2 months post op - Media, PA

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Just want to say thanks for this community! I've...

Just want to say thanks for this community! I've been "lurking" for a couple of years now and appreciate everyone's unique stories and experiences... thanks to those who have reached out and provided valuable advice.

I'm 28 and will be having surgery in October - it's been a wish of mine for a while. I've never been comfortable with my nose and feel it's the first thing people notice about me. It's a combination of my dad's nose (huge, long nostrils) and my mom's nose (bulbous tip). I'm a petite girl so I feel my nose has never fit me well. The front is crooked and both my left and right profiles look extremely different (thank you asymmetry!). I just want a feminine face. :)

I will be taking a week and 2 days off from work and staying nearby. I am in the process of getting supplies but most of that will happen the day before surgery, when I arrive in PA to get settled - getting groceries and such, and laying out pills for the week. I booked an entire apartment/condo on Airbnb which I highly recommend for out of towners like myself. I will have access to a kitchen, a tub, and washer/dryer... I think I'd go crazy in a hotel room and this will feel somewhat like home. I'll be taking care of myself for most of recovery (no family in this part of the country and hoping to keep this procedure to myself), I'm hoping to hire a nursing aide for the first day or so. Netflix and Reddit will keep me occupied for the majority of the recovery process. :)

I can't wait to share my experience once it's all over.

Will add photos soon. Any other advice/tips appreciated!

2+ Week Countdown

Surgery was paid for today! Let the countdown begin. I am more excited than anything but I'm sure nerves will kick in the day before surgery.

I've been touching the tip of my nose frequently while watching TV, working, etc. I guess it's my sense of closure with this nose of mine. :) I can't wait for what's to come.

I also added a photo of what my nose looks like from above. I'm short so I'm sure this is what everyone else sees!

Getting ready...

Let's just say I have been re-reading everyone's experiences post rhinoplasty on RealSelf the last few days. I guess I kind of skipped over many of them initially and went straight to the results. Or maybe it's just me being nervous. I hope I have a speedy and easy recovery but if not, it's best to be prepared for what may come. I made a list of things to get over the next week:

Supplies on hand: U-shaped pillow, extra pillows, q-tips, hydrogen peroxide, straws, bactraycin (plus), lip balm

Supplies to get: prescriptions, arnica gel, cough drops, biotene mouthwash, extra strength tylenol, water bottles, bubble bath, travel size detergent packets, laxative, thermometer

I'm also going to stock up on low sodium and soft foods/drinks like oatmeal, jello, low sodium organic soups, apple sauce, pudding, protein shakes, ginger ale and pineapple juice

I will most likely be on my cycle the day of or after surgery which will make recovery even more pleasant. This is going to be fun.

Time off

Well I think I just about confused everyone at work. A couple of people asked if everything was okay since they saw my 'sick leave' on the group calendar. Mind you, I've had this up for a while. I didn't confirm anything and just said everything was fine. So now, someone thinks I'm flying back home, another person thinks I'm abusing sick leave to do god knows what, and my supervisor knows I am having some sort of surgery. This is brilliant. Hopefully everyone will have created funny stories in their head about my time off and won't even notice the new me. I can live with that.

Less than a week! :)

Tomorrow is the day...

I'm here in Philadelphia awaiting my surgery tomorrow morning. I made it in safely and am settled into the place I'm staying at. The fridge is stocked and supplies are laid out on the kitchen counter. Oh, I even got a humidifier since many others recommended getting one.The only thing I'm really nervous about is the neighborhood, surprisingly. I guess I'm in a bad part of Philly! Oh well, I'll just be taking it easy for the next week. I doubt I'll get out much and don't want to draw too much attention to myself here. I do have an aide for the night and for the day of surgery. In hindsight, I should have asked a relative to stay with me for the week who is a nurse.

I have to be at the surgery center at 615 tomorrow morning so it will be somewhat of an early night. I look forward to just a week of recovery and already have a number of things to watch on Netflix. This is something I've wanted for so long and it's finally happening tomorrow! The great thing is my cycle came earlier than expected so I won't have to deal with it much this week.

Alright, enough of my pre-surgery ramblings. Signing off!


Surgery went well this morning. I arrived around 615 and left around noon. Surgery started after 730 and I'm told went on longer than expected. I don't remember much after being wheeled into the operating room. I had a strange dream about the NYC subway system, of all things! Waking up, I felt extremely dizzy but the nurses pre and post surgery made things so pleasant! They really do go a long way to make you comfortable. As soon I arrived back to the place where I am staying, I went directly into the bedroom and rested for about an hour. I'm now on the couch in the TV room just taking it easy, watching the evening news and frequently changing the drip pad... I'm so glad I hired an aide to help out. She has done a wonderful job so far! It will be interesting to see what tomorrow will be like! I've been drinking plenty of water and pineapple juice. I've also had cottage cheese and apple sauce to snack on.

The next day...

So far, so good! I thought recovery would be quite painful but I'm doing surprisingly well. The bleeding has decreased and my eyes are very puffy (I still don't see much bruising). Even my lips look swollen! And... of course my nose is extremely fat which is kind of discouraging but I know it's just swelling. Patience is key. My nose is stuffy but I think I'm used to breathing out of my mouth now.

Time to pop some pills.

Follow up

Had my first follow up this morning to get my nose cleaned out. Judging from the photo, it doesn't look like it. :)

Took a laxative this morning since I haven't gone in a while and now my stomach is cramping.

Still very swollen, you can see how bulbous the tip still is. Can't wait until the swelling stops. Love the shape already and can only imagine how it will look after the puffiness subsides.

3 days

Slept almost all morning and afternoon today! The yellow tinge has finally arrived around my eyes... guess this is the last stage of bruising? I have chubby cheeks but I feel they are especially round because of swelling. I love the way my nose looks from the top - looks straighter! The tip still appears to be extremely bubble-like... probably my biggest reason for getting this procedure. I just have to remember I have thick skin and it may take longer to heal. Wish I could just fast forward to the final result. :) I have been trying to ween myself off the pain meds but it has not been working. I eventually give in... my nose starts to feel tighter and hotter and I just have to take that pill. I am going to try sleeping a little more elevated the next few days and hope this will have some effect on swelling. I notice I'm usually flat on my back when I wake up. I'm so used to sleeping on my stomach so it's been difficult adjusting to different sleeping positions.

4 days

Slept in again until noon. Hoping to get up super early to go to the grocery store tomorrow and get a couple of things. I'm getting bored with all the healthy food in the fridge. I'm hoping if I go early enough , I can avoid the public! My face is currently a grease fest. Facial wipes have come in handy but I miss using my clarisonic. I can't wait to see what icky stuff is going to be under this cast.

4 days


Day 5

I don't know what I was thinking yesterday. I had grown tired of eating oatmeal, apple sauce and cottage cheese every day (probably because none of these had left a significant taste in my mouth). Anyway, I went all out and ordered a margherita pizza for delivery... turned on the Netflix, got comfortable on the couch, took one bite, and... couldn't taste anything. Yeah, I don't know what I was thinking. At least the texture was different?

This is what I looked like to the delivery pizza man yesterday. I didn't want him to see the bottom of my nose. I still look the same today, except without the drip pad.

Can't wait until I get my sense of taste back. Until then, I guess it gives me an excuse to continue eating healthy since I can't really taste anything.

I've also been laughing way too much at the television. I swear I'm going to misalign everything in my new nose.

Day 7

Today I get the cast off this morning! I know this is just the start of the healing process so I'm prepared for whatever may be under this cast. Also, please do not zoom in on my photos - the original size exhibited clogged pores on the portion of my nose that is exposed. Scary! My skin can get so nasty if I don't take care of it. I apologize in advance to my poor nose for the lack of upkeep but this is for the best!

I had a tough day yesterday. In the process of doing laundry, packing, and cleaning up I battled the worst case of constipation. I thought taking one laxative would be enough but I probably should have taken the entire box. I'm back to normal but I highly recommend getting some sort of stool softener if you become dependent on prescription pain pills like weak old me.

I had also drained and packed my humidifier, thinking it didn't really help at all during the recovery process. Well, I actually had to dig it out and use it in the middle of the night because my nose is still so congested. It was much easier falling asleep with it on.

Looking forward to being back home. Will try and post photos as I see changes. Good luck to all scheduled for surgery! Recovery isn't so bad. :)

Cast Off

This is going to be long and emotional...

Cast removal was such an easy process. Dr. Pontell applied an adhesive remover to my face and gently removed the tape and cast. I felt no pain whatsoever, this guy must be used to removing so many casts, he has it down to a science. He removed a few stitches which pinched every now and then but it wasn't too bad! I have to go back Friday to get the outer stitches removed then sometime next week to remove the inner stitches. One thing I like is all the follow ups. Despite the drive, it's reassuring to know you see your surgeon many times following surgery... for all those questions that may come up and I'm sure I'll have more to ask on Friday!

Well, I attached 3 photos that I'll eventually remove to remain anonymous on here. :) One shows just how crooked my nose was before cast removal and the other are current pictures from this evening. Sorry for the quality!

Ahh, and now for the emotions. I definitely want to remember these because this has been such a big process... something I've wanted for so long and I guess it's just my way of saying goodbye to the old nose.

I know it's too soon to tell with swelling but I've been wavering back and forth. I'm sure like many of you do upon cast removal, I've been snapping photos with my phone all afternoon and evening trying to find good angles. In all honesty, I do find many good angles - many that I could have never taken with the prior nose. Then, I find some angles where I am hoping swelling will go down in certain spots because things just don't seem right. It's tough. Please just let it be swelling. :)

I was so used to the hump and curvature of my nose... now the front just seems too perfect? The hump was a really distinguishing feature for me. I never really appreciated it until now. But isn't that what I requested to be removed? It's definitely what made my profile longer, which I thought made my face asymmetrical? The hump was a big draw for people questioning my ethnicity. I've been approached by quite a few people asking if I am of this or that ethnicity. I'm astounded at how many groups I have fallen into, just based on my nose. I've been mistaken for being Indian, Middle Eastern, Jewish, Italian, etc. Not sure if the new nose will create the same guessing game for others since the hump has been removed. If not, I think I will miss that the most.

