Rhinoplasty: StoriesWrite a Review
Getting Over The Hump - Chicago, IL
- posted 10 months ago
- updated 1 month ago
- Worth It
- Cost: $4,235
- Anil R. Shah, MD (Chicago, IL)
Hello RealSelf world! So I’ve been lurking...
- 6 Jul 2012
Hello RealSelf world! So I’ve been lurking around this site for quite some time now, and can’t even begin to say how helpful and enjoyable it has been to read everyone’s stories throughout these past few months. I don’t know where I’d be without them, so I figured it’s about time that I pay it forward by sharing with you all about my own journey with rhinoplasty. I am a fan of detail and thoroughness, so... here is your fair warning that there is lengthiness ahead. :p
Well, like a lot of other people around here, I had been unhappy with my nose for a very long time. I can’t even remember when I became aware of it, but for as long as I can remember, I hated my profile with a passion, and always thought that my nose was way too big for my face and features. I was never teased or anything about my nose, and didn’t really think of myself as unattractive because of it, but it was just something I always thought did not belong on me. I always felt very self-conscious about it, and tried my best to avoid having people see me from the side. After coming to this site, I realized that I’m also not the only one who even thought about my nose while driving. Stopping at lights and knowing that people were seeing my profile was definitely on my mind back then. I’m a fairly confident person and knew that it was silly to worry so much about strangers criticizing my look, but I guess that’s the kind of self-doubt and worry that goes along with having something about yourself that you’re so unhappy about. If it doesn’t feel right, it doesn’t feel right.
As I grew older, I would occasionally joke around with friends and family by telling them that I would get a nose job one day. I didn’t know when it would be, but I guess I always did intend to. I remember being blown away by Ashlee Simpson’s results way back in the day, and telling myself that I would pay tons of money to have an outcome as good as hers - haha. Eventually I found out I really didn’t want to go that doctor (or spend ridiculous amounts of money just to get work done by a “celebrity” surgeon). Whatever.
So every now and then when I was feeling bored I’d Google info about rhinoplasty, and that’s what I was doing this past winter break when I decided it was about time I go for it. I found this site and a couple of other ones, started scouring surgeon’s websites, and basically just tried to become as informed as possible. Luckily, I was living and going to grad school in Chicago at the time, so I realized that I was very close to one surgeon who seemed to have many people singing his praises, Dr. Anil Shah. I booked a consultation with him in January, and later booked my surgery with him for the end of June. I probably jumped the gun by consulting that long before surgery, but I was excited to get everything planned out.
I had a prominent dorsal hump prior to surgery, which was my main concern when going into this whole thing. It’s funny because until my consult with Dr. Shah, I didn’t even realize that my tip was kinda bulbous as well. My septum was also deviated, and I later found out that I had enlarged turbinates as well. In surgery, then, Dr. Shah planned on smoothing out the profile, refining the tip, straightening the septum, and reducing the turbinates (among other things I’m sure). I had an open rhinoplasty and my nose did have to be broken in order to fix the problem areas.
But anyways, those 5 months of waiting felt like they took forever! I had plenty of work to keep me occupied since I was finishing up with school and an internship, but a lot of my free time was also spent on researching rhinoplasty. RealSelf definitely became one of my go-to sites during this time and I again thank everyone who has shared their experiences with everyone else on here! What I found out in this down time, though, was that this type of surgery really should call for a lot research on the patient’s end. Nothing can guarantee a good outcome, but doing your due diligence will help you to avoid a bad one, and assist you in deciding on whether this is something you really want to do or not! I only talked with one other ENT besides Dr. Shah, and it was really only to get some additional feedback from someone in my insurance network. It probably would have been beneficial to go on more consults, but I didn’t. I recommend that when possible, anyone take the time to do so, though. It’s good to get multiple opinions and see what different people have in mind about what they can and can’t do with your nose. This is something that’s right in the middle of your face, people! Do what you can to make sure you’re gonna like what you see after changing it. :)
So as surgery was approaching, I was starting to get really excited that the day I had been waiting for for so long was finally getting near! At two weeks before surgery, I paid off the remaining balance I had for Dr. Shah. The girls at his office also sent over my lab work order and pre- and post-op information. The only time that I felt nervous at this point was when I had to play phone tag with the office a couple of times. Once I spoke with one of the girls in Dr. Shah’s office in more detail, though, I felt a lot better. I also stopped by the office one more time to go over everything with Dr. Shah again (since I hadn’t seen him since January), and from there I was just counting down the days. I started taking Vitamin C caplets (500mg) one week and Arnica Montana 30X tablets 3 days before surgery.
