I started off with a crooked nose that had a...
I started off with a crooked nose that had a severely deviated septum but normal tip cartilage. In 2009 I had surgery with a closed approach that involved trying to straighten out my nose and septum. This ended as a big fail as my septum reverted crooked and my tip and mid vault became collapsed in on the left hand side. The surgeons' response was to suggest permanent filler bio alcamid, and I never went back to see him again.
I had revision with a different surgeon in 2011 who proposed straightening the septum using the open approach and rebuilding the left side using ear cartilage. Initially it looked better but by 6 months my nose became warped and the grafts showed through, by 2 years post op I had very distressing graft mobility and inflammation that caused me to become depressed and suffer from insomnia, the onlay grafts were used as the surgeon abandoned spreader grafts because he couldn't do them and he just draped cartilage over my nose. My tip was very pinched and asymmetric. My septum was dislocated again and my nose looked far worse.
By this point any naivety or trust in a surgeon's assurance or confidence had gone. I researched extensively and became much more savvy. Previously I hadn't done any proper research or consulted with more than one surgeon. In addition I chose my surgeon for primary and first revision based on how local they were and didn't understand that skill level could vary so much.
For my second revision I consulted in person with 3 prominent surgeons in Europe and on-line with Dr Anil Shah. I was very worried about travelling from the UK to the US and didn't think that I could cope or afford the surgery but I knew of many successful Dr Gruber patients. After consulting with Dr Gruber via telephone consult I instantly felt that he was my surgeon, despite having not met him in person. I don't know why but it was a feeling that I didn't feel with any other surgeon that I consulted with. I travelled from the UK to San Francisco which is a long flight.
Dealing with his office was always a pleasure and they couldn't of been more helpful to me.
My operation lasted 4.5 hours and was extensive, the horrid mobile onlay grafts I had previously were removed. I had my internal and external valve and tip cartilages completely reconstructed and my septum had extensive work to straighten it. Ear and septal cartilage was used. My skin was lined with a blanket fascia graft.
Recovery was really, really tough and the journey home was very far from ideal. Now at 5 weeks I am recovering from an abscess that caused me to be hospitalised for 2 days and Dr Gruber has been incredibly concerned and supportive.
My results...... the redness from the inflamed grafts is gone and my skin although not perfect as it had been damaged has calmed down completely. No more angry red areas of inflammation. The shape is really amazing and symmetrical and my tip looks like it did originally before being butchered. It looks like a normal nose which considering what it like before is nothing short of a miracle. My insomnia and depression has gone. My family are so happy to have the old me back.
Doctor Gruber's age did concern me but not enough to not go ahead with my surgery and as soon as I met him, it was not an issue.
Post Op Complication
18 Oct 2013
2 months post
I seem to have very bad luck. I developed an infection that developed an abscess after having it drained with a needle a month ago, and a week ago and a month of antibiotics it made no difference.
I saw Mr Matti in London Harley Street, who I previously saw for two consultations and he remembered me. He diagnosed a suture granuloma, which under local anaesthetic he removed. He injected the local anaesthetic through my mouth into my nose, I had numbing creme up my nose so the only part that hurt was injecting into my mouth.
The swelling is immense on the right side of my nose and cheek and normal on the other side so I look very distorted, it's still numb today. The external lump on the skin may take a time to go down.
swollen nostril after removal of granuloma from infection
22 Oct 2013
2 months post
I couldn't post a whole face photo as I looked awful. I went into a bit of a dark place since last Thursday due to the awful swelling . Fast forward to Tuesday and my lopsided swelling has gone done a lot. Enough that I don't look noticeably distorted. I emailed Dr Gruber upset at the weekend and he emailed Mr Matti who personally phoned me but I missed his call. I saw him today and he was very reassuring and said that the red lump externally will go down but it may take months for resolution. He said he couldn't see a stitch when he excised the lump and really doesn't not think there is one there. He does not anticipate taking the graft out. Everything feels very distorted to me, I can feel the outline of the graft and the whole area is red. Hope time can be a great healer for me. The photo shows how swollen my nostril was.
Healing from post op complication - 3 weeks after excision of granuloma
30 Oct 2013
2 months post
My nostril swelling has come down a lot. I was unbelievably distorted due to the asymmetrical swelling. Thank you to all the people who were supportive and gave great practical advice. It was much appreciated. Externally there is inflammation around the graft but Mr Matti is sure that it will come down. I have seen him twice and am due to see him in two weeks as the area still has not healed up completely. This is a bit worrying as he said if it still hasn't healed he may have to do something, what? I have no idea. He is liaising with Dr Gruber and keeping him informed.
another posing photo
30 Oct 2013
2 months post
This is a flattering photo of me. Some days I can looks so rough. Also I am having a problem with my skin including redness and spots over my cheeks, nose and forehead and I am afraid it is rosacea. I am 35 next week and the whole nose saga has been going on since I turned 31. I hope that I can not lose any more of my life to being sad about my nose. So I am sharing a nice picture for my self esteem.
Flying back to San Francisco on Thursday, Dr Gruber is going to surgically explore what's causing infection/inflammation
I don't feel I can prolong the inevitable. I have to be opened up to find out what's causing this as it's something internal i.e. stitch, graft infected. I don't really want anyone else but my own surgeon messing about in there and although I have now got a nice NHS ENT consultant on my case I can't keep being told to keep taking antibiotics. I stopped taking them for 2 days as I thought they were useless - big mistake my nose has really flared up and pain really increased. I will update on Thursday and let you know how I get on.
painful inflamed cartilage graft
I hope this area will end up healing well.
Back from San Fran, yet another removal of a second lump by Gruber
19 Nov 2013
3 months post
I flew out last Thursday and saw Dr Gruber the same day. He removed the lump, which he said was like a cyst, the day before a doctor had called it a boil and when Mr Matti removed a previous growth he diagnosed that as a pyogenic granuloma. He didn't think there was an active infection until he injected directly with local anaesthetic and he said it sunk in which showed there was fluid behind the growth which was why it was so painful! A culture was taken (cost $400). I had no swelling like I had with previous excision at all and my nose was not distorted so I felt comfortable going out.
He said that being on antibiotics for the past 6 weeks was a bad idea. This was prescribed by the original ENT who discharged me from his care while I had an abscess/growth. I left Gruber's office and had saw a voicemail from the UK telling me to call re. results of swab taken in the ER a week and a half previously. I called on Friday and it showed a pseudomonas infection. Well I've been on antibiotics that treat staph and strep, not pseudomonas. I stopped taking the antibiotics. I am so annoyed. I have had a previous culture but it was when the area was dry so no blood or yellow discharge. Three ER visits - first time with 3 days in hospital on IV, three trips to London to see Mr Matti (including traumatic lump removal) and 4 appointments with ENT and last one with a new consultant who was much better and finally all the way back to the US and another surgical excision and culture which showed pseudomonas and a yeast infection. Dr Gruber prescribed two types of creme and the hospital want me to pick up a prescription for the correct antibiotic but Dr Gruber said I do not need an antibiotic.
Well my nose has calmed down, still over all red and have the external lump but the pain immediately improved upon removal of lump and drainage. I have external inflammation but inside seems to be healing, but I can't say 100% that it's going. I am going to take antibiotics as I can't take any chances with this. My poor daughters have had me out of action for months due to op and infection, when I think about this it absolutely breaks my heart.
Dr Gruber said that everything will settle and the inflamed side and redness will all subside. He double checked the cavity where the infection was to see that it hadn't filled up with a special tool.
One other thing which I have found difficult is that being outside when my nose tip is very cold and red at the tip. I find this stressful and worrying. I hope this improves.
Thanks for all the messages of support. I will update in a month or so and hope to say everything is healing well.
Infection has finally gone and nasal membrane healing
After I came back from the lump removal with Dr Gruber a few days later more necrotic stuff came out of the excised area. It took 6 weeks of the correct antibiotic to halt the infection. The lining of my nose was really damaged and painful and I had burning and stinging as there was exposed areas. I finally feel so much better and things internally are healing. Externally there is still a lump and then a dent but it's smoothed out to a small degree and the skin is red but I can cover this with make up. Hopefully with time it will smooth out more.
My skin was clear before my revision and after a few weeks after revision coinciding with infection my skin became really bad. Acne/rosacea all over my face and nose. Been on meds for a week and it's more or less completely cleared up.
My advice would be for anyone who has a post op infection get the infected fluid tested to identify the bacteria to make sure you get the right antibiotics straight away.
What is going on? pain back, inflammation back too!
17 Feb 2014
6 months post
I am miserable again, pressure feeling on bridge which has been there since start of revision but got worse and severe redness and inflammation come back on strong. I look hideous. Whatever happens with future healing I am going to have a scarred, red lump on the side of my nose. I would do anything to live without constant pain. It is debilitating.
inside painful nostril
17 Feb 2014
6 months post
Other nostril feels great, very normal even with alar rim graft. This nostril is inflamed and painful.
I had a consult with a surgeon to examine my painful alar area, possible reaction to suture
20 Feb 2014
6 months post
I saw a nice surgeon who examined me and read my op report. I don't have any exposed cartilage which is a relief. He was a little critical of some of the sutures used and said that that he wouldn't of used them. Some absorbable sutures can hang around a long time, they dissolve a lot in the first few weeks then remnants remain for months. I have a lot of vicryl and pds sutures and pds can last 200 days. Also vicryl can cause infection and inflammation.
He said it could be some dead cartilage or a stitch still hanging around, stitches can harbour bacteria and as they are not living tissue bacteria on the suture or dead cartilage will not be treated with antibiotics. Its a waiting game and to leave it and see if it heals, I may develop an abscess again in the future. There is a lot of redness on the side where I had a batten graft and I think thats a reaction to the sutures.
Things finally settling.
26 Apr 2014
8 months post
In the lasts week I haven't had any pain it's as though my healing has had a turbo boost. Still have barely covered edge of cartilage in nostril but the external lump has smoothed out.