Shockingly I only discovered RealSelf after my surgery when I started searching for answers to certain question I had about recovery and if what I was and am experiencing is normal.
However, the moment I realized what RealSelf was, I became kinda (and by kinda I mean scarily) obsessed with this website haha. I've read just about everything there is to read about Rhinoplasty and quickly realized that I would like to write my own review. I am a super private person and very careful about what I put on the internet hence the crazy blocked out photos! (It is all about the nose anyway so whatever lol)
I have a very "typical" story.. I broke my nose twice during childhood and it was thus very crooked and had a small bump. I also had a very bulbous, drooping tip. My main reason for wanting to do this surgery was to have a STRAIGHT nose, the one I was born with. I also had a very badly deviated septum (couldn't breathe out of my left nostril) - that had to be fixed as well. Also, I thought, while I was having surgery, why not get the tip refined too haha?
Surgery, Recovery and Progress:
My surgery was 17 October 2013.
I had to be at the hospital at 5:30am to be operated at 08:00. When I got wheeled into the operating room, I was greeted by the anesthesian and a nurse. They talked to me about my studies and future plans and that kept me calm. He then put a drip in my hand, which hurt a little, but not bad. I was shaking a bit at this point, a mixture of nerves and cold, but about a minute (or not even that long) after I had the drip placed in my hand I was out!
I've had general anesthesia once before, but I had a different experience this time. The first time I remembered everything from the second I woke up, but this time I kiiinda remember waking up, but nothing more. I only have memories from later that night when my family came to visit for a second time (I don't remember the first). Kinda weird, but I guess it was because I was out for about 4 hours compared to about 30 mins the first
Okay, so from here on I'm not going to write a detailed day to day "story" of what happened and review my specific surgeon and hospital staff (who were amazing by the way). I'm going to rather write just the general things about my entire surgery experience and recovery.
I find that this surgery for me had absolutely no pain, but a lot of discomfort. I did however use my entire packet of pain medication just in case (I had enough for about 5 days).
This is really bad for about 3/4 days, because your nose is almost completely blocked and your mouth gets so dry (like sandpaper) that you actually wake up every couple of hours desperate for water (Have a water bottle or a glass with a straw close by. I found that having a bowl of ice to suck on also helped). Also, put lots of lip balm on! Sleeping upright is uncomfortable, but manageable. I slept super upright for about a week, then lessened to three pillows and after the 2nd week to two pillows and I'm still using two pillows. (I should mention that I was prescribed sleeping pills for the first 2 nights so maybe it could have been worse without it.)
I didn't have internal splints or packing, so when the nurse removed the plugs (a little bit of gauze inside my nose) the morning after surgery, I immediately started having a teeny tiny bit of airflow that would come and go. This improved slowly day by day. Some days my nose will be amazingly open and the next it would be congested - it goes up and down, but overall better and more open everyday.
FACIAL SWELLING AND BRUISING:
I got it reeeally bad. Both my eyes were swollen shut and dark purple, my forehead also got very swollen. It started to slowly go down after the second day and I'd say I was good enough to cover minimal left over bruising with make up at day 6/7 and perfectly back to normal at about 10 days. The facial swelling is kind of funny, because when your eyes get better, the swelling kind of drops down to your cheeks, making you look like a chipmunk! I do find that the cheek swelling right on the sides of the nose takes a bit longer (I'm still swollen in that area, so I guess it forms part of "nose swelling")
This is were the "patient patient" stuff comes into play. My nose was super swollen and even at 18 days is still very very swollen. I do find it fluctuates though, for example when I wake up in the morning my nose looks HUGE and it kind of goes down a bit during the day. I have my psycological ups and downs when it comes to this part of the surgery too, some days I feel really happy and the next day I would be a bit down and feel it wasn't changed enough. It definitely helps comparing photos and being patient (definitely the most difficult part of the surgery lol)
My surgeon decided to do an alar base narrowing during surgery (he mentioned during my consultation that it might be necessary, but he'd have to check the balance of the width of my nose/nostrils after he changed my tip) ...so I had sutures on my nostrils and columnella. These were sensitive when I yawned or smiled, but didn't hurt. It got removed 6 days after surgery. Maybe I was being a baby, but it really hurt, I'm not going to lie lol. I also have dissolvable sutures inside of my nose and it started to come out over time (I have one stubborn one left in my right nostril, but I'm just keeping it clean and hoping it will come out soon!).