Day of Surgery
I barely slept at all the night before surgery, so was up and pretty much ready to go at around 4:45 on the day of. I threw on some yoga pants and a zip-up and got in the car with my mom and boyfriend to drive to the city. Arrived at the SurgiCenter just before 6, filled out some paperwork, and paid off the money that I owed for the facility and anesthesia fees. After that, I just had to sit and wait for one of the nurses to come and get me, and that’s when I started getting nervous! At around 6:30, someone came to take us back into the room where I would be recovering to get everything started. They had me change into the hospital gown, pee into a cup to check for pregnancy, and then I sat down to do some more chilling before surgery. My nurse, who’s name I believe was Rimel, was so amazing. He was funny and really could not have been sweeter. He put in my IV and gave me the run down about what to expect pre- and post-op, but also helped to make me feel more relaxed while I waited to go back into surgery. My mom and boyfriend were allowed to stay with me for most of this time as well, which was pretty great. I also received two little tablets which were supposed to prevent me from feeling nauseous later. The anesthesiologist stopped by for a minute to ask me some questions and let me know more about what the plan was. My surgery was scheduled for 7, but I guess things were running a little behind, because the only time that I checked was around 7:15. Soon after that, though, Dr. Shah came back and went over the game plan one last time. He showed me the morphed pictures again, and we were good to go!
A few minutes later, I walked with another nurse into the operating room. It was cold, but they made me really comfortable as soon as I got in there. I got up on the table, they put some warming blankets on me, and people started doing their thing. The anesthesiologist told me that he had already done his magic, and that it would take a minute or two to kick in. I remembering thinking that I would be out before I knew it, making a note about the music that was playing (I think it was the tail end of a Led Zeppelin song - bonus!), and that’s about it!?
The next thing I remember was waking up and coughing. I vaguely remember someone telling me that everything went fine, but I can’t remember if it was Dr. Shah or my nurse (or maybe both). Things are a little hazy besides that, but I also remember waking up with ice on my eyes and feeling kind of nauseous. My nurse came over and gave me a shot to help with the nausea, but told me that if I felt that way again, it might be better just to go ahead and throw up. Apparently I had thrown up a little bit already by that point, though I did not remember it. My boyfriend and mom were then allowed to come back and hang out with me again. There really wasn’t a lot of pain at this point, but I did feel kind of spent. They told me that I might have some throat pain from the breathing tube, but that was also pretty nonexistent as well. The nurse helped me to drink some cold water, and then move on to a juice box of apple juice. He asked me if I was ready for some apple sauce, but I was too worried about the nausea. I did end up throwing up again, but felt temporarily better after that. My mom helped me change back into my clothes and go to the bathroom, and I think it was about two hours post-op that they were getting me ready to go. I threw up a tiny bit more before I left, and the nurse gave me a bag to take with me for the ride home.
After that, I was taken downstairs in a wheelchair to get to my ride home. Kinda weird being wheeled around with a cast on my face in the middle of Chicago on a busy summer day, but it’s all good. For the ride home, I basically kept my eyes closed the whole way and tried to fight off the occasional nausea I was feeling. I threw up again once we got home, but then got into my recliner to start recovery. I did get sick probably two more times that afternoon, though it was small and not terrible each time. Probably around 5pm that day I started to feel better and was able to start eating, drinking, and taking my meds as planned. Like other people have said, the pain isn’t too bad but more of an annoying congestion and pressure kinda feeling. I was telling my sister that it reminded me of the way my teeth feel after wearing my retainers for the first time in a long time or something. Maybe some of you can identify with that, I don’t know! Other than the annoyingness of that feeling, though, and when not feeling nauseous, recovery wasn’t going too bad on Day 1.
