African American Rhino - Miami, FL

I had been thinking about having rhinoplasty...

I had been thinking about having rhinoplasty on/off since I was about 15 years old. A few weeks shy of turning 26, I finally got the courage to go through with the procedure. It took a couple years of research to choose a doctor. I tried finding a surgeon in my area, but ultimately decided to travel out of state to Dr. Roger Pielet. I'm so glad that I made the decision. I am currently 3 months post op and really like my results so far.
I plan on creating a website/blog about my experience to serve as a guide for other African Americans considering the procedure, since there are so few stories on the internet.

Before/After

Before/After

I included a couple of random pictures so you can see my progress. My goal from surgery was to address width in my nasal bones, tip, and also to define my bridge more.

another photo

Making the decision

I realized I never posted about my decision making process, the procedure, or my recovery. I figured I would elaborate a little :)...

It took me a while to choose a surgeon. I consulted with several in my area and even did a few phone consults. Most of the people I consulted with didn’t seem experienced enough in ethnic rhinoplasty. The only surgeons I felt would be a good choice was Dr. Pielet and Dr. Boahene. I had really liked the before/after results of both, but ended up choosing Dr. Pielet. I consulted with him in the summer of 2012 over the phone, but did not actually go through the procedure until June 2013.

Throughout the year, I periodically would e-mail questions to his patient care coordinator Caryle, who was very helpful throughout the entire process. She shared her own experiences with surgery and also put me in touch with one of Dr. Pielet’s former patients. What really made me make up my mind, was speaking with his former patient who showed me her before/after pictures. Upon speaking her, I finally decided I was ready to go through with the procedure. To finance the surgery, I took out a personal loan with WF (I know, I know :-s..aleady paid half of it back).

The only person I talked to about having surgery, was my fiancé. I wasn’t sure how my family would feel about it or if they would try to talk me out of it, so I just kept it between me and him. To keep travel costs down, I decided to travel to Miami alone (plus my fiancé couldn’t get off work). In retrospect, I wish I would have him come or had one of my relatives come with me. It is nice to have the emotional support and someone to talk to in person.

The procedure...

I arrived in Miami on a Thursday for my pre-op appointment. Leading up to pre-op I started having doubts about going through with procedure and wondered if I was doing the right thing. However, after meeting Dr. Pielet, speaking with Caryle and some of Dr. Tachmes’s staff I felt a lot more confident about my decision. Several members of Dr. Tachmes’s staff told me they had their noses done by Dr. Pielet. Seeing their results helped put me at ease.

The day of the surgery, I was very anxious. I was the last patient of the day and I couldn’t eat anything prior to. I didn’t end up having surgery until after 3pm. Once I got on the operating chair, I don’t remember anything other than getting an IV stuck in my arm, then waking up. Once I woke up, I felt a dull aching pain in my nose. It didn’t exactly hurt hurt but it was an uncomfortable feeling. Since I traveled alone I paid to have a nurse stay with me for the night ($200, and then nurse care was coordinated by Dr. Tachmes’s staff). The nurse took me back to my hotel which was about 5-10 minutes from the surgery center (Hotel 18). Once I got back to my room, I took 2 percocet and within an hour or so, didn’t feel the dull aching pain anymore. That was actually the only time, I took any pain medication during the entire recovery. On this day, I did notice some bleeding from my nose when I would stand up but this stopped within 24 hours.

When I woke up the next day, I felt fine. I didn’t have any real issues going to sleep. A lot of people mention not being able to breathe out of your nose. I was able to, to a degree. It’s like when you have a cold, in your nose is congested—you can still breath out of it but not as fully. For this reason, tried to breath mostly out of my mouth. My nurse left around noon, as she saw I was able to get up, walk around, take a shower. The only side effect I still from the anesthesia, was that I felt tired after standing up for too long. Thoughout that day, I did make it a point to take a couple of walks outside. I mostly stayed in watching tv. I was actually pretty bored, because I didn’t really feel that bad. I felt like I should be out enjoying Miami, but knew I couldn’t.
I did however have a sore throat that day (which lasted up until day 4). Smiling and laughing felt uncomfortable (though you have surgery on your nose, the whole lower half of your face is somewhat affected..this lasted for about 10-12 days but after week 1 you notice it less). Chewing hard foods was also difficult (chips, cookies, tough meats). During the first week I recommend soft foods that don’t require a lot of chewing.

