12 April 2016

My rhinoplasty: Q&A


Oh hey! It's my (fake-tanned) face. Lil disclaimer: these answers are all personal, and not at all from a medical point of view. In terms of the more technical ins and outs of the procedure, or any cosmetic procedure, please seek a consultation with a medical professional. That aside, let's crack on.

I had rhinoplasty at the end of last year, because it's something I've wanted to do for 10 years. I noted one experience of feeling bullied because of my nose on this very blog, but I won't go into the personal reasons behind it now. Presently, my nose is quite settled and I'm loving it. No regrets.

Q: Did it hurt?

A: I'm a wuss, so the most painful parts for me were the parts that involved needles. The blood test in the pre-surgical consultation, the nurses administering antibiotics and painkillers through the IV... that hurt. You're knocked out cold for the surgery, and afterwards I was heavily dosed up, so didn't feel much. Most people will say that the process is more uncomfortable than anything else, and actually I only had paracetamol for the first few days after my operation and was painkiller free the week after.

Q: Was it expensive?

A: Um, yes. But to be honest, I'd be worried if someone tried to sell me the procedure by claiming "this place is a bargain!" At the end of the day, it's your body/face, so you can't really put a price on that. I always said if it was upwards of X, I wouldn't get it done, but even though my quote was more than I'd thought it would be, I knew I'd be safe with my surgeon. Different companies charge different amounts, so it's best to do your research. I personally went with a surgeon who works with BMI Healthcare and privately, called Mr Budny - he was fantastic, and I can't recommend him enough. Make sure you're choosing the surgeon for the quality of their work, not because you've been quoted less for them than at another place.

Q: Did you tell anyone?

A: I didn't keep it a secret, but I made a decision to not divulge my plans with people that I thought would disapprove. Mainly because I had already made my mind up that I was going ahead with it, and people being negative about it would have made me resent them - when what I really wanted was support. I didn't want anyone to try and dissuade me or tell me what I could be spending my money on instead (designer handbags, a super luxe holiday, etc etc) My parents fully supported my decision, which always helps, I think. I told work, too, because I had to take time off (but having it done at Christmas meant I had more bank holidays).

Q: How did you know you were making the right decision?

A: I think if anyone has something they really, really dislike about themselves and the thought of surgery has always been at the back of their minds, you know you're not making the wrong decision. It's an investment - and a selfish one at that - but ultimately I knew it was what I wanted. You just KNOW, you know? Know what I mean? Ok, I'll stop.

Q: What happens before?

A: First, I had a consultation with my surgeon. This cost money (it doesn't always, as it varies from company, to surgeon, etc), but you have to remember that their time is money, and they are highly qualified professionals. We discussed what I didn't like about my nose, what I did like and what I was after. He then checked my airways by putting both fingers at the base of my nostrils, took photos from various different angles, and spoke me through the next steps. You can choose to have a second consultation, but I personally didn't.
The pre-surgical consultation is where a nurse briefs you on dates, times, what occurs on the day, and how to prepare for the day. I also had my blood taken to check everything was okay.
On the day, you meet the anaesthetist, and have a last minute talk with the surgeon. I didn't wish to know the nitty gritty - I knew that I was having open surgery whereby they make a small incision between the nostrils and go from there, and that's all I wanted to know.

Q: How did you decide you wanted to go through with it?

A: A friend of mine, who blogs over at Scarlett London, underwent the same procedure last July. She was a huge help in discussing my options beforehand, and it was incredible to see her transformation. She made me realise that rhinoplasty was a viable option for little old me, and it needn't look too *done*. I think that's the fear with nose jobs - that it looks like you've had a nose job. Scarlett was also fantastic in the weeks leading up to the procedure, as well as the week or so post-op. She kept me sane and when I sent her minging pictures, she would reassure me that it's all totally normal.

Q: Did you any have any niggles afterwards?

A: Oh god. The day after I came out of hospital I had a complete breakdown. Which was bad because I couldn't blow my nose and was snotting everywhere... But basically I freaked out because I woke up and all of a sudden thought "What if I don't like it?" Because there wasn't a darn thing I could do about it at that point, was there? What if it looked terrible, or weird, and I didn't like the way my face looked when the cast came off? Admittedly, maybe I should have just thought about that more pre-surgery, but in the weeks leading up to it all I was thinking was DON'T. GET. ILL. If I got ill, the surgery couldn't take place.

Q: What does recovery entail?

A: I didn't have a proper good night's sleep until my cast came off and I was able to sleep on my side again. I had an A-shaped pillow (as recommended by Scarlett) to keep my head upright.
When you first have your surgery your nose is put in a cast, and there's a "bolster" which sits underneath to catch anything that drips down (which it does for a few weeks. Mmm, lovely). You can remove the bolster once you leave hospital (which I did) and dab the dribbles with a tissue.
The bottom of my nostrils were clotted, which I admit I did pick (and you're definitely not meant to, because you're at risk of pulling out stitches on the inside/bottom of your nose) and my face... oh dear, my face. It's sensitive at best, but it must have been the anaesthetic or the fact I couldn't clean my face, but it went red, dry and spotty.
You also can't let steam go up your nose, so I had all hot drinks through a straw. Eating was fine, but I couldn't shower (lukewarm baths for the win), and my Mum was traumatised for life after washing my hair backwards against the bath and attempting not to get my cast wet (which she did a stirling job of, thanks Mummy).
I had my cast on for 9 days, but usually you only have it on for a week or so. I only had it on longer due to it being the Christmas period and limited opening hours. My cast was so ready to come off, in fact, that it plopped off in the hospital waiting room as I read Vanity Fair... The removal can be quite an uncomfortable experience, but luckily my greasy nose saved the day.

Q: What happens if you knock it?

A: It hurts! Ha, but really, I was shaking on my journey to work the first day back, having to manoeuvre through the crowds, terrified someone would knock my nose. I did catch it a few times with clothes, and just being a bit clumsy, but it seems to be holding up okay. The weirdest part for me was for the first month or so the tip of my nose and the bit in between my nostrils felt numb and not entirely part of my nose. My surgeon described it as feeling "woody", if you can imagine that? It's still not entirely back to normal - but that can take anywhere from 6 months to a year.

Q: How do people react when they find out you've had a nose job?

A: I've been lucky enough that everyone who has heard about it has been really supportive and impressed that I've addressed something about myself that I didn't like. Some people think I've been brave. Some people think my money could have been better spent elsewhere - but those people tend to be those who don't quite understand how much I hated my nose beforehand. I'm often the one who, after a few drinks, volunteers the information anyway. Like "hey, like my nose? It didn't look like this last year". I'm proud that I did it and dammit, I spent enough on the thing. My friends say it's weird, because I still look like me, even though I look different.

Q: How would you react if someone was patronising or mean about your decision?

A: Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. It doesn't make sense to me why someone would be negative about something that has already happened, since it doesn't achieve anything, and makes everything quite awkward. I know that not everyone agrees with surgery, and some people believe that having surgery makes you somehow fake and artificial, and oooh you must be so damaged to have done that to yourself, etc. But ultimately, I'd just think, screw you. You live your life, and I'll live mine.

Q: Would you have more surgery?

A: Most probably not! The night after my procedure was hideous - my throat closed up because I overcompensated and tried to talk lots to let everyone know I was okay, but having had a tube down my throat for the best part of 4 hours, it just irritated it more. I couldn't talk, and I couldn't sleep because I couldn't breathe through my nose, or go more than a few breaths through my mouth before needing a drink to soothe it. I wouldn't want to risk having to experience that again, to be honest. Pre-surgery, I would have considered a breast enlargement, but knowing that recovery for that is lengthier and more uncomfortable, I've been put off. Also I don't think I'd be able to save that much money again... and even if I could, I'd want to put it towards something else. I'd be open to non-evasive procedures such as botox, but I hopefully won't have to think too much about that for a few more years!

Q: What do you wish you'd known before surgery?

A: I'm actually quite glad that I was ignorant to most aspects of my procedure. It meant that I didn't worry as much, because I wasn't sure what I needed to worry about. I'd never stayed overnight in a hospital (admittedly, I was private and it was far nicer than a standard hospital, but still), and I'd never gone "under" and been pumped with that many drugs. I wish I'd held faith and trusted my surgeon to make my nose suit my face (I kept telling him that I didn't want a "pig nose" with an upturned tip, which happens in unfortunate cases of terrible surgeons) and to be aware that even though you can be up and about the next day, you have to give yourself time to recover.

Q: So, any regrets?

A: As first mentioned - none! I pretty much have no savings left, which sometimes gives me heart palpitations if I think about it for too long - but ultimately it was all worth it. The blood, sweat, tears, niggles, money, needles, numerous herbal teas... all of it.


If anyone has more questions, please comment or feel free to email me, if that's less intimidating - I'm happy to help, as I know these things can be tricky to talk about!

P.S. Scarlett's full post on her rhinoplasty experience is here. It's very detailed & includes before/after images.
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