocks blood flow to the skin. This causes skin cells with limited blood flow to die and results in necrosis.
- Possibility of Blindness
This is because there are two arteries that run beside the nasal bridge called the angular arteries. In some rare cases, large amounts of nose fillers are accidentally injected into these arteries which are pushed into connecting arteries that supply the retina. The fillers then clog up these connecting arteries which in turn causes partial or total blindness. Several cases have been reported of this incidence occurring worldwide.
Due to these risks and the fact that nose fillers injections are a delicate process that only experienced doctors should do, there was a need for a new non-surgical procedure that can reshape the nose with little or no chance for mistakes and risky complications.
HIKO Nose Thread Lift
Enter the HIKO Nose Thread Lift, a procedure originating from South Korea over 15 years ago. HIKO comes from the two Korean words “Hi” meaning “high” and “Ko” meaning “nose”. Thus, HIKO literally means “to lift the nose”.
HIKO nose thread lifts work by utilizing short (3.8cm to 7cm), absorbable polydioxanone (PDO) threads, which are inserted individually into the nasal bridge or the columella. This non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure will reshape the nose to the height, shape, and definition that the patient desires.
The whole HIKO nose thread lift process takes just 15 to 30 minutes of time, which is faster than a rhinoplasty surgery. It is very little to no downtime and several patients have even gone back to their usual activities immediately after the procedure. Some bruising might occur but not so much that you’ll need to take an extended break from your daily activities.
Another advantage of a HIKO nose thread lift over nasal fillers is that the effects last longer and have no risk of migration like fillers.
How do the Polydioxanone (PDO) threads work?
Polydioxanone or PDO is a material that is commonly used in surgical threads or sutures for closing open wounds. These PDO threads hold the wound together and keep it in place while the tissue is naturally repaired by the body. These threads then dissolve and are absorbed by the body.
In the case of nose lifting, these threads are inserted into specific planes of the nose which will give added volume and height to specific areas along the bridge of the nose. This, in turn, improves the appearance of the nose, and due to the threads being absorbable, there is no need to extract them in a future time. Some threads are also placed along the columella to give added lift and exposure for the nasal tip.
Some PDO threads are also bi-directional, which means they can provide immediate anchoring to the nose tissue and are kept in place due to the two-way direction of the barbs. These threads also work as a dual process - it lifts the nose while at the same time stimulates the collagen production to improve skin quality. The lifting effect happens immediately due to the threads elevating and supporting the tissues around the nose. At the same time, PDO threads increase the rate of collagen production, which tightens the nose and gives it a firmer, youthful appearance.
How is the HIKO Nose Thread Lift Performed?
Like any other medical procedure, a thorough consultation with your doctor is required before any treatment is performed. In this process, your doctor will be able to assess your condition properly and help you understand what is about to happen.
As a pro tip, to help you have peace of mind during and after your HIKO Nose Thread lift procedure, make sure you choose a credible and well-experienced doctor.
- Cleaning and Prepping the Face
After a consultation, the treatment proper will start. Before the procedure, your face will be cleaned, and make-up will be removed. To prepare your face for the injections, numbing cream was then applied on the nose area to prevent pain or discomfort.
- Injection of local anaesthesia
Then, the treatment area will be marked followed by the injection of anaesthesia at the nose bridge and columella. Thanks to the numbing cream, you can only expect a quick and minimal piercing pain during brought about by the injection.
- Insertion and positioning of threads
Next, the threads will be positioned in a horizontal manner as they are inserted into the nose bridge. This is to ensure the proper shape, definition and contour of the nose. For improvement of the nose tip, the threads are inserted vertically to create a lifting effect.
The entire procedure lasts for about 15-30 minutes depending on the complexity of the procedure and the number of threads to be inserted. The number of threads will be determined by your doctor depending on his/her assessment during your consultation.
Will there be pain during the insertion of threads?
None of my patients has reported experiencing any pain during the thread inserting, thanks to the wonders of local anaesthesia. Although some patients say that they felt a slight tightness in the nose area during the insertion of threads, there was no pain at all.
The only part of the procedure where an unsettling sensation can be felt will be during the injection of anaesthesia. Nonetheless, the pain will be very quick and should be very bearable.
How long is the downtime from HIKO nose thread lifts?
Immediately after the procedure, some swelling, redness and bruising might occur along the treated area. You have no need to worry though as these should disappear within a few hours.
There is little to no downtime at all after the HIKO nose thread lift procedure. As long as the swelling and pain is manageable, patients can go back to their work and other activities immediately. In fact, several of my patients chose to undergo the procedure during their break time at work, then went back to work immediately after. It has even started to be called the “lunchtime nose lift”.
Some injection marks may remain for a few days, but these can be easily covered up using makeup or foundation.
When can you expect results and how long do these results last?
The results of the HIKO nose thread lift can be seen immediately. Expect full results to be realized about 1 to 2 months after the procedure when the collagen stimulation is in full effect.
These results should last for 1 to 2 years depending on the patient. Once you see the results start to disappear, the procedure can be undergone again to restore the effects.
How much do HIKO nose thread lifts cost?
A single session of HIKO nose thread lifts costs around $600 to $900 depending on the complexity of the procedure. This price will also depend on the reputation and experience of the clinic or doctor performing the procedure.
Are there any side effects from HIKO nose thread lifts?
The thread lifting procedure itself is very safe and quick. There are some potential side effects though, especially when proper protocol is not followed or if the doctor performing the procedure is inexperienced. These potential side effects include:
- Nonoptimal nasal height after the procedure
- Some deviation of the nose can occur
- Thread erosion from the skin
These side effects are caused by one of the following reasons:
- Proper sterile aseptic techniques were not followed
- Use of the wrong type of threads
- Use of too many or too few threads
- Lack of knowledge in anatomy
- Inexperience of doctor or practitioner
- Misplacement of threads
What are the advantages of getting HIKO Nose Thread lift locally in Singapore compared with getting it abroad?
- No language barrier
Choosing to get your HIKO Nose Thread lift abroad may have its fair share of challenges especially if you are not familiar with the language. Even if you have a good translator, expressing yourself can be very hard when you and your doctor cannot fully understand each other. Misunderstandings can lead to serious side-effects that can possibly harm you.
Getting your HIKO Nose Thread lift locally in Singapore eliminates the problem of the language barrier. For medical procedures, it is important that the patient and doctor can communicate effectively so that desired results can be achieved without any risks of complications.
- Cheaper and more convenient in the long run
It cannot be denied that some countries can offer cheaper cosmetic treatments like the HIKO Nose Thread lift and cheaper costs can be very tempting. However, always keep in mind that cheaper prices are usually (but not always) associated with lower quality.
In addition, post-procedure care and follow-ups are more convenient when you get your HIKO Nose Thread lift locally because you can see your doctor as soon as you can in case you develop some side-effects or complications. Wouldn’t it be a big inconvenience to fly back to where your treatment to have your doctor correct the complications?
Before deciding to fly overseas for your treatment, you must first consider the quality of service and results you are going to have so you do not waste your money just to have an unsatisfactory nose job. Fixing it will require additional treatments —requiring you to spend more money in the long run.