Flying home...

I traveled home that Sunday on day 2 post op. Staying in hotels is expensive and since I traveled alone, I knew I would feel lonely after a couple days. I really wanted to do the rest of my recovery in my own home.

I left my hotel at 3:30 in the morning to make a 5am flight in Ft. Lauderdale. When I woke up that day, I finally started to notice under-eye swelling and bruising. Actually my whole face kind of swelled by the time I got to the airport. I looked pretty cray cray, and would have been helpful if I had brought a hat and some sunglasses. But, I didn’t really care that much if people stared at me. I just wanted to get home and did not want to stay couped up in a hotel another day.

I know there is some conflicting opinions on flying after having rhinoplasty. When I asked a question about this on this site several months before the surgery, several doctors said I would be fine but may have some slight discomfort or a nose bleed due to the dry air on the plane. Other doctors said don’t take the risk AT ALL due it being so early in the recovery process. When I spoke with Dr. Pielet about it, he said flying right after the surgery would likely be fine if I was not experiencing any issues. He just mentioned I should use my nasal spray. I flew from Ft. Lauderdale to Charlotte which takes about 1.5 hours and felt totally fine. I had no pain, discomfort, or bleeding. I didn’t even use my saline spray. I guess in my case it all worked out. But I also was not in any pain, experiencing bleeding, or any other discomfort prior to taking the flight. If I had any of those things going on I would have stayed in FL longer..

Rest of recovery and cast removal

Once I got back home to NC, my recovery was pretty smooth. Like I mentioned earlier, laughing, chewing, and smiling felt weird but I had no pain or bleeding what so ever. I actually got a little stir crazy by day 4. I couldn't wait to get back to work.

I actually scheduled an appointment with a local EMT in my area who used to perform rhinoplasty surgeries. He was actually more than happy to remove my cast for me, even though he was not the one to perform my surgery. Having the blue stitches at the bottom of my nose removed definitely hurt a little bit. My eyes teared up as he removed the last couple of stitches but it wasn’t too bad. When he finally removed the cast and I stared at myself in the mirror, the first thing I thought was “whoa”. It was not good way necessarily. My nose looked super compressed looking but also really swollen and kind of short and upturned.

I remember having a conversation with Caryle prior to having my surgery, and she told me when you first get your cast removed just remember that you are going to have A LOT of swelling and you are NOT going to see your final results. She mentioned when she first had her cast removed, she felt so-so about her nose which in all honesty was how I felt—to say the least. In the back of my mind, I was kind of like holy sh*t, what in the world did I do. I remember I couldn’t wait to leave the EMT’s office, so I could sit in my car and look at myself more closely. I stared at myself in mirror, and noticed some of that initial swelling from the cast removal had dissipated. I was kind of able to get a glimpse of my new results. It was my old nose but smaller and more feminine. My nasal bones were definitely not as wide and my bridge was more defined. I took a couple of pictures (see the 1st attached pic)

Then I proceeded to go to work. Why I don’t know..I was so bored with being the house..By the time I got to my desk, I looked like the 2nd picture attached...

When they say you should not return to work until day 10ish… That is why. You have insane on/off swelling the first 2 weeks.

The remaining pictures are from day 5-10..My nose was very swollen, short, and upturned. My advice is to take off work at least a week..but ideally 10 days. I had my surgery on my Friday, the 14th and should have not returned to work until the Monday, the 24th. It’s really worth taking the time off.

the pictures referenced above

for whatever reason pictures didn't upload. I attached them to this post.

Around 12-14 days post op

You can really see a difference here. Finally at this point some of the swelling started to go down. I could say at this point I got a glimpse of my early results.

another photo

9 months post

It's been a long time since I updated. I am pretty close to being 9 months post and it seems like so long ago I did the surgery. At this point, I would say I am happy with my nose and I don't regret having the procedure AT ALL. The only thing, I am thinking about tweaking is my nostrils, and that's a pretty painless procedure from what I've heard. Other than that, all is good.

9 months post pics

Chicago Plastic Surgeon

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