The Rest of Recovery Week
Day 2 was for the most part a lot easier than the first day. I started to get my appetite back a tiny bit, and was mostly just doing a lot of hanging out. I took the Hydrocodone for pain that day, more as a precaution than because I was in any strong amount of pain (the day before I had only used Tylenol Extra Strength because I was scared of the potential nausea that might go with the other meds). I started off with 1, then took 2 four hours later without a problem. When I was due for another dose, I took 2 more and unfortunately, started to feel dizzy and nauseous about an hour after that. This lasted for a couple of hours, so I was basically taking turns with sleeping and throwing up for a decent chunk of the night. I was so nervous that all of the pressure from vomiting was gonna negatively affect my healing and outcome, but I just could not keep anything down no matter how hard I tried. I was feeling pretty miserable at this point, and was definitely starting to wonder what I had done to myself to be feeling this way. My boyfriend eventually Googled nausea after rhinoplasty and found some suggestions from other people online... he drove out to a gas station in the middle of the night and picked me up some Dramamine. I took a pill as soon as he got back, and thank goodness that did the damn trick. I finally got to stop holding onto that garbage can and went to sleep. No more Hydrocodone after that. I stuck with the Tylenol for the rest of the week, and didn’t take any pain meds at all past Day 5.
Besides those first two days, recovery week went pretty well. On day three, my boyfriend commented about being so happy that I had gotten past the hard part by saying that I was “over the hump.” I of course had to play with those words a little by adding “...literally.” Lol, a little nose humor there... get it? And that’s where the title to my story comes from. :) But yeah, noticeable differences happen everyday, which is pretty exciting. The drip pad needs to be changed less, the swelling goes down bit by bit, and the discomfort becomes less and less as each day passes.
My doc advises to ice 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off for the first couple of days after surgery. This is kind of hard to keep up with, but the girl who called from his office the day after surgery recommended that at least once per hour is helpful. Luckily, my bruising was not bad at all... I really only had one dinky little bruise on one eye (could be due to the doctor’s carefulness during surgery and/or Arnica, not sure). My swelling was definitely there, though, so I tried to ice as much as possible. I tried a couple of different methods, but what ended up being most useful was something I found here, actually! We filled up two gloves with a mixture of water and rubbing alcohol and switched on and off between them in rounds. The mixture doesn’t totally freeze so it’s kinda slushy and can mold to your face pretty well. I found that to better than the peas, so I’d suggest for anyone to try to it out. :)
Another thing that was helpful during recovery was a U-shaped travel pillow. It was great during the ride home after surgery and while trying to sleep post-op so I definitely suggest investing in one. Sleeping on my back and in an elevated position has been tough, but that pillow has without a doubt made it a little more tolerable. I picked one up at Wal-Mart for less than 10 bucks.
My final recovery week tip is for those who are going crazy without washing their hair all week. Those last couple of days were getting pretty rough for me, and I didn’t want to go to cast removal looking all dirty, so I asked my mom if we could figure out some way to carefully wash my hair in the sink without getting my cast wet. She was down to help me, but then suggested that we go to the hair salon to do it (duh). My mom’s hairdresser snuck me right in for a quick hair wash, and luckily, the place was empty besides one other person. Easy peasy way to freshen up a little, and it felt amazing to get my scalp played with as well... definitely worth the trip.
Cast Removal and Beyond
I returned to Dr. Shah’s office one week after surgery to get the cast removed and stitches taken out. I totally forgot to take pain meds beforehand, but have seen some people say that they do that to avoid the pain from stitch removal. The pain wasn’t too bad, but it does sting. Apparently I also have some stitches on the inside of my nostrils that will dissolve on their own with time. The removal of the cast wasn’t bad, but kind of uncomfortable, just ‘cause it was stuck on there so tight and it feels like being rough with a piece of your body that you’ve been super careful and gentle with for one week prior that point.