Ack. Just emotional ramblings. I seriously thought I was already prepared emotionally. I really did over prepare for the procedure so why do I feel so unprepared for the big reveal? I'm really impressed with how straight and how much smaller my features are so far. I really am! I'm so glad I went with Dr. Pontell - this guy is truly a master at what he does. I'm just hoping that as soon as the swelling wears off, so too will the emotions so I can move on with this "smaller" nose of mine. Whew. :)

Okay, enough with the emotions! I have clogged pores to deal with. :)
(Seriously, I have a zit that feels extraordinarily deep on my upper left cheek.)

Improving :)

Hey everyone, I'm definitely seeing changes in swelling and I can say my nose is definitely taking shape, albeit rather slowly.

I'm using the basal view of my nostrils as a gauge for swelling. I noticed my nostrils were perfect circles when I first had the cast removed. This seemed really odd looking. Today I actually noticed one nostril was taking on a more oval shape so I know good things are coming.

Also, something funny happened today at lunch. Since I'm still congested, I have to breathe through my mouth for air. So, there is a really good Afghan restaurant nearby that has an amazing lunch buffet during the week. I usually end up grabbing 2-3 plates. Anyway, I actually had to stop and gasp for air in between bites because in between chewing and swallowing, I was barely getting enough air. I only had 1 plate and an extra bowl of soup which I didn't even finish. My friend had to wait for me to finish eating because it took me a little longer to finish my lunch. Even the waiter tried taking my plate not knowing I was still working on things. :)

I re-uploaded images from the last post and will add more once things settle down.

Forgot this picture

12 days

I'm definitely seeing less swelling the more I closely monitor my diet. My right profile has always been my favorite side and it has just improved drastically without the bump. I never liked my left profile but I can definitely see an improvement as the tip continues to heal. My droopy tip and long nostrils were just ick before (see side by side comparison). I like that I still look like myself in a way. Today is probably the first day I can say I'm actually liking things. Really happy I did this!

3 weeks

Today was my first day back in the office! Two people noticed and only one actually pointed it out. Meh, I'm still embarrassed about the whole thing and will eventually open up about it. My tip is still swollen. Can't wait to see it go down... at least I hope it will! :) I've gotten used to sleeping on my back and am actually enjoying it. My nose is quite clogged too. I'm afraid to scrub too hard but am doing my best to give it a good cleaning using a Neutrogena scrub and facial wipes.

Pics: From the bottom, my columella is looking somewhat slanted to the left side but I'm hoping it's just swelling. Again, I'm using the size of my nostrils as seen from below to "measure" swelling. The scar from the incision is practically gone! Cheers for keeping it nice and moisturized throughout the day. From the front, one nostril is bigger than the other but I know I've seen them to be the same size other days. The tip looks so odd to me... so bubbly and fat. Trying to be positive about the swelling. I do love my profile though. I had such a longer nose and I feel the size is perfect. I have a strong chin and don't think a small nose would have suited me. I feel my face is more balanced, despite the puffy tip. I can't wait to update you guys when that darn thing goes down!

Happy healing.

1 month

Things are still improving. The swelling in my tip is getting better and better each day. I blew my nose for the first time this week which helped with breathing. I'm really loving my new profile. The only issue I have (which I am positive is related to swelling) is my front view. My left nostril seems to be somewhat lower than the right nostril. I'm sure I'm the only one that notices it though. I noticed that each nostril is still distinct from the other. My left one has always been more fatty and less refined than the right nostril. I really don't mind the shape of the nostril. I just hope things even out with the height as more swelling goes down. Overall, I'm happy with things and I know to expect more change in the upcoming months. I'll post photos sometime soon.

6 weeks

Updated photos as promised, taken last week. Again, the swelling continues to decrease.,. I am really loving my new nose. I am so glad I went with Dr. Pontell! I have a follow up appointment this week and am going to thank him so much! My breathing is significantly better! The few weeks after surgery were quite emotional. I can now say most of that was due to excessive swelling. Just another reviewer saying be patient. :) Good things will come. So glad I did this!

2 months

Quick update. :)

I'm at 2 months post op. Swelling still seems puffy in the tip but every week gets better and better. Just some quick photos for reference.
Philadelphia Facial Plastic Surgeon

Really enjoyed my consultation with Dr. Pontell. Despite being nervous about everything, I felt very comfortable with him and loved that he showed various photos of similar noses. His experience and previous work impressed me. It took some time to think things over but I finally decided to choose him as my surgeon. So far things are looking great. I'm still getting used to the new nose but my experience with Dr. Pontell has been satisfactory!

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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