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Extreme Makeover Part 2 - Pretoria, South Africa

My story is pretty typical of others I have seen...

My story is pretty typical of others I have seen on this site - I have never really liked my nose, I think it is too big for my face. It is also crooked, which I think may be a result of a past injury, and the crookedness is really noticeable in photos as it casts odd shadows across my face. So after wanting to change it for many years I am finally going for it.
I also decided that since I am taking time off for recovery anyway I might as well do the other thing I've always wanted - which is to (hopefully) turn an apple into an hourglass :-) Hence my title. The lipo is happening before the rhino (to avoid hurting the new nose) and I will write a separate review about that.

I decided to write a review particularly because I have had such a tough time researching surgeons here in South Africa. There is just not much info online, you have to ask people for word of mouth recommendations (which I really hated doing). So after a fairly long searching process I decided on the Nose Clinic in Pretoria. The surgeon is an ENT who superspecialised in aesthetic nasal surgery. He only does noses, every day. He is registered with the relevant SA boards and also a member of the American AFPRS.

When I went for the consult I found him to be very kind and friendly. He did an examination and took pictures for morphing. He is also going to fix my deviated septum (so this is a septorhinoplasty really). I also discovered that he only does 1 case per day - which I think is good as it means things won't be rushed in order to get the next person done. All in all I am pretty happy with my choice. He was definitely not the cheapest surgeon I looked at but I think a good first result is well worth it, and much cheaper than needing a revision later!
Right now it is a bit more than a week to go and I am getting pretty scared. I am also a bit undecided as to what looks best. In addition to fixing the crookedness I wanted my nose deprojected and a little upturned. He didn't want to take it back too much as he says I have a strong chin and it will look odd if the nose is too small. Initially I agreed but now I am worried that the change will be too subtle and I will still feel like my nose dominates my face. I have put up the pics of the morph. The middle one is his suggestion and the right hand one is my changes (using photoshop so not a proper morph - but I am talking about the aesthetics of the nose here and not the practicalities of what can be done with my anatomy.) Basically I'm trying to decide if I should ask him to be more aggressive than we originally agreed or not. What do you think?

I am also really worried about recovery. I have not told people that I am doing this. Only my boyfriend and 1 close friend know. My surgery is on a Weds and I am off work until the Mon the week after (12 days) I am really hoping that will be enough as I haven't told anyone at work. Mostly I'm hoping that the bruising will be light enough that I can cover it with makeup. Unfortunately I am very fair skinned so bruising is usually very obvious on me. I considered getting some of that post op cover up makeup but I don't think it comes in a light enough shade, and going with an orange face might look even more weird.

A note on pricing: I was quoted ZAR 49500. I have put it in US dollars at today's exchange rate of $1=ZAR8.40.

Just a few more days to go until the Big Day and I...

Just a few more days to go until the Big Day and I am really nervous now. I am going in for the lipo tomorrow and now I am wondering how I am gonna cope with the recovery, if I'm not putting myself through too much at once.

I must say this site has been really helpful with advice and recommendations. I am all stocked up on pain meds, and arnica for after. I also got some bendy straws and loads of soft foods, and I bought once of those U shaped travel pillows cos I think it might make it easier to sleep propped up at an angle. I usually sleep on my belly so I think I am going to struggle with sleeping post op. I haven't been able to find swiss therapy masks locally, which is a pity cos it seems like they really help. I did get some little gel cooling pads though - I think they will work for icing around the eye area. I also haven't been able to find Bromelain anywhere.

Anyway mostly I am swinging between excitement and fear. I really hope it all goes well and I end up with a result that I love.

Well I had the lipo done yesterday and I'm not...

Well I had the lipo done yesterday and I'm not feeling too bad today. Still fearful and excited about tomorrow though. I have only taken panado and codeine for the lipo pain, I'm avoiding using the Celebrex that they gave me cos I'm scared it will make me bleed worse and bruise worse tomorrow.

