Considering a nose job? This complete guide will help you decide whether or not the procedure is something you want to do and outlines my entire personal experience with having a septo-rhinoplasty.
Before I dive into the details and what you can expect, I wanted to make a short disclaimer. I believe that everybody has the choice to do what they wish with their own body. I am not promoting cosmetic surgery, but simply giving you the information to make informed decisions for yourself.
Growing up, I was constantly aware of my nose. When I reached my teens, I was more aware than ever and by the time I was fourteen, I was already announcing that I wanted a nose job.
This internal despise for my nose and my lust for a new one lasted for 20 years, and as I got older and started experiencing more and more sinus and nasal issues, I knew that it was time.
My nose was not only far too big for my face which made me super self-conscious; but it was crooked, had different size nostrils, a deviated septum, and would run non-stop. I would wake up every night not being able to breathe out of one side and had to carry tissues with me wherever I went. (You can watch why I decided to do this here)
Frankly, I was tired of it. So tired.
I would have never thought that I would actually go through with a rhinoplasty. But there I was– an anxiety-ridden girl who had the greatest fear of doctors and anything medical — voluntarily going under the knife for the first time ever.
I was nervous, but I was also excited which helped to calm the nerves a little bit. Having wanted something for SO LONG, this journey was very personal and absolutely an accomplishment for me.
I know that a lot of people have questions about the nose job experience, and while I have done my best to answer them in my Nose Job Q&A video as well as my Entire Rhinoplasty Experience video, I wanted to address the whole process here and allow you to decide for yourself whether or not this is something you want to go through with.
So, here is my entire “Rhinoplasty Guide” which I hope you’ll find informative and helpful!
Finding and Choosing a Doctor
First things first, let’s find a doctor. Since your doctor will be the one you’re putting all of your trust in, you want to be absolutely certain that you are confident with having them perform your surgery.
One app that I recommend for vetting doctors is the RealSelf app. You can read real reviews, stories, and see before and after photos from people who have trusted doctors to do their own procedures. I recommend finding a couple and saving their information.
Tip: Choose doctors who specialize in rhinoplasty and facial surgeries. Many cosmetic surgeons offer many different services ranging from breast augmentations to tummy tucks, and while they may have high reviews and a portfolio full of photos for those procedures, you’ll feel more confident with someone who specifically works on noses.
I chose Dr. Richard Rival who practices out of Toronto and Newmarket, Ontario. He is a renowned facial cosmetic surgeon who dedicates himself to rhinoplasty. Because of this, he is always up to date with the latest in modern techniques and I was able to feel 100% comfortable and confident in his abilities.
Once you’ve narrowed down your choices of doctors, it’s time to set up some consultations to see if they are a good fit for you.
A consultation is your opportunity to ask any questions you have regarding the procedure and to also ask what the doctor recommends for you and your facial structure. Think about this as a job interview where you are interviewing potential candidates for your job!
Your doctor will ask you about your nose and what it is that you dislike as well as any problems that you may experience. He/she should also be able to show you a digital mockup of what they believe your nose will look like after the surgery.
This is also the time to discuss the cost and payment terms. Don’t be shy, this is your face and your money! Nose jobs can range in price depending on your location and what needs to be done, but I’ve found the majority to cost from $7k-$10k.
Tip: Find out which type of rhinoplasty they will perform; open or closed? If you don’t know the difference, do your research beforehand and ask the doctor to explain the two. Ask if they use packing; note that more modern techniques do not usually require packing which is an absolute bonus! Finally, ask if they are available via email or otherwise should you have any questions at any time.
Booking Your Appointment
After you’ve decided on your doctor, you can go ahead and make your appointment. Usually this will be a few months after your initial consultation. Your doctor’s office will take a deposit for the procedure and give or send you a package of documents which will explain what you should expect as well as aftercare information. If you do not receive this, definitely ask to be sent a package!
Getting Your Supplies
With your surgery date booked, you can start stocking up on some supplies. These will usually be recommended by the doctor in your surgery package, but I will share some of the necessities that I found super helpful to have on hand below:
- Cool mist humidifier
- Paper medical tape
- Gauze pads
- Nose spray (to keep lubricated to encourage healing)
- Lots of ice or ice packs
- Arnica tablets (optional: helps with swelling and bruising)
- Travel neck pillow
- Polysporin (or other brand antibiotic ointment)
Approximately two weeks before your scheduled surgery, you’ll visit your family doctor to undergo a quick exam. This exam is just to make sure that you’re well enough to have the procedure. Your doctor should have a form to fill out and will check things like your heart rate, weight, height, and the basics. It’s a super easy appointment and absolutely nothing to worry about.
You’ve made it and the day is finally here! You’re probably going to feel a bit nervous and excited all in one. You’ll need to arrive to your appointment early so they can check you in and prep you for the procedure.
The nurses will give you some super flattering (sarcasm) garments to put on and send you into the pre-surgery waiting room.
Dr. Rival was so lovely and met with me a few minutes beforehand to go over things briefly. He showed me the photos we had discussed and made sure we were on the same page again. This definitely helped calm my nerves a little bit!
Next, you’ll be taken to see your anesthesiologist. Honestly, this was the part I was most afraid of as I had never been put out before and I have a gigantic fear of needles. I wasn’t sure how I would handle it and I was afraid of how I would feel when I woke up. Thankfully, all went well. My anesthesiologist was a super nice and spunky young man who did things very quickly and kept my attention off of the needle. Within seconds of getting the needle inserted and being told to hold an oxygen mask to my face, I was out cold. There wasn’t even any time to be nervous.
Tip: Try to schedule your appointment in the morning so that you’re not stressing about it all day. Get it over and done with and you’ll have the whole afternoon to rest.
The next thing I knew, I was waking up in a different room with a nurse beside me. I’ve heard that everybody feels differently when coming off of the anesthetic and in some cases you may feel a bit sick. Thankfully, I didn’t feel sick at all, just super groggy and a bit dizzy. I couldn’t keep my eyes open during that whole post-surgery time or during the hour and a half drive home.
Tip: If you are worried about feeling sick afterwards, tell your anesthesiologist beforehand that you’d like something to prevent nausea as well.
You can expect to be all bandaged up with your nose covered in a hard cast and a gauze drip pad taped under your nostrils. If you had an open rhinoplasty, there will be an incision under the middle part of your nostrils with some self-dissolving stitches. The nurse will keep an eye on you for about an hour and then prepare you to head home. This is the time when you can have any friend, spouse, or family member come and sit with you.
I was transferred from the hospital bed to a wheelchair and wheeled out to the car shortly after. I did not feel any pain or sickness.
Now that you’re home, you need to rest up and take it easy. You should expect to be out of commission for at least 4 days before you start to feel “normal” again.
Sleeping and eating are going to be the hardest parts for the next couple of days. I highly recommend using a travel pillow around your neck and stacking a few pillows up behind your shoulders to keep your head propped up. Your doctor should have sent you home with some instructions explaining how to heal and take care of yourself.
The best tips that I can provide for you are these:
- Ice, ice, ice! Rest ice on your nose/under your eyes constantly. This is going to be how you keep swelling and bruising down