[By Lee Na Vee]

In Asia,from clever makeup techniques to filler injections to going under the knife, a beautiful nose is considered an integral part of any facial enhancement procedure. Asians have long coveted the more defined nose of their Western counterparts and more so than ever, are clamoring for ways to hit the beauty benchmark they desire. In the past decade or so, there has been a surge in the number of rhinoplasties performed in Asia, together with a rise in demand for effective non-surgical ways to beautify the Asian nose. ReadySetBeauty talks to consultant plastic surgeon, Dr. Chia Hui Ling from the SW1 Clinic, a one stop destination for medical spa, cosmetics dermatology and cutting edge aesthetics surgery in Singapore, giving us the low down of turning to both surgical and non-surgical means as a way to improve upon the appearance of an Asian nose.

RSB: Hello Dr. Chia! Can you tell us if there is a key difference in the Asian nose compared to the Caucasian nose?

Dr. Chia: The diversity of the continent of Asia consists of several races and ethnic groups. Thus the various nasal shapes and structure of Asian noses vary in height and width from the noses of the Indian subcontinent with their Caucasian nasal features in contrast with smaller East Asian type Korean – Chinese nose and the Asian Malay nose of south–east Asia.Even among Asians, there is a spectrum, with northerners e.g. from north China and Korea having more prominent nasal bridge compared to lower nasal bridge of their Asian southerners, typified by petiteness and flatness.

Looking from the bottom up, the nostrils of the Asian nose appear more rounded compared to the tear-drop appearance of the Western nose, thus projecting a wider-looking nose.The cartilages of Asian noses are smaller, weaker and softer compared to Caucasian noses, and tend to have a more oblique to vertical lie which result in an undesirable flatness. However, the overlying thick skin tissue of Asians noses makes them a better candidate for silicone implant.

It comes as no surprise that Asian clients seeking surgical correction often request for higher nasal bridge, with more tip projection and narrower alar bases, without looking overtly occidental. Taking into account the anatomical differences, this means that a surgery that works for the Caucasian may not be the most ideal one for the Asian nose.

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RSB: What are the basic structures of the nose? Is it comprised mainly of bone or skin?

Dr. Chia: The nose is basically divided into three areas. The upper one third of the nose is made of nasal bones making it rigid and immobile. The bottom third of the nose is made of very flexible cartilage which makes up the nasal tip.

RSB: Are there different types of rhinoplasties available?

Dr. Chia: There are various techniques used in surgical rhinoplasty and they may be engaged according to individual variations of the nose and their varying needs. However, almost all rhinoplasties done on Asians encompasses at least one of these two:

1. Augmentation rhinoplasty aimed to raise the bridge and/or tip of the nose, such as using a silicone implant alone for a Simple Rhinoplasty, or incorporating the patient’s own cartilage (from the ear, nose or rib) when performing a Hybrid Rhinoplasty.

2. Refinements involving narrowing or modification of the alar or “wings” of the nose.

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RSB: In augmentation, what do surgeons use to raise the nose?

Dr. Chia: In Asian rhinoplasty, silicone implants that come in various dimensions are most commonly used to achieve elevation in height. Your surgeon will choose an implant best suited for you.                                                                          

RSB: If someone do not wish to use an implant, are there other ways to augment the nose?

Dr. Chia: This approach may incorporate the ear and/or rib cartilages. Cartilage taken from the ear would be used for the tip of the nose to achieve a better looking result. This extra procedure leaves a small but inconspicuous scar over the back of the ear with no residual deformity. When needed, the rib is harvested through an incision along the chest wall to remove the cartilaginous portion required.

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RSB: These are all permanent methods of rhinoplasties, are there any non-permanent techniques for those who want to give it a go to see how it would look?

Dr. Chia: Injectable nose fillers are much sought after as a viable non-surgical option to augment the nose in a quick, simple, lunchtime procedure. The results are immediate albeit transient, lasting between 6 to 9 months depending on the type of filler used and your body’s own metabolism. There are temporary Hyaluronic Acid (HA) fillers (eg: Restylane LYFT, Restylane SubQ, Boletero Volume) and longer lasting semi-permanent fillers dubbed “liquid rhinoplasty” (eg: Radiesse, Ellanse).

Nose threadlifting is another alternative that’s growing in popularity over the past 2 to 3 years for those on the lookout for non-surgical modalities that delivers. By utilizing 100% bio-degradable PDO threads, the Infinity Nose Threadlift can be divided into two parts, nose bridge elevation and nose tip augmentation, creating a harmonious outcome that isn’t jarringly conspicuous of having “works done”. Besides being able to achieve a higher and sharper nose bridge without unnatural widening, this fuss-free lunchtime procedure is able to lift the tip to make it sharper in a manner that nose filler can’t, reducing the size of the nasal ala at the same time for a more refined- looking nose. However, this is by no means an indication that nose filler is a replaceable treatment that’s on its way to obscurity. Conversely, it plays a pivotal role in total nasal beautification of selected cases more suited for the 3D Nose Lift, smoothing out unevenness of the surface of the nose (such as a hump) which is something that’s beyond the capabilities of threads.

RSB: Thank you, Dr. Chia for the insightful discussion. With such a plethora of options, both surgical and non-surgical, enhancement of the nose is a very plausible option for many women out there.

Dr. Chia: The pleasure is mine!


After completing Basic Surgical Training in London and Cambridge (UK), Dr. Chia Hui Ling from the SW1 Clinic returned to Singapore for Advanced Specialty Training where she attained her Specialist Accreditation in Plastic Surgery. Apart from her meticulous skills, as a female plastic surgeon, Dr. Chiais sensitive to the anxiety and emotions patients face with plastic surgery, with a genuine and compassionate nature that has earned her a loyal following.


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