I am going to get asian rhinoplasty/blepharoplasty...
I am going to get asian rhinoplasty/blepharoplasty done, and write about some of it here because I used other people's RealSelf experiences when I was researching. It is something I've wanted to do my whole life and I'm excited, but really nervous about complications. I'm going to get full incisional bleph with parallel fold, and raise my nose bridge and define the tip which hopefully will make my nostrils look narrower.
I researched a ton of doctors for the past couple years...I originally wanted to go to South Korea but the travel and the language barrier made me nervous. Also, what if something went wrong during recovery? That's why I decided to stay in the US. Then I wanted to go to California, because all the best Asian doctors are over there since there are more Asians to begin with. But I'm quite a bit away, so I decided to look in New York because it's another place that has a lot of ethnic people, therefore more doctors with experience in ethnic cosmetic surgery. Plus NYC is moderately close and I can take the train (I'm from New Jersey).
Since I was considering Asian Rhinoplasty and a blepharoplasty, I looked up every doctor that did Asian patients in the city and compared their portfolios (I literally have a 20 page word doc with all their information) along with whether they took CareCredit, whether they could do both operations, etc. I wanted someone who had a lot of experience in both surgeries.
I researched all the well known ones...John Kang, Harrison Lee but the three I consulted with in NYC are Dr. Eric Choe (nose and eyelids), Dr. Edmund Kwak (just eyelids...nose consult was $100 and he had no online pictures so I didn't think it was worth it to spend $100 on a consult when it looked like he had no prior experience in Asian noses), and Dr. Edmund Kwan.
I was originally thinking of getting just a temporary filler in my nose to see how it looked, but I wanted the definition in my tip most, which isn't something a filler does. Plus fillers for the nose are an off-label use of Radiesse and Juvederm (they're supposed to be for the face), they can last for only 6 months and are like $1000. So, why would I spend that when I could be putting that money towards a more permanent change with the right surgeon?
I'm going to write about the consults.
Dr. Kwan: Dr. Kwan offers free consults and has a beautiful online portfolio, his work looks so natural especially his noses. And his office allows CareCredit and he has a lot of experience, so I scheduled a consult with him. Dr. Kwan is not the friendliest of people, nowhere near as friendly as some of the other doctors I saw. He is very straight-to-the-point and talks over you sometimes but I was also a half hour late, so I think he was rushing. But he seemed extremely knowledgeable and has great work and plenty of experience with Asian faces. He answered all of my questions and seemed to really know his practice, and he also teaches at Cornell Medical school so he stays up to date on techniques and whatnot. He also personally carves his implants so they're unique to each patient. I even asked "what's the average size of the implant" and he said "there is no average size for an implant, everyone is different so I make it accordingly so it'll match the rest of their face". I scheduled a second consult with him. He quoted me at $8500 for eyes and nose, it's usually higher but when you do them together its not.
Dr. Kwak: I consulted with him just for eyes, because a nose consult costed $100 but he had no portfolio pictures of Asian patients in his online site so I didn't want to spend the money when I didn't even know if he had any experience with Asian faces. His eyefold making tool is the most precise and professional looking and he explains how he does the surgery. Once I was at his office I saw his pictures of noses, but I wasn't impressed enough to schedule a nose consult then. He is very nice, and has a little less experience than the other doctors but is younger. He quoted me at $3500.
Dr. Choe: He offers free consults if you mention RealSelf, which is why I went to see him in all honesty. He doesn't have a website and has very little pictures, but I thought if it's free why not try to see him just to compare. Don't let his lack of online presence fool you! He is extremely experienced (20+ years) and when you ask him for past patients he brings out a huge binder (he had one each for nose and eyes) so he has a TON of experience. Former Miss Koreas have had work done with him. His whole office is super friendly and nice too, and he is very personable and kind. However I didn't like his nose portfolio quite as much as Dr. Kwans, and he more expensive, quoting me at $10,000. He also doesn't take CareCredit. But if you have the money I would strongly advise Dr. Choe because he is super nice and genuinely seems to care about you.
Like I said, I scheduled a second consult with Dr. Kwan because I liked his portfolio the best, and he seems to have a great eye for aesthetics. He also carves each implant, so it's tailored to each patient. Though I'm not crazy about silicone, he assured me that with the right technique it won't get infected or move. He was also the most financially affordable, but if I had thought any other doctor was better I would've spent the extra money.
