Pre op and post op photos (12 days after surgery, still swollen)
So you're not pleased with the appearance of your nose. Don't worry because you're not alone, rhinoplasty is the most common type of surgery on the head and usually it's elective. However, a large percentage of the population (about 80%) has some degree of deviation on the septum aswell. It is wise to address both the functional and cosmetic issue in one operation, so the choice of doctor really is quite important.
It is advised that you do major research in order to ensure that your doctor will provide you with the desired results. Remember that nobody can guarantee you anything, there's always a risk involved since doctors are humans and make mistakes just like everyone else. Therefore, you'll need maximum trust so that the chances of anything going wrong will be kept to the lowest.
Research thoroughly and make sure to understand the procedure, healing, cost and generally every single aspect of rhinoplasty because being properly prepared will help you have a smooth recovery.
Making the decision
Are you sure you want to have the operation? Give yourself some time to think it over, a few months or even years. Be 100% sure that this is what you really want. If your friends and relatives aren't supportive, it can make you get cold feet so seek information online and get support from people just like you that can understand your issue. Consult the best doctor you can find on your area. NEVER have cheap surgery, cosmetic or otherwise. It will end up costing you a lot more because you'll be risking your health and quality of life.
If you're sure you want to do this, book a date and prepare accordingly. Some general instructions follow but your doctor with guide you so if in doubt, ask him/her.
Try not to smoke too much before surgery. The best is not at all but if you can't quit, just smoke less.
Do not eat anything for 12 hours before surgery and no liquids for at least 6, unless otherwise adviced by your surgeon.
Prepare your resting area before going to the hospital. Have pillows, cushions, water with straw, lots of soft food (mashed potatoes, yogurt, ice cream, pudding, etc), Q-tips, tissues and someone around to help you the first few days.
Have lots of shirts or loose-neck T-shirts because dressing up will be easier this way.
Arrive early at the hospital and have all your paperwork ready. If possible, have a friend or relative to help you relax. Once you have had your blood tests and X-rays, you'll be prepped up for surgery. They'll give you general anesthesia which feels weird at first. Most people feel cold, even shiver before they get knocked out. Maybe you'll even panic for a moment and think about escaping the surgery room! But the next thing you'll know is waking up in your soft bed. You'll be in a daze and won't feel any pain. Rhinoplasty doesn't hurt generally, you'll only have some degree of discomfort. A cast will be placed on your nose and tampons stuffed inside your nostrils. You'll have to breath through your mouth, which is strange for some at first, but after a while you'll get used to it. You'll also swallow some discharge, disgusting I know, but only lasts a little while. There will also be bruising and swelling, particularly around your eyes. Cold compresses help fot he first few hours, after that they won't do anything about the swelling but you can use them for comfort. Remember, you can't duck, so ask a nurse for any help reaching things that are on the floor (slippers, anything you dropped, etc). You'll have to sleep with your head elevated in order to help the swelling go down. Gravity will do its job anyway but you can help too!
Now you're good to go home! Your doctor will visit you and check if everything's OK, will provide you with some instructions for best healing and off you go. You will probably have the feeling that there's a brick on top of your nose and your head will feel heavy. Most doctors remove the tampons on this day but others keep them in longer. Some don't use tampons at all. If you have them, it's uncomfortable and the removal feels like they're getting your brain out through your nose. Sounds scary but only lasts a few seconds. Tampon removal is actually the worst part associated with rhinoplasty. However, some patients say it's not that bad but I want you to be prepared for the worst.
These days following the operation will be mostly the same. You'll notice considerable improvement but you'll mostly spend them lying on your couch, bed or recliner and watching TV, reading, or surfing the internet. There's not much you can do but try to walk around the house and do some minor tasks for slight exercise. It will be difficult to chew so you may want to try some food supplements in order to get essential nutrients. Have plenty of liquids though...A good natural option is fresh fruit and vegetable shakes that you can make with your blender. Keep sleeping with your head elevated and take special care when moving around the house. Stay away from doors and keep your nose safe from bumps and hits. You can shower normally but don't wash your hair to avoid getting the cast wet. Use lukewarm water and stay away from all heat sources (blowdryers, radiators, sun, steaming water, etc). It will be better if you don't cook/wash dishes for a while.You will have some congestion and plenty of discharge so don't forget to clean your nostrils as instructed and use your ointment frequently.
Your bruising and swelling will probably be quite reduced by now and you're "restaurant ready". You'll probably notice that your skin is extremely oily and it will be a bit difficult to clean. You can try swabing it with cotton balls soaked in alcohol and also use some cleanser for oily skin. Be careful to keep your cast dry at all times. You can have someone wash you hair carefully. I went to hair salons because I found it more convenient that the sink. Also, visit your doctor for thorough cleaning of the nostrils with that little suction stick. (don't know what it's called!) It helps the healing proccess and also makes you breathe more easily.
Guess what? The hard part is over. Seriously! You'll get your cast removed one of these days and your nose will feel really vulnerable. You won't be able to clean it properly, you'll be scared you might "ruin" it and you will still experience discomfort but trust me, compared to the first week, the second one is a breeze. You'll probably return to work and feel comfortable enough. By this time, you'll have the hang of all the caring procedures and eveyrthing will seem real easy.
The numbness is considerably less and nobody can tell you're swollen. But you are, you'll feel it on some facial expressions and while touching it. You should continue cleaning the nostrils and using the ointment but not that frequently now. Applying make up is easy now and you can clean your face better than before. Now it's also a good time to have a professional skin cleansing because your pores will be stuffed up. Consult your doctor however because some types of facials are not reccomended. (my doctor said that peelings/scrubs are OK but some doctors advise against them).
From now on you'll just have to be patient because the swelling will go down very slowly. Continue cleaning your nostrils (less frequently) and resume working out or heavy lifting (try to avoid team sports though because you might get injured). You can also swim, wear glasses, blow your nose and duck. Wear sunscreen even if it's winter and avoid sun exposure though, as a precaution.
Your nose will continue to heal slightly as time goes by and it will be fragile. You may notice that you still can't clean your pores properly because it hurts or gets swollen and red. Maybe glasses will bother you if you wear them for a long time or perhaps you'll find that putting weight on your nose while you sleep hurts. Don't panic over those symptoms, every person is different and healing time is determined by various factors.
This blog is under construction and I will add more information and pictures in the next few days.