Los Angeles-based cosmetic surgeon Alexander Rivkin, MD, has built a thriving practice, Westside Aesthetics, out of performing non-surgical procedures including liquid nose jobs that use fillers instead of scalpels and blades. He is a cosmetic surgeon and an assistant clinical instructor in the department of Medicine, Division of Dermatology at UCLA. The ENT-turned-beauty-guru really helped put the non-surgical rhinoplasty on the map, and has performed more than 4,000 of them.
And to hear him tell it, “it’s been a great ride” and he is nowhere near done.
What is your signature surgery?
Non-surgical rhinoplasty or nose recontouring.
That’s very unique. Tell us more about the benefits of non-surgical rhinoplasty?
It works, it’s simple and patients get a significant benefit without the downtime of surgery. When the procedure is performed by an experienced injector on a good candidate, the results are really fantastic.
Who is a candidate for non-surgical rhinoplasty?
There are a variety of categories of patients who do well with non-surgical rhinoplasty. One thing that it can’t do is physically reduce the size of the nose. It can augment it, but it can’t take anything away. Still, when you make something straight, it looks smaller. It’s an optical illusion.
Non-surgical rhinoplasty can also be used as a primary procedure for people who have never had surgery. It can camouflage a bump, augment the bridge, or raise and define the tip. I can also perform the procedure in some people who need revision nose surgery, but don’t want to go under the knife again. It is a considerably safer and easier option in these cases.
What about ethnic populations?
Yes, non-surgical rhinoplasty is an alternative for people from many different backgrounds. It can be very effective for Asian Americans and African Americans who want to refine their tip and augment their nasal bridge. These patients may be more likely to develop bad scarring due to the thickness of their skin, so nonsurgical rhinoplasty is also less risky.
Do patients ever request celebrity noses?
No. People don’t say that to me. They come in with issues such as a bump, droopy tip or a twisted nose.
What fillers do you use for non-surgical rhinoplasty?
I always start with a temporary filler such as Radiesse or Perlane, which last about nine months to a year. Once it fades, I can replace it with Artefill, which is a permanent filler.
How do you define beauty?
To me, beauty is individualized. My goal is to enhance and optimize a person’s natural features. I value symmetry and balance, but it must enhance who they are, and not make them look like someone else.
What sets you apart from others in your space?
Everything I do is non surgical. I don’t do surgery anymore. I can safely push the boundaries of what I can do with injectables after doing about 4,000 noses. I invented a procedure, and its been wonderful to see the non surgical rhinoplasty technique adopted by so many doctors all over the country.
My experience injecting noses is why I am not afraid to try to help people who have had three rhinoplasties already and nobody else will touch. I am their last resort. They are out of options and to be able to really do something for them is a real honor.
How did you get started in the beauty business?
I received my undergraduate degree from Columbia University in New York City and my medical degree from the Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, CT. I did a residency in Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine. I was a practicing ear, nose, and throat doctor but I really wanted to do something more artistic. Botox and fillers were new and it was really exciting. It’s been a great ride.