Overcoming Anxiety Disorder & Rhinoplasty - my Journey - Rochester, NY

Rochester Facial Plastic Surgeon
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22/Female *About my nose; I have hated it...


*About my nose;
I have hated it forever and worked excessively hard to compensate for it. I model as a hobby and generally think I'm an attractive girl, but there was always a catch. I despised how my nose looked in profile. It was huge, beaky, and had a bump. From the front it mostly looked alright besides being crooked.

In photos whether candid or professional, I never ever shot in profile. When I would encounter candid shots of me from the side, or even front shots where my nose looked horrible, it would reduce me to tears.

Pulling up at stop lights, I would get anxious over the thought of the person in the next car looking at me from the side. Even conversations with people next to me made me uncomfortable. I'd put hair in my face, look down, look away, or even put my arm up on my car window to block the view of my nose. The insecurity had consumed me. Finally with the support of my parents, I had my rhinoplasty May 15.


*About my anxiety;
I have been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, OCD, and ADHD. I am considered treatment-resistant because one of these things is the cause, and the others are symptoms of it. I found a treatment that works currently, but this forum isn't about that so I'll skip that long story.
Because of my anxiety, surgery itself was immensely scary. The only other time I've ever had an IV or been fully sedated was my wisdom teeth surgery, which I panicked myself half to death over. It ended up going well, but the anticipation almost killed me.


*My experience - day of surgery 5/15/12
I was significantly less nervous the morning of my rhino than I was for my wisdom teeth. Unfortunately, that didn't last long. Out of the whole thing, the worst part for me is getting an IV put in. I can't even begin to say how much I hate it. I have a phobia of the feeling of constriction/circulation being cut off, so the tourniquet immediately puts me in panic mode. I was told it would be quick and easy, and stupid me believed them because it was easy for my wisdom teeth.
Wrong. The nurse missed TWICE. To be fair to her, I was probably dehydrated because the surgery was so late in the afternoon (1pm), but it traumatized me and by the time the second nurse came to try, I was a panicked mess. The first one had "hit a valve" the first time, and the second try I got a nice painful fluid pocket on the back of my forearm. The second nurse was nice enough to give me a local anesthetic before putting the IV in the side of my wrist. It kind of hurt I guess, but once it's over you can finally calm down.

I know a lot of you who are nervously anticipating your procedure are probably afraid of sedation, not waking up, etc. These things plagued me with nightmares prior to my wisdom teeth surgery. So let me put your thoughts at ease. Take me as an example, because trust me - my anxiety is much more rampant than an average person's and I made it through this. I have little recollection of losing consciousness. It happens smoothly, comfortably, and before you know it you're coming to and it's all over. There is no extreme rush of pain.

For me, I don't get the 'david after dentist' feel post sedation due to my high metabolism and my body's natural ability to process sedatives (thanks to my lengthy run with trials of psychiatric meds, probably). I was fully lucid by the time I got home, and walked into my house fully balanced and conscious.


*Post surgery before cast removal
They told me to expect discomfort, crap running down my throat, a sore throat, and swelling. What they didn't tell me was what bothered me the most. My nose was so goddamn plugged I couldn't swallow without my ears plugging and popping. it was so uncomfortable I wouldn't swallow my own saliva the first day - good thing I still had IV fluids in my system.

One of the WORST parts was getting the packing pulled out the day after surgery. It was like getting tampons pulled out of my nostrils. It was the most god awful thing I've ever felt - not so much in terms of pain but just, ugh, a terrible terrible sensation and so gross! Blech.

By the 6th day, the day before cast removal, I had mostly adapted to the annoying plugged ears. I had to constantly yawn and crack my jaw after each bite of food to clear my ears to decrease pressure. More of a freakin nuisance than anything though.

About stitch removal - <<< read if you are nervous about getting stitches out >>>
I had 5 of my 8 stitches on the underside of my nose removed about 4 days after surgery. They instead put a butterfly type bandage and some stinky surgical adhesive. Getting the stitches out did not hurt whatsoever for me. The nurse was very gentle, and I felt a tug, but no pain or pinching. TIP: keep your nasal passages really, really moist with saline. This will help A LOT with stitch removal - it hurts a hell of a lot less if they aren't crusted over.
They left 3 stitches in - 2 that were on the inside holding some clear flexible splints in place, and one in the inner-middle somewhere. None were in places that would cause visible scars, so they could stay in longer harmlessly.


*Post surgery day of cast removal 5/22/12
When I had my cast taken off, they also popped out these two little flexible plastic splits that were holding my septum up. Given I had a 75% deviation, he probably had to do some decent restructuring on my septum and not everyone will have these.
My only complaint about the cast removal is the stuff they use to remove it made me break out. It was really greasy. I never get acne, and I have a couple on my cheeks now. Not a big deal, but the skin on my nose still feels greasy. It will go away in time though I'm sure.


*Now - 5/24/12, 9 days post op and still uncomfortable but doing well
While the cast was on, I made sure not to study myself in the mirror. Not only were the black eyes unsightly, but I have swelling in my cheeks as well. Instead of getting nervous about it, I just ignored mirrors and reminded myself how much better it would be after recovery.
With the cast off now, I am happy with the results already solely because I look the same from the front, just as I wanted. When I saw it in profile for the first time, I nearly cried. The bump is gone and it's smaller, but not too small for my face. The tip is upturned at the moment, and I've seen lots of people with issues about this, but I was prepared and I am aware it will settle. My sister's friend had the same procedure done by the same guy, and he does steroid injections to settle the tip if the body doesn't assimilate the fluid on its own and come down. So my worries about the tip are very much kept at bay by that!
I kind of look like I have jowels from the damn cheek swelling, but it's all temporary and I know it.
Overall, I just can't wait for it to settle in. I feel as though I look the same only it's straighter and much better in profile.

Quick note: I will add some post-op pictures soon, haven't had much of a chance yet. I apologize for the quality of the before images. I never intentionally take pictures of myself in profile, so finding an outtake was harder than I thought.

Still have significant swelling and stiffness in...

Still have significant swelling and stiffness in the tip and in my cheeks, but the bruising is (mostly) hideable by makeup as you see in the new picture. I am happy that it doesn't look too drastically different - it isn't too small that it puts my face out of balance, but it's cuter and straight!!

Today I am 11 days post op and feeling pretty...

Today I am 11 days post op and feeling pretty good! The bruising under my eyes is almost completely gone and the swelling in my cheeks has improved.

I went to a family cookout today. My mom is extremely overly concerned with what her family thinks of her, so she only told a few people. Oddly enough, no one noticed! And the ones who knew were surprised because I don't look radically different at all - which is what I wanted really. The only people who see a massive difference are people who really distinctly know what I used to look like in profile - and I don't see my extended family enough for most of them to notice something like that.

As for complaints, there is still a lot of stiffness and swelling in the tip and the inside continues to be crusty (can't clean out - it's stuck to very tender tissue) and very sore. I know these things will go away but the stiffness makes me almost look like I have facial ticks because I sometimes scrunch my nose when it feels extremely stiff. I have a follow up next Friday, June 1. He might give me steroid injections if the swelling in the tip is still really stubborn, but I think I am on the faster side of healing speed so he might never have to. I'll add more pictures when I get a chance

The crappy cellphone shots I've posted so far...

The crappy cellphone shots I've posted so far really don't do the before and after justice, when I have a followup this Friday I'm gonna see if I can get a picture of the pictures that they took at the place before my surgery.

I had a followup Friday, and while I didn't get a...

I had a followup Friday, and while I didn't get a chance to get my hands on the before pictures (yet) Dr. Q had me push my next followup back because I am healing well and won't need steroid injections, great :)

He prescribed me a nasal spray to help with some swelling I have in my right nostril. Other than that, I still feel like it's stiff and I have a marble in the tip, but it makes me all the more excited to see the final result since it's already a huge improvement now. I've seen a lot of my friends and relatives recently, and no one finds me unrecognizable. Some didn't even notice! Which is fine with me, I just assume they never studied me in profile before.

I noticed that now that I am consciously telling myself that I don't have to avoid turning my profile to people as I talk to them, I almost look away too much! I haven't found the happy-medium comfort zone of how often to glance at someone next to you during conversation, since before I would always compensate and turn towards them to avoid being looked at from the side. Adjusting has been kind of a laugh, really.

Still glad to have put some peoples' fears to rest. And I'll restate as someone who has a lot of fears, phobias, and very dominating anxiety;
- Don't be afraid of being put out. You will wake up
- Don't be afraid to get stitches out. If you keep the area moist and clean, it is not painful
- Don't be afraid of how it will look when swollen. Yes, some people have serious issues with how their post-op nose looks with all the swelling, but keep in mind the end result instead of letting doubts stop you from going through with it.

I'm pretty far along in the healing process and...

I'm pretty far along in the healing process and still doing really well aside from the tip still being hard. The only things bothering me out of this entire experience are that my skin is still a bit funny and I am getting acne where the skin is perhaps still healing, and my nostrils are slightly uneven. But they were before, no one seems to notice but me, and it could be swelling. Meh.

I took down my crap quality pictures for now, hopefully in lieu of putting up some actual before/afters from the practice next time I have a followup.


A few years after my surgery, I am super unhappy now. I'm not sure if it was like this right away or got worse as it healed, but I have awful asymmetry in my nostrils. I paid for a revision (which I can't really afford making $9/hr) only for it to get worse. My left nostril is now sort of collapsing. He always gives me excuses and tells me to wait or blames my facial anatomy for it. I end up leaving feeling horrible about myself. I'm deeply depressed because I'll never be able to have nice wedding or engagement photos. Photos of me make me cry unless I tip my head so far down you can't see the horrible asymmetry. What an unfortunate turn of events. Hoping it gets fixed...
Rochester Facial Plastic Surgeon

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