After the cast was removed, Dr. Shah cleaned up my nose a little and told me that I had some breakouts, which is normal. He was very straight forward at the beginning of our appointment in telling me that this is often the hardest day for patients, since everything looks very swollen and because it’s so early in the healing process. I knew this already, and was anxious to see my newly freed nose, regardless of this disclaimer. When I was handed the mirror and did see my nose, though, I was definitely scared about what I saw. It looked huge to me, and seemed to be so much wider than what I was used to and expecting. I didn’t think about it too much, though, and I was taken to go get my first post-op pictures taken. After the pictures, I went back into the room and Dr. Shah gave me a kenalog shot for the swelling (that hurt more than the stitches - ouch). I was given instructions about how to tape at night (Type 2 on his website), as well as a tiny piece of the top of my cast to wear under my glasses as needed (cool, huh?). I also scheduled another appointment for 3 weeks down the line. Since I moved out of the city a couple of weeks ago, Dr. Shah offered to have this appointment take place via Skype, which is pretty nice.
I ended up wearing the tape they put on me at the office for the rest of the day, since I was kind of scared by all of the swelling I was seeing. I took off the tape later at night, and was pretty overwhelmed by the big blob I saw on my face. The profile was a *huge* improvement, and the 3/4 views looked pretty good, too, but the front looked so much bigger than what I thought it would be. Even though I knew that this was nowhere near the final outcome, and that it was too early to be super concerned about anything, I was finding it hard to not freak out about what I was seeing. It just looked much more round and a lot wider than I thought it might be, even with swelling present. I also noticed a little bump near the corner of my eye on one side that is pretty visible and that felt hard. I Googled this and saw that it might be something to do with where my bones were broken during surgery (here’s hoping that it’ll go down on its own). But yeah, first day was scary. I even warned my boyfriend that I may have to cry at some point... but I didn’t (and haven’t).
I am 10 days post-op today, and now that a couple of days have passed, I am glad to say that I do feel a lot better about what I’m seeing. My nose is still wide, but it has become at least slightly more defined, which helps me to better appreciate the shape it might be heading towards. It is definitely improving a tiny bit each day, which leads me to believe that it really is just crazy swelling. I am not one of those people who loves their new nose right after cast removal, so I am just trying to accept that and remember that this is perfectly normal. If anything, I’m thinking that it might also mean that I am more likely to enjoy the long-term outcome! I called about the bump (which also looks a little better), and was told that that is normal as well. I do believe that my surgeon has a great aesthetic eye, so I am doing my best to trust in his skill and to have faith that he did what was best for me as an individual. That whole patience virtue that is mentioned a lot around here also requires a lot of practice, since I know that my results will only get better with time. All I can do right now is wait and maintain a positive attitude!
And by the way, nose breathing is not back to normal for me yet. My nostrils are still clearing up a little more each day, but I’ve been breathing through my mouth for the most part. Smelling is not so good, either, which means taste is also not to its pre-op level yet. My nose is very stiff, but it’s slowly becoming easier to move my face around like I used to. I also sneezed for the first time following surgery yesterday and am happy to say that it went off without a hitch. Haha, I know that people might wonder about these types of things and that everyone recovers at a different pace, so hopefully some of you might appreciate this kind of info as well.
I will definitely be updating this as time goes on for you all (Seriously, I promise - if it’s not updated, something has gone wrong.. haha). Unfortunately, though, I’m not sure that I will post whole pictures of myself since I don’t want to risk sending my face into cyberspace and being recognized by someone I may work with in my field. I do apologize for this since I think the best reviews have pictures to go along with them, but alas... I am wussing out in that department. I’ll see what I can do about editing some pictures on my computer so that you can at least see the nose before and after, though. No promises there, however! :p
Sorry for all of the ridiculous detail and length! Hopefully it’s helpful to some of you, and those who don’t want to read the whole thing can look at it in parts or something. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you might have. I will do my best to respond in a timely manner :) Thanks again to all of the fellow sharers on this site!
Alright, so I am two weeks post-op today and am...
- 10 Jul 2012
Three weeks post-op already! I feel pretty good...