Second consult: Dr. Kwan's second consult costs $250 but if you decide to proceed with surgery it'll go towards that. I brought three pages worth of questions and he answered all of them pretty well. I was also late to this one too because of the traffic, and they were really nice about my tardiness. After the consult I decided to go with this doctor. They require half of the total cost in a down payment. My date is set for the middle of July.
I'm still worried it won't come out right or it'll get infected. However, these are normal worries and I feel like it would be more of a problem if I was all in and didn't worry. If anyone has any questions, feel free to reach out, I know I looked around Realself a lot before I decided to go through this.
Four days to go!
I can't believe it's only four days away! I've planned this for so long, I'm excited but nervous. The way Dr. Kwan does his surgeries is by "case". First, he only does surgeries on Tuesday/Thursdays and only in his NYC office because it's hospital certified. He brings in an anesthesiologist, and though he has an office in Flushing, NY he won't do surgeries there because it's not certified.
When I say "case" he does it by first case second case. When his office manager, Rebecca, asked me when I wanted to do my surgery she said first case was at 7 am and second case is after. So I still don't know when exactly my surgery is, because they don't have the schedule until the day before. Believe me, I've asked multiple times and it's kind of frustrating because I need to make travel arrangements to go back (I'm getting a driver). They don't even have an exact time frame, Rebecca said "first case could last 30 minutes or 2 hours". Regardless, I'm planning on going in at 9 and leaving at 3, it's better to be early than late and better to wait at the office afterwards instead of making the driver wait.
The day of the surgery will be: First, I have to be there an hour before my surgery start time. This is because Dr. Kwan consults with you for a third and final time right before the surgery. Here he will go in-depth about what will happen, he shows you the nose implant if you get one, and takes any final notes. Since I am getting the double eyelid and nose he will spend time talking about both. For the double eyelid, I will be under local anesthesia, so I will be drowsy but not unconscious. This is because during surgery he asks you to open and close your eyes so he can see how it looks and if it's even. Eyes will be numbed with a shot. For nose, he'll put me under general anesthesia so I'll be taking a nice nap while he does a closed rhinoplasty. He said he'll sometimes further augment his silicone implant during surgery to make sure it is just the right fit. Then, when I wake up I have to stay an hour after while the anesthesia wears off and then I'm free to go. I'm going to look hideous for a little while during recovery, but thankfully I don't have to wear a cast on my nose because Dr. Kwan is doing the surgery closed vs open so there is a faster recovery. He said I just have to wear a little nose splint for the first 24 hours after surgery and then I can take it off. The eye stitches will come out after a week, and he said the nose will probably heal faster than the eyes. He said after a couple weeks I'll look normal-ish.
I can't believe it's so soon!
Just had my surgery today. If Mary Shelley wrote in a daughter for Frankenstein, I imagine it would resemble my current self. But its worth noting that I am not in pain. Maybe the anesthesiolgist gave me some pain relievers before I left or something, but I actually feel pretty good now. The area around my eyes is tight from the stitches and my nose doesn't hurt; overall I feel good. My lip is numb though, which is a little odd.
I had to be there at 9:30 am but then Rebecca, the office manager, called to tell me to come at 10. I guess they were running late; I didn't even see the doctor until like 11:15ish. I was sitting in the office for a little while. When I was motioned in by one of the office ladies, I was instructed to put on a gown. Dr. Kwan seemed like he was in a rush, and I was told I would have a "last consult before the surgery (about an hour long) where he would describe in detail and discuss last minute things" but really it was like only 10 minutes of him telling me of what he would do and making marks on my face. It wasn't really a "consult". Also for the eyes, he told me he wouldn't do the inner epicanthoplasty even though I thought that's what he would do...so I'm a little miffed about that. For the nose he didn't do an alarplasty either, just the bridge and tip. Hopefully his tip graft and raised bridge will give the illusion of narrower nostrils when I smile. After he marked up my face he took some photos for the before/after. He was also sizing/cutting my bridge implant right up to the surgery because he shapes them himself so they're individual for each patient. He'd come in measure it against my nose, then leave to shape it some more. Then the anesthesiologist came in and he was a very nice man. Dr. Kwan brings in anesthesiologists, he doesn't administer those drugs himself, and there is also a nurse. He also had a doctor training with him at the time.