I have waited a few days to update this review...

I have waited a few days to update this review because I wanted to think carefully about what to say. I am very angry and disappointed about the whole situation, and initially I wanted to vent the whole story with all the details. However, after some thought I decided it would be better to stick to the relevant points.

I did not have the rhinoplasty as planned as the surgeon cancelled on the day.

He did not cancel for medical or practical reasons, but rather because he changed his mind about doing the procedure. I find the whole thing to be completely bizarre and I have never heard of a surgeon behaving in this way before. His manner on the day was completely different to when we first met, I felt he was rude and dismissive. He said some very insulting things to me that I think were completely unprofessional.
In retrospect when I first searched for information about him the only negative I found online was a previous patient who said he was very arrogant. At the time I thought that might be an exaggeration, now I think it was an understatement.

As much as this has inconvenienced me I am glad I saw this side BEFORE having surgery. I can only imagine how much more unpleasant it would be to discover this after surgery, especially if I had been unhappy with the result.
At least the clinic refunded me in full.

To sum up, I would not recommend this surgeon to anyone. I have had a very negative experience with him, and in my opinion he is both unpredictable and unreliable.
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Comments (17)

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thanks for posting
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After reading this blog, I find myself quite surprised at the first and subsequent response from the medical clinic. This forum as a blog is for one to express their opinion about experiences etc, never once did the lady (ClaireBee) attack the doctors character, actually the doctor's name was not even mentioned in her blog, she only indicates her anger and disappointment. Why is the clinic even responding to this blog? This retaliation makes me wonder even more about the ethics of the clinic. I have read hundreds of medical and different kinds of blogs in general and have never come across this kind of retaliation. Why does the clinic feel the need to prove themselves and retaliate in this nature to a blog where ClaireBee was just expressing her experience? I for one will think twice before I even contemplate using this clinic for any medical procedure. Just the fact that the clinic had the audacity to basically publish a client’s file is worrying, what ever happened to doctor client confidentiality??? After this retaliation I would not trust my files with the clinic in fear that my personal information will be published on the web and my character will get attacked. I didn't feel any kind of attack on the clinic when I read ClaireBee's blog, I felt her frustration. I'm sorry to say but I won't use this clinic for the above reasons.
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Anonymous posting ('expressing an experience'), unfortunately, allows people to lie and spread distortions. No medical files were released, no names, no confidential information; just a correction. Why is that a crime? Robert Fysh.
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Hi Robert,

Thank you for sharing your concerns with us. Your posts were removed because they violated several of our Community Guidelines, as well as our Terms of Service. Specifically, you cannot include contact information or personally identifiable information in posts on RealSelf.

You can read the guidelines here: http://www.realself.com/community-guidelines

We encourage community members to contact their providers when they are unhappy, in addition to sharing their stories here. Everyone should feel safe sharing their experiences on RealSelf, without having their private information revealed by their providers. Claire has shared information related to her experience, and you are certainly welcome to disagree with her. But those objections should be handled professionally, without posting her personal information in a public forum.

Should you have any further questions, please get in touch with us directly: http://help.realself.com/customer/portal/emails/new