- 17 Jul 2012
I saw one of my close friends for the first time after surgery last week. Since I didn't tell her that I was going to be getting a nose job, I was looking forward to seeing what her reaction would be. I thought she would notice or say something right away, but when we met up, she was just talking to me like she would on any other day. I kept laughing because I couldn't believe it, so I finally asked her if she noticed anything different. She looked me up and down and said no, so I finally told her I fixed my nose. She said, "what do you mean?" Haha, so I told her about the nose job, and she said she couldn't even tell, but that it looked good. It's so funny, because it's clearly a significant change, but I guess I still look myself - just improved. :) Now I can't wait to remind my friend of what I was working with before!
And when I do look back now, I realize that my old nose may have been even worse than I thought it was before. I am so happy with the change so far and think that Dr. Shah really knew what was best for me. The guy is good. I officially gotta say today that it's WORTH IT!
I will have my one month follow-up appointment next week and post updated pics at that time as well. :)
One month post-op! Can’t believe it. Time goes...
- 27 Jul 2012
I saw Dr. Shah for my one month follow-up earlier this week, and everything went well. He told me that I had the type of swelling that he would expect to see at two weeks into recovery, so I guess I’ve got some stubborn swelling. The doc was also examining my nose for a few minutes and after some debate, decided that he would go ahead and give me another kenalog injection. Luckily, it didn’t hurt as bad this time!
In a way, I was glad to hear that I am still so swollen, because then I know that I can still expect to see a lot of improvement. From farther away, I do think that my nose still looks a little more wide than I would prefer, especially in the tip - so I’ll look forward to seeing it narrow out a bit.
My bridge is definitely starting to become more defined, though! As the swelling goes down, I can notice and feel some asymmetry, though it’s nothing major. It almost feels like the bones are healing with some notches here and there, but at this point, I’m not super concerned about it. Dr. Shah actually brought up the little bump at the top of my bridge without me mentioning it at my appointment. It has definitely come down a lot since the time that I first noticed it, but still feels like a small little flat spot that shouldn’t be there. He told me that even though it’s hard, it is cartilage, and that he expects that it will go away. It’s hard to see in the picture I posted, but it’s just barely noticeable in person, and sometimes creates the illusion of a dent underneath it. Dr. Shah said that it was kind of distracting, and I kind of agree - though we might be the only two to notice it! Haha... we will monitor that through time, and if it is still a problem later on down the line, the doctor said that he can use a needle to help break it up in the office as early as 6 months post-op. We shall see!
Overall, though - I’m pretty happy with how I’m healing! I think that my new nose is so much better than what I had before, and it feels so good not to have to worry about what angle people are looking at me from anymore. The few concerns I do have are minor, and I am confident that Dr. Shah will be helpful in addressing them in the case that they do persist. :)
I tried to add updated pictures, but it’s unfortunately not allowing me to right now. Will add new ones as soon as I find that it’s working again!
Okay, just added some new pictures of my results...
- 31 Jul 2012
I’ll update again at the two month mark. :)
Welp, I officially passed the two month mark this...
- 28 Aug 2012
Things are going pretty well. Healing has still been slow, but I can tell that some improvement has occurred over the past month. The swelling feels like it has gotten better in the tip, but I am still feeling a lot of stiffness there, so it’s clear that there is quite a ways to go in that department. Just below the tip also still feels numb, but the feeling is slowly coming back there as well. Breathing has improved a lot over the past month, which I think has been the best part!
When it comes to the little concerns I had mentioned earlier, I have seen improvement in some areas, but not so much in the others. The little bump at the top of my bridge is now pretty much gone, which is good. I still feel some unevenness in the bridge itself, though. Now that the swelling has gone down, I can feel the bones better, and it still seems to me like something didn’t heal quite right. It’s hard for me to explain, but it feels almost like little pieces of bone didn’t stay where they were supposed to in the healing process. It’s not totally visible, but I do see a decent amount of difference in the two sides of my nose in the oblique view, and I wonder if this may be related to that bridge issue. I again don’t feel like this is a big concern, but I will be watching that closely to see what happens there as time goes on.