Anyways the anesthesiologist told me what was going to happen. For eyes, it would be local anesthesia so I can open my eyes while Dr. Kwan is working; Dr. Kwan needs see how it looks and work accordingly. The anesthesiologist said that he would bring me out of sleep so I can cooperate when Dr. Kwan asks me to open my eyes. For the nose I would be in a deep sleep, general anesthesia. Then a few minutes after I was motioned in.
Being on the bed thing was surreal and I got quite nervous. I had an IV hooked up to my arm and he gave me some sleepy stuff. Then I remember being partially awake, hearing Dr. Kwan telling me to open my eyes which I did. I did feel the needles going in and out of my eyes. It felt like someone was poking my cornea, honestly I had thought at the time that he was hitting my eyeball. They said I wouldn't feel it! But I did and then I started hyperventilating. They reassured me and said that they had to keep me partially awake so I could open my eyes. Then the anesthesiologist said he'll put me in a deep sleep for the nose, and that's all I remember until I woke up in a different room. Dr. Kwan was already working on another patient (I hope he didn't rush mine) when I woke up so I didn't even see him. I was helped by one of the girls to get dressed and then walk my car because they'd said Dr. Kwan had given me the okay to leave. This was kind of weird because they said before that I'd be in the recovery room for an hour to an hour and a half, but I was led right out.
On the ride home I wasn't even nauseous. The anesthesiologist had give me a dramamine to take before, and then some other medication while I was asleep to counteract the nauseousness. Dr. Kwan called around 4:50 asking how I was doing. Rebecca had said that he would, and that she would call tomorrow morning to give me more post op instructions and schedule a time to come back to check on how healing is and remove my stitches.. I begin taking antibiotics tomorrow. Dr. Kwan said the surgery went great so I am excited to see how it looks when I'm more healed and don't look like Frankenstein's offspring. Fingers crossed!
Day 1 Post Op
I still currently look hideous...I can hardly open my eyes. I have been icing them on and off but they are still so swollen. Sometimes the stitches throb and that hurts too. My nose feels pretty alright just some minor stinging, and it runs and I can't wipe it cause the stitches are inside. So that's frustrating. But asides from that, for the most part I have very little pain. I haven't taken a single pain med because I don't feel like it's that bad where I need to.
I took off the bottom gauze and I was actually quite upset when I looked at my reflection, all I saw were how high my nostrils were. Like before my nostrils weren't that visible but now I feel like you can see almost up them. I really hope the tip drops with more recovery. Also, on the 3/4 view my nostrils look very pointy. Almost like a triangle. Since they're looking like that already it makes me really glad I didn't go through with the alarplasty too (I was considering it but Dr. Kwan and I felt that the tip would bring my nostrils sufficiently up). Alas, it's only day 2 so hopefully it calms down and isn't so high. Rebecca called me this morning to give me more post op instructions. I was told I can take my splint off when I shower tonight or tomorrow morning. I think I'm going to leave my splint on until tomorrow morning just to be safe.
Post op Day 2: Splint off
Well I woke up last night/this morning around 5 because I couldn't sleep. My nose was so clogged and I couldn't breathe so I took a shower and took off my splint. That was a process, I was in there for like a half an hour trying to loosen the splint enough to take it off. Then I took the tape off that was underneath after I got out. My first impression of my nose is that I hate it. I do not like how it looks at all, it looks shapeless and huge and my nostrils are showing too much like a pig nose. They also look uneven and huge. I feel like my nose is too short and upturned. Hoping that's just the swelling.
Post Op Day 3
First of all, I'd like to say thank you and shout out to the users who have been commenting on my updates. To those who also had plastic surgery, I hope your recovery is going very well for you and for those who are considering it, please don't hesitate to ask me questions. You all are super kind whether its words of support or words of advice.
It's so hard not to jump the gun on judgements of what I look like now because these are primary operations and I've never been through this before so I'm glad I have you all to lead me through :) So sorry if I keep complaining about my swollen face...and I think a lot of you are right it is just the swelling for now. It's so hard to tell what I'll look like a month out from now but my nose has gone down more since yesterday.
Sleeping was the biggest pain though, I literally slept for 2 hour increments on and off the entire night because my nose was completely blocked (even after I used nose spray). Breathing through my mouth made my mouth and throat so dry and I'd wake up to it.
But I think my nose is starting to take some shape! I was reading through other reviews and everyone's swelling looks significant, some people have swelling out to Day 60 so I'm not alone. Shout out to disclosure91 for your thorough review, reading through your journey helped me figure out what's ahead. Also, thank you to Dr. Kwan for doing it as a closed rhino...I think that's why the swelling isn't as huge as some of the other people's I've looked at on Day 3. Not being able to breathe through my nose is a real pill though, anyone whose been through this have any words of advice on how to breathe/sleep/when I'll be able to breathe again?
Exactly 1 week from surgery
I had my surgery exactly on week ago, and I went yesterday to get the stitches removed. The nurse, Betty, was actually the one who removed them, then Dr. Kwan came in to check on my healing. He said I was healing very well and that in a month most of the swelling will come down and something along the line of how the new features will look beautiful with my face.
They were very nice when I walked in, Rebecca, the office manager even greeted me by my name and asked how I was when she saw me. It made me feel very welcome and very nice that she remembered exactly who I was.
My nose feels tight an tingly, but isn't as stuffed up as before. My eyes feel pretty swollen still though, but I was told they'll go down a good amount at the two week mark.
I have another followup appointment in about a month to check on healing and take post op pictures. Honestly, I was very wary of choosing Dr. Kwan at first because he has some pretty bad unrecommended Yelp reviews but I'm glad I chose him because he did a very good job with the nose and eyes (though I do wish he'd done an inner epicanthoplasty too...I still feel my eyes are too far apart) and I would recommend if you were looking to do these types of surgeries. Like I said, I had discomfort after but no pain to the point of where I needed to pop pain pills, and the closed rhinoplasty is great because it's less recovery time and swelling than open. He is also pretty reasonable in price compared to other doctors. Obviously there are people who say he is a terrible doctor/person but at this point in my own experience I think he has been a very good surgeon and choice for me, and I'm excited to see how the healing continues to turn out.
Day 13 Post Op
My swelling has been getting better everyday. My eyes still feel really tight though and my right eye is a bit more swollen than my left. With my nose, I hope it's just the swelling but now that it's not super puffy anymore it's starting to look a lot like my pre op nose. When it was swelling more the bridge was higher. I mean, looking like my pre op nose is fine because I didn't want an overly done Kpop nose but I wish the bridge was a little higher and the tip more defined and less bulbous. I know it takes 3 months for most of the swelling to heal and even more for the tip to stop swelling so I'm hoping it'll refine more in the coming months.
3 Weeks Post op
Exactly 3 weeks post op. Depending on the light (not the photos I've added here), my nose bridge still looks pretty wide. Regardless, I think it is an improvement from my previous nose and once the tip comes down in a year I'm sure it'll look sharper. Also my eyes still look far apart, I still wish my surgeon had done the inner epi but again my eyes are definitely an improvement from before, and surgery is about improving not perfection!
So I've been using Aquaphor to protect my upper bleph incisions for the past couple weeks, but its been about 3 weeks and I just used some Palmer's cocoa butter + vitamin e jar stuff last night and it's worked very well. I'm not sure if it's cause it's so far down the road and my eyes would've healed like that anyways but below is the before / after of yesterday vs today using the cocoa butter. It was recommended to me by a friend to fade scars it's supposed to moisturize or something and that's why it fades
4 weeks update
Eyelids came down a lot, been using cocoa butter to lessen scars. For some reason my eyelid starts 1/4 up my eye instead of at the bottom corner. I don't think that'll change, it's a small thing but I still kinda wish it started in the right place. Nose has gone down a lot, still need to wait for the tip to go down more swelling wise, I think that's why it still looks bulbous. Seeing Dr. Kwan for a checkup this Friday and for post op pics, Friday will be exactly 1 month from the surgery date.
Quick update for week 6: Eyelids have decreased a lot, hoping they won't go down any more or else I'll have a monolid again. Also the nose is looking flat again, I'm a little worried. But atleast I've had no complications.
Just a quick update at 2 months, my nose is starting to look more refined and I'm really started to like it now. It'll also only get more refined from here...some people take a little longer to start seeing a noticeable change and I think I'm one of them.
Also a sidenote: Thanks so much to all the wonderful people who have been commenting on this thread, you are so supportive and kind :)