Several months ago, I was on my way to class early Monday morning when I slipped hard on the concrete outside my building. Within an instant, blood was pouring from my face onto my hands and my clothes. Needless to say, I was freaking out and didn't bother making it to class that day. I realized later that I not only knocked my front tooth out of place and destroyed the skin from the bridge of my nose to my chin, but I also broke my nose internally and externally. This led me on the exciting journey of seeking rhinoplasty.
I’ll be totally honest: I didn't love the original shape of my nose. When I was younger it was an insecurity, but as I became older, I learned to embrace the bump and slope of my nose. My parents were always big advocates of accepting and embracing flaws rather than believing all should be fixed in the name of vanity and perfection. Because I already had to get internal surgery for my sinuses and septum, my family felt it was appropriate to seek rhinoplasty, also known as a nose job if I wanted that as well. With my family behind me, how could I turn down a fully functioning, straight nose?
The process itself consisted of one appointment before the surgery to discuss what would be changed. Right away the doctor noticed the bump in my nose, which would be the most noticeable thing to remove. He also planned to fix the tip of my nose to increase breathing room and improve the overall shape. This was all the information I had going into the surgery. There was no created image or model of what it was going to look like when it was finished. Some surgeons do give a “predictive” drawing or modeling to give you an idea of what the result will look like, but some (including my own) do not!
The surgery itself was not strenuous or painful to recover from. I was under anesthesia several hours in the surgeon’s office, which was preferable to being in the hospital because it is less intimidating and less expensive. The pain I experienced after surgery is more like a dull pressure coupled with a stuffy, bloody nose.
Like any other surgery, I recommend taking all medications as prescribed correctly and follow all post-op instructions carefully. Following instructions includes taking your doctor seriously when they tell you to avoid physical activity or alcohol for however many weeks. Although I had some complications unrelated to the surgery which made my first couple days of recovery difficult, overall it was very successful.
After all the bandages came off, I was so thrilled to see the final result! I loved how it made a positive difference to me, yet still fit my face well enough to look like me. When I showed my friends, the reactions ranged from “it changes your whole face in a good way” to “did you get it done yet?” Regardless of how subtle or obvious my friends found my new nose, I felt happy and confident with the change for myself. And although I never expected to get plastic surgery, I am glad that I could give a traumatic fall a cosmetic silver lining.
Plastic surgery has a historical perception as trivial or even comical, as many advertisements would depict popular surgeries, such as nose jobs, liposuction and breast implants, as easy and “fun” to get. This is far from the truth as you are still getting very serious and very permanent surgery. If you are seeking a plastic surgeon, read all reviews and make sure your plastic surgeon is actually certified and experienced. Some strenuous surgeries, such as breast implants, can legally be performed by anyone with a medical license if it is within their own office. This means due to inexperience, the surgery could become life-threatening if performed incorrectly. You should also make sure, before seeking a cosmetic procedure, that you are ready for it mentally. It is important to have realistic expectations when meeting with a surgeon. No one cosmetic procedure is going “change your life,” but it can change how confident you feel regarding a personal feature.
All photos courtesy of Molly Wexler.