44 Years Old Underwent Revision Rhinoplasty in Baltimore with Dr. Le

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I was one of those kids that breathed through my...

I was one of those kids that breathed through my mouth and carried a Kleenex everywhere. In an attempt to aid my breathing, a pediatric ENT removed my adenoids at the age of six to no avail. As a 12-year old I underwent septoplasty, turbinate reduction and polyp removal (there was more, but I was too young to understand the details). My breathing was only marginally improved. As an adolescent I became very self-conscious of the appearance of my nonfunctional nose. It was wide with a bulbous tip. Looking back, I think the previous surgeries led to a shortening of my septum. The result was that my tip hung lower than my septum. As you can imagine, my profile was odd. I had rhinoplasty as a 17-year old, which was supposed to restore my breathing and improve my appearance. The surgery initially appeared successful, but within a year imperfections became apparent. I ended up with a nose that had clearly been “done.” It was overly rotated, short and too small for my face. Without tipping my head back, my nostrils were completely visible. I called it “my length-wise pig snout.” I had a unilateral open vault (one side of the bridge protruded), a saddle-nose, and my tip was a completely asymmetrical. One side of the tip had buckled and collapsed. My nostrils were different sizes and my septum was visibly deviated. And still, I did not breath very well.

I tried to convince myself that it was not as bad to other people as it was to me. I told myself that I was just focused on it. But it became difficult to pretend as I was periodically asked about it. I had to see an ENT for a sinus infection, and without prompting he suggested I fix it. He said he could tell it had been done the moment he walked into the room. I could not afford to fix it since I was a student, but I did get another opinion at that time from a plastic surgeon. This surgeon told me that he did not want to do it, that I needed someone that specializes in noses, and that could provide extensive follow up (I was getting ready to move since I was graduating). He warned me that this type of surgery was one that needed to be taken very seriously. I still felt I was attractive with my strange nose, and put it on the back burner. But as I continued to get older, my nose looked worse and worse. Periodically a friend would ask me if I had had a nose job. In pictures, the asymmetry was undeniable. But I could not afford to fix it, so it was moot.

Finally, I was in a place where surgery was possible, and I sought opinions again. After much research, I went to three different surgeons in the state where I lived at the time. Not only did I get three different suggestions, each surgeon also warned me against doing what the previous surgeon had suggested as the fix. I got nervous. I needed this surgery to be the last, and I did not know who to trust. These consults were hard on my self-esteem. One physician referred to my nose as “deformed.” One doctor told me that I had clearly had rhinoplasty and that “this surgery was not a success.” He suggested the last surgeon had committed medical malpractice and wanted his name. I put the revision off, afraid I would make my “deformed” nose even worse, and in the meantime avoided pictures and mirrors. I unexpectedly moved again shortly after, and after settling decided to continue my search.

I was now in a large metropolitan area (DC-Baltimore), near several teaching hospitals with excellent reputations, and thought I might have better luck with surgeons. Again, I did a lot of research. I looked at schools, training, websites, forums, and I asked other doctors. Again, I found that each physician had a very different idea of how to fix my nose. I read about Dr. Le on RealSelf, and the descriptors of him and his surgical style persuaded me to get a consult. I was initially put off by his consultation charge. Dr. Le charges per hour for consultations, and the ultimate cost is in the hundreds (I think I paid approximately $400). I felt like I was committing without even meeting him by fronting that type of money in the beginning. Also, there was a wait to see him. It was quite a few weeks before he could see me, and I felt some urgency to finally get this surgery over with. Odd, considering how long I had already waited, but it was just how I felt. But I knew that if I was going to go under the knife again, I needed to make absolutely sure I had the right surgeon for me. I felt compelled to get a consultation from him since revision rhino is his speciality, and decided to eat the consultation charge, wait and meet him. I am glad that I did.

The consultation is extensive. Dr. Le took copious notes. He asked and listened to exactly what I did and did not like about my nose. He set my expectations and explained what could be done. He is meticulous. He has a clear drive for precision. But he is also very kind and his demeanor is gentle. He did not put me down or make me feel bad about my (then) current appearance. He focused solely on what could be “better” based on how I defined “beauty.” He made himself very clear. He wanted to see photos of my nose before my previous cosmetic surgery. After the consultation, Dr. Le sent digital images and another very thorough email re-capping what we had discussed. He was also very upfront about the cost. That was very important to me. Other physicians I had seen were never definitive on what my charges would be. I did not feel like Dr. Le hid the ball in anyway. He was slightly more expensive than other doctors in the area, but still completely reasonable. When you consider the time he invests, I would guess he actually collects much less for his time than other doctors. Based on the other consults I had (and I had a total of nine over more than ten years), he spent 3-4 hours where other doctors spend 1.

Just like booking the consultation, booking the surgery date took some time. He books out, and I thought that was probably a good sign. We met again pre-operatively to review the plan of action. This was also an extensive process. Dr. Le is very detail-oriented and ensures he and his patients are on the same page. Because his surgeries are long, he only operates in an actual hospital. This adds some expense, but considering the surgery length (approximately 8 hours for me), I would not have felt safe in a surgical center. The first night post-op was rough. I was very nauseated. I probably should have spent the night in the hospital, and I could have for only a few hundred dollars. I just thought I would prefer to be home. If I had to do it over again, I would stay there where a nurse could tend to me. The pain was manageable with medication. Because my previous surgeries were so long ago, I had no medical records, and Dr. Le was figuratively going in blind. Dr. Le thought (80% chance) that he could just use ear cartilage to patch, but said there was a chance there would not be enough usable cartilage and he would have to take rib cartilage. I was lucky and one ear sufficed. It seems like the ear was more sore than my nose, but again the pain was manageable. The most uncomfortable part of the surgery was that I had an allergic reaction to the adhesive on the splint. The skin on my nose was itching terribly. I called Dr. Le over the weekend because of this, and pretty much we spoke over the phone everyday until I ended up following up in the office. He was receptive and available throughout, and was more than willing to see me early (even offered to come to the office over the weekend). We took the splint off early and the allergic reaction calmed down on its own. This, by the way, was a very rare reaction and did not harm my results in anyway.

It is 5 months since my surgery. My nose looks totally natural. No one would ever know all that has been done to this nose. It looks a lot like my mother’s nose. I do not notice my nose in pictures anymore. I do not worry what side of my face is showing when someone takes a photograph. I do not apply makeup specifically the draw attention away from it. It is just there - a normal, symmetrical, attractive nose. People, in general, do not realize why I look better. They comment that I “look really good,” but do not identify why. I do breath better, not perfectly, but much better. I am able to breath through my nose, though I think I mouth-breath out of habit now.

Dr. Le requires follow-up. This nose is his work of art. He seems invested and protective of his work, and he wants to keep a close eye on the healing process. I have followed-up a few times now, and on one visit I got filler. I have gotten filler many times, and this was one of the only times I have not bruised. He is so careful in everything he does. He spends the extra time to get it right. I have spent so much time with Dr. Le now, I feel like I really know him pretty well. I can tell you that he is a very genuine person and dedicated surgeon. He strives to perfect his craft and I have the utmost respect for him.

Long story short, I recommend Dr. Le 100%. I am glad that I waited to find the right doctor for me. I have no regrets. I am totally comfortable and confident suggesting that he will do a great job for you. Good luck!
Baltimore Facial Plastic Surgeon

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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