Kind regards,

--Sharon

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Sharon, thank you for providing the guidelines. I once moderated a forum - of a more technical nature - for three years. Intervention requires tact, fairness, and firmness. We never permitted visitors to post distortions or unfair attacks on the credibility of persons not in a position to reply or defend their professional reputations against allegations made by disappointed or unhappy visitors to the forum. That consideration, if you want to cultivate a credible, helpful source of information, should be a cornerstone of a forum of this nature. I have known and worked with the surgeon under discussion for 10 years. Not once in this decade have I known him to consciously act against in the best interests of a patient; the patient’s best interest is always his first concern in all his endeavours to treat people in a complex field; and Rhinoplasty is a complex form of 3-D cosmetic surgery. There is none more complicated than that speciality in this field. A second notable characteristic of this surgeon is his willingness to help colleagues in the medical profession. A third; he will never, and never has offered to guarantee a perfect result. In certain cases, he will even turn away patients and discourage surgery if he feels that a patient is looking for perfection. He will also sometimes tell a patient looking for a perfect nose that ‘Perfection is the enemy of a good result. ‘ That’s one of the pointers he picked up through a mentoring process in the United States under some of America’s best known and most successful surgeons, and separately, through advanced courses offered under the auspices of the American Academy of Facial, Plastic and re to Reconstructive Surgery (AAFPRS) of which he is an international member. So, while I have empathy for visitors to your forum, I do not think it ethical for members to pass anonymous, careless, and ill-considered judgments on a surgeon from behind the safety of a user name. Posts like, at worst (in isolated cases), constitute malicious gossip and simply, it is not fair. It certainly does help the cause of the medical profession, or people in that profession genuinely concerned with outcomes and results. To conclude, I did not post personal names, or details that could identify any patient on a public forum. The person concerned could have been one of the many millions in the world who daily go online. If the tone and specificity of the post offended certain visitors, I apologise. Thank you allowing me the courtesy of a reply. I will endeavour to adhere to your guidelines.
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Hi All . Please assist Claire Bee . I was considering using the surgeon as my nose septum was broken by an ENT during a surgery when I was child . I want to go to a plastic surgeon and an ent ..... who else would you suggest ?
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From what I've found out double specialisation in both is uncommon here in SA. Facial plastic surgery as a separate speciality doesn't seem to exist here either, but often ENT's and Plastic surgeons work together so that might be your best bet.
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Bizarre is the same word I use to describe my traumatizing experience with this surgeon. I've been meaning to write about my ordeal for over a year... It's a long story so I'll send you the link when I'm done. It's been a life-altering experience to say the least. I had a similar experience to you but I was there for a revision after he performed the primary rhinoplasty.
I hope you'll find a surgeon who will give you a satisfying result.

Have you read the following?
"Pressure Necrosis and Other Tragedies..." here on Realself as well as Testimonials/Surgical attractions

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Hey Claire! That's so bizarre! Now I know what you meant by your MSG earlier this wk :(. R u ok? You should get your consultation $ back!! How long in advance did you book it and book vaca time etc ? I really like that you're looking at the big picture!! Better to find out now vs after ! Best of luck!
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I'm ok thanks. Just really pissed off because I wanted to get the rhino and lipo done close together so as to only take leave from work once. Now that plan is wrecked. I booked in May.
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i just want to say that getting the nose deprojected changes the look of the nostrils. i had gotten my tip deprojected and my nostrils are more arched now from the front and side - i don't know how they do the deprojection - you should find that out - how everything is done. i wouldn't have done it if i had known my nostrils would look different. i was stupid throughout the whole thing - i didn;t know how anything was going to be done. now im not happy.
But good luck to you lol i'm not trying to put a damper on anything- i just want to warn people now of what could happen.
I really hope you are very happy and you get what you want.
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Thx for sharing! I too used Photoshop to shorten my profile projection. I brought it up in my second consultation and the PS said yes, he could shorten it a little more.... But. Beware. Shortening it too much may look ok in a still but may bring on other issues. As my PS pointed out, PS's understand our born structure and airways. I we push revisions too far, we risk more problems with the outcome, including breathing problems. Definitely bring it up in a second consult :) that way hopefully you'll have you answers without wondering what if :). Both are great outcomes I think!! Best of luck and keep us posted! :)
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Thanks for the comment. I showed the pics to my best friend too and she preferred the more conservative option too. So I'm thinking I'll just play it safe. I'm just wondering if the change won't be too subtle though, and I'll still feel like my nose is too big after.
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Thank you so much for sharing your story so far with us! I do like the option you made in Photoshop. Be care about any scoops or upturning though. You have strong features and that might look strange. I kind of regret the small scoop my PS gave me.

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