Since I was about twelve years old, I disliked the way that my nose looked. As more time went by, the bigger it seemed to get, and the more I hated it. Eventually, when I was 18, I decided that the best option for me was to get a rhinoplasty (nose job). And so my rhinoplasty journey began and I documented my rhinoplasty experience from beginning to end.
My Rhinoplasty Experience
I began by researching rhinoplasty doctors. To be honest the more I looked, the more paranoid about surgery I became. I began to realize that there were a lot of bad doctors out there. Maybe “bad” is a little harsh, but their photo galleries did not give me the vote of confidence that I needed. I was tempted to go to out-of-state doctors, but finally, at age 24, I found a good doctor who was only an hour away.
I visited him several times before actually scheduling my surgery. He never seemed irritated or annoyed that I was back again to ask a million more questions — which was a good sign to me. The doctor that I decided to go to was Dr. Grigoryants, and I highly recommend him. He is both knowledgeable and honest.
Once I finally scheduled, he was booked three months out. I tried to not let my anxiety get the best of me while I waited for my surgery day. So I scoured the internet looking for other people’s experiences with their rhinoplasty surgery to ease some of that anxiety. One blog that I found to be particularly helpful (and found myself constantly going back to) was humpbegone.blogspot.com.
A month before my surgery day, I had my blood drawn and got the doctor’s clearance for the operation. It felt like the day had come in no time at all.
Here are my before pictures:
The Night Before My Rhinoplasty
I was both excited and extremely nervous. I never had any real surgery before (aside from having my wisdom teeth removed), and I was absolutely petrified about the anesthesia. Not my nose ending up ugly, nor the possible pain, and not the actual surgery. Just anesthesia.
Don’t ask me why. Maybe I’m just a control freak and while I knew everything else was in the hands of a very good doctor, I didn’t know anything about the anesthesiologist. I was just scared of dying! Yes, I know totally unfounded — definitely an irrational fear of mine.
Needless to say, I didn’t get the greatest sleep the night before but I figured the next day I would be sleeping all day anyways.
The Day of Surgery
Woke up bright and early. Chose a comfy outfit — light zip-up sweater, yoga leggings, and a sports bra that unhooks in the back. Call me crazy, but I didn’t want to wear a bra with wire in it just in case I needed to be shocked back to life. No makeup and no nail polish.
When I arrived at the hospital, I was so thirsty but had to ignore it due to the 24-hour no food/drink rule for surgery. They gave me a thousand pages of paperwork (ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration but it seemed like that!), and waited with my designated driver aka mom.
While we waited, I surprisingly wasn’t nervous at all. I had basically accepted death, and while this may sound terrible, it helped me to be totally calm about the whole thing — see, if someone as paranoid as me can go through with surgery, anyone can do it.
Getting Prepped for Rhinoplasty Surgery
A nurse finally came and took us back to the room with multiple beds. She went over my health history with me and the blood tests — which apparently includes a pregnancy test? She informed me that I was not pregnant. Great. Thanks, lady (I just thought that was really weird that she told me that when I didn’t know that was included in the pre-surgery). They strapped on a bunch of bracelets, started the heplock (where the IV goes), I changed in to the hospital jammies, jumped into the bed, and they wheeled me into a private room. Mom still got to come along.
In the room I met the nurse that was going to be assisting the doctor, and he explained to me that he would be strapping these things to my legs to keep good circulation. Then, the lady anesthesiologist came in to introduce herself. She was super nice and had some of the bluest eyes ever! She listened to all of my questions/concerns, and definitely put me at ease.
Then my doctor came in and drew on my nose for my closed rhinoplasty. Within a couple minutes another nurse came in and they wheeled me into the operating room. They all picked me up from the moving bed to the operating table super-fast; it felt like a hundred people were in that room (even though there were only seven; they were just speedy). Cords here, there, IV started, people hustling about – but all I could hear was the calming voice of the anesthesiologist talking to me. I don’t remember what she was saying, and I was out in a second.
Right After Surgery
I woke up to the sound of the anesthesiologist’s voice. She was asking me what my level of pain was on a scale from 1-10. I tried to answer but I felt like it took me longer than normal. Finally I mumbled 7 or 8. She explained that I already had quite a bit of morphine but she gave me a pill with a little glass of cold water. I was back in the initial room where I had put on the jammies. I felt incredibly dizzy and nauseated. No real pain, just strange discomfort. I explained to the nurse that I was really dizzy and she brought me a couple of crackers.
They took me to the car in a wheelchair and gave me a packet of ice that I was supposed to apply off and on for 15-minute intervals. The car ride was a breeze and despite the hour-long drive felt like 15 minutes. I was very tired and nauseated still when I got home, and plopped down on the sofa chair that would be my bed for the next week (sleeping with your head elevated is supposed to help with swelling). I did throw up but felt better afterwards.