I added a new picture of the most recent results. They look almost the same as the one month pictures to me, although it does feel better in person. I guess there’ll be more to look forward to in the coming months!
My next post-op appointment with Dr. Shah is scheduled for next week, so I will make sure to let you all know how that goes. Feel free to ask any questions in the meantime!
Just filling y’all in on how my appointment went...
- 11 Sep 2012
Dr. Shah also examined my bridge a bit while I was there, and told me that “filing” could be an option down the line if there is still some unevenness there. It would be an in-office procedure and wouldn’t require a cast, according to Dr. Shah. We talked a bit about how that might work, but also said that if we went through with that step, that it wouldn’t happen until next summer. That was just fine with me! The little irregularity that is in the bridge as I have said before is not a big concern to me, but I do pay attention to it at times. I was glad to hear Dr. Shah recognize it without me even bringing it up, and to hear that he would want to do something about it if need be. I guess we’ll see how everything looks as the swelling continues to go down. I’ll check in with Dr. Shah on Skype early in October, and then see him in person again in November or December.
For now, though - I am so proud of myself for, and happy about, going through with this!
Hey, everyone. It’s been a little while, so I...
- 13 Nov 2012
My 3 month follow-up took place via Skype and went just fine. Dr. Shah said he still expected my tip to go down a lot and asked me to come in for another kenalog injection for our next appointment. I went in to the office last week (around 4 and half months post-op) and did get another round of shots. It’s crazy how much of a difference they can make! Just within a day or two I could tell that my tip was a lot less stiff than it had been in the weeks prior to the injection. It definitely shows me that I’ve still got a ways to go in the swelling department.
The little bridge irregularities are still there, but have not gotten any worse. As time goes on, I am actually loving my new nose more and more. Looked back on some old pictures recently, and I really could not be more happy about going through with this surgery! I look and feel so much better now than I did before, and I’d call that a major success. :) I’ll post new pictures closer to the six month mark.
Happy new year, RSers! I meant to update at around...
- 19 Jan 2013
I know that I STILL have a pretty decent amount of waiting to do before I can see the true results that are hiding underneath the residual swelling I have. You can see in my new pics that my nose has refined quite a bit in the past few months, though. I’m loving it more and more as it becomes cuter from the front, but the swelling in my tip seems to be stubborn. I saw Dr. Shah last month, but he decided against injecting my nose again this time around. I have a Skype appointment with him late next month, and will see him in person again in early April, so we’ll see what news I have then.
Nothing really new with the slight irregularities in the bridge. Dr. Shah discussed the rasping option with me again in previous appointments, so my guess is that I’ll have to go in for that sometime in the summer if nothing changes. As you can see in the pics, though, it’s still not super noticeable, so I’m fine with waiting that out. I’m still really happy about my decision to do this and pleased with how everything is coming along.
I’ll probably update after my appointment in April, but feel free to ask any questions in the meantime. I still check the website pretty regularly :)
About 9 and a 1/2 months post-op. Not a whole lot...
- 16 Apr 2013
I saw Dr. Shah almost 2 weeks ago and he said that one side seems to have more swelling than the other. He skipped injecting my nose again, though. That’s just fine, but I am anxious to eventually see what is hiding underneath the swelling! As you can see in my most recent pictures, the tip does look uneven in some ways, so I want to know how big of a part the swelling is playing. Since the tip seems to be kinda leaning (for lack of a better term) to one side, I also put up a frontal picture of my nose while smiling for you all to see. I’m still happy with how my nose is looking overall, but it’s something that I noticed and that I therefore thought was worth mentioning.
During the appointment, Dr. Shah again mentioned the possibility of rasping when I’m closer to one year post-op. I’ll check in with him via Skype next month to talk about whether there’s been any changes in the bridge, then probably go in to the office again in June. Will keep you all updated, of course. :) I suppose that’s all for now, though!
My Doctor: Anil R. Shah, MD
I think Dr. Shah is an amazingly talented and skilled surgeon, and I have not had a problem with placing my trust in him throughout this process. The staff in his office are also very friendly and helpful, and I have had an overall very positive experience with everyone in Dr. Shah's office up to this point.