I had to wear my cast for about 12 days which is super long (it's because I live 4 hours away from my surgeon). Usually it gets removed after a week. I do think that having the cast on for that long gave me a sense of security in a way (knowing it would be more healed and stable when it finally gets removed). So, the worst thing about the cast is that it would start to itch underneath and would be almost unbearable. I would literally just squeeze my eyes shut and kick my legs around haha. That doesn't help anything, but it distracted me until the itching passed! xD So, when the cast is taken off, it doesn't hurt at all. The nurse kinda lifts it a little at the top corners and then pulls off the entire thing in one go. It feels strange, but not painful.
I thankfully only had a mustache gauze for one day. After then, I would need to just softly dab under my nostril every now and then when any mucus or blood came out. I had to do this for about a week if I remember correctly, but I think I might have had a little cold or something that made it worse, not sure though (the first two weeks are kind of a blur and it goes by so quickly lol)!
I was instructed to use a saline spray three time a day and to gently put Fucidin (antibacterial ointment) all over my sutures and the insides of my nostrils. About three days after surgery I read about hydrogen peroxide, so I then started to super gently clean the sutures and dried blood first before putting the Fucidin on. Don't pick at the scabs, because they will come off on their own time (pretty quickly) as long as you follow your surgeon's instructions. I did my "routine" religiously for two weeks and I still do it twice a day although it is probably not necessary anymore. (The saline kinda helps when I'm feeling extra congested.)
A few days after surgery I started to lightly blow air out my nose (not closing one nostril, just a long normal breath out of my nose) and used a cotton bud that I carefully twisted inside my nostril (not deep inside) to try and catch any mucus lol! My surgeon didn't tell me to do this and I'm not telling anyone to do it. It worked for me and I was incredibly careful.
I could only bath while the cast was on, which I hated and the first shower after the cast came off was amazing! When the cast was on though, I mostly cleaned my face twice daily with facial cleansing wipes and every other day I would try to wash my face with face wash being very careful not to get the cast wet.
Since the cast came off I've been washing my face as normal (except i'm not allowed to use toner yet), being super gentle when touching my nose. What I don't read about a lot is the fact that your skin is kinda bad when the cast comes off and you just have to be patient and not be tempted to squeeze at the blackheads! It will get better quickly.
LITTLE BUMPS AND THINGS:
Only until you've had your nose operated on, do you realize how many times a day you must randomly bump your nose. I have been super over protective, but I have to admit that I would for example push my hair out of my face or scratch my face and then accidentally 'bump' my nose with my hand. I've done a lot of reading and it seems that these soft bumps do happen even if you are careful and shouldn't affect your final results. I think if you bumped it a little harder (painful, bleeding, noticeable change) and are concerned, then you should probably talk to your surgeon, but when it comes to the little bumps and brushes, it will probably be fine.
HOW MY NOSE FEELS:
The feeling of the nose slowly improves every day. The nose starts out being completely numb. To me it then started feeling tight over the bridge and it kind of tingled or pulsed, it's difficult to explain. Even at day 18 my nose is still kinda numb especially right above the columnella incision. That is to me the weirdest thing, because that incision would start to itch and you can scratch softly at the bottom of the cut, but not at the top, because it is numb - really strange and annoying! It gets better though! My nose still sometimes has the tingling/tight feeling, but that is normal and means my nerves are reattaching and healing or something haha! My nose tip feels very hard still and it feels kinda weird/uncomfortable when I touch any part of my nose (when washing my face for example.)
So, at 18 days post-op I can't truthfully say that I am 100% super ecstatic about my results so far, but I'm being a patient patient and will only make my final judgement after a year! AND since I had a lot of different things done to my nose (straightened, bump shaved down, alar base reduction, tip rotation and refinement, septum repair etc) I'm going to be extra patient, because apparently, the more was done - the longer it takes to heal. I can already see many improvements though, especially with my right 3/4 view and my not droopy anymore tip. My nose still leans to the right and it seems like the bump on the left side of my bridge is still there, but I'm hoping it is uneven swelling and that it will settle. Only time will tell!
MY NUMBER ONE TIP: BE PATIENT - IT GETS BETTER EVERYDAY!
Okay so, from here I will post updates at 1, 2,3,6,9 and 12 months post-op! Please feel free to ask any questions! I'd be more than happy to help.