Here is my pic right when I got home:
Post-Surgery: Day One
No pain, taking Vicodin as needed. I initially tried to take Tylenol instead but the achy feeling came so I started the Vicodin. I felt really tired mostly all day. My face started to swell a little bit, and the bruising around the eyes looks the same as surgery day. Hard food creates an uncomfortable pressure so I’m mostly relying on liquids (Ensure is a big help with needed calories) and pineapple juice for bruising. My throat is sore on the left side but it’s not terrible. Applying ice to my face on and off all day.
Post-Surgery: Day Two
A little more pain than the days before, but not bad by any means. My whole body feels achy. The swelling increased, bruising looks about the same. I haven’t been taking the Vicodin regularly. Still drinking pineapple juice and lots of water. I have a humidifier to help the dry mouth sore throat. Still icing, and I ate a whole can of chili (despite other rhinoplasty blogger’s advice); and now I have the worst headache ever! Stay away from foods with high salt content! Seriously.
Post-Surgery: Day Three
Almost the same as yesterday except that the body aches are pretty much gone. Bruising is starting to turn yellow. The swelling is pretty bad. Today I took a shower. It was a little difficult —you feel like a really old person, moving very slowly. And like an idiot I tried to look out the window at night and bumped my nose. It wasn’t very hard so I wasn’t that concerned. It did feel a little funny afterward, but that’s all.
Post-Surgery: Day Four
Eating solid foods today. Woo-hoo! I haven’t been taking the Vicodin consistently today, only planning on taking it at night. Still very, very swollen. My bruising has dropped a little lower and spread out more on the eyelids but is really turning a nice yellow color under the eye. Tomorrow I have a follow-up with my doctor.
Post-Surgery: Day Five
Totally normal day. Went to see my doctor in the evening, and he took my cast off. And man did that hurt! Made my eyes water but not unbearable. Then there was the reveal….
HAHAHAHA! I look like an old baby. I’m not going to lie, in that moment I totally wondered if I had made the wrong decision to get a rhinoplasty. It was really hard to see the nice new nose with my swollen discolored face, and swollen nose for that matter. I just avoided mirrors for the rest of the day in order to avoid slipping into rhinoplasty depression.
Now I’m not sure what happened exactly, but that night I had the worst night of my life. My stomach hurt so bad, I felt nauseous, had really bad hot and cold flashes, and a temperature of 103! I took a higher dosage of Tylenol and it was a very rough night.
Post-Surgery: Day Six
Still feeling like crap, the fever was gone and I definitely felt better than last night. I know it’s gross to say but the Vicodin definitely made me constipated. Today I was able to eat normal food, but it really wasn’t a great day. My doctor also told me to tape my nose to help keep the swelling down.
Post-Surgery: Day Seven
I felt pretty good. Still very swollen, still had some bruising. First day of wearing makeup. My skin texture was so weird. It was like trying to put makeup on the sticky side of scotch tape. I covered the bruising with MAC full coverage NW 20. And went to school as it was the first night of class!
I can honestly recommend taking two weeks off from life after surgery; one week was not enough for me. It was really hard to focus in class.
Post-Surgery: 1 week and 4 days
Post-Surgery: 1 month
The swelling and bruising both took about a month to go away completely in my face.
The way that the nose changes with time is pretty interesting. At first it looked as though I had a whole new nose, and it was definitely really weird looking in the mirror and seeing a different face looking back. But eventually, I got used to it and could see “characteristics” of my old nose coming back as swelling subsided.
Then, like a dummy, I crashed into a machine at work. I hit the bridge of my nose relatively hard. Of course, I immediately called my doctor and explained that I had walked right into the machine. He said not to worry and that I would likely experience some swelling he would check it at my next follow-up appointment. I didn’t really notice any change happen to my nose aside from the swelling.
Post-Surgery: 4 months
Post-Surgery: 6 months
I’m so happy that most of the initial swelling is significantly gone and my “old nose” is a little more visible — my nostrils have returned to normal size, and columella came down so my nose isn’t so upturned. My columella has a little extra cartilage in it on one side, which bugs me. I know I shouldn’t expect a perfect nose, but it is so close to being one. Some swelling and the feeling of stiffness in my nose is still present — I’ve read that it takes about two years for a rhinoplasty to completely heal.
Post-Surgery: 1 year
Post-Surgery: 1 year and 6 months
I can’t believe that so much time went by so quickly. I still have some slight swelling in my nose and stiffness. My nose has seemed to slim down as time went by. My nose is a hundred times better than it was before surgery. There are some small things still bugging me that I may or may not address in the future; I am definitely going to wait until the two year mark has passed before I do anything. I haven’t had any major problems, or changes to things like my voice. It did seem like I could breathe really well around the two month mark, but now has returned to how it was pre-surgery; my doctor says I have allergies (who doesn’t!).
As for advice that I’d give to others starting on this journey: like your doctors work, stay away from salt, make yourself move around during recovery, drink a lot of water (and possibly prune juice if you’re on Vicodin), take Arnica Montana and finally, have patience. Results take time. Additionally, when the swelling is going away the nose is sometimes uneven so don’t freak out about it.
I hope that this blog proves to be informative, and comforting to you. Are you considering surgery? Or already had it done, either way I’d love to hear from you!
As requested here are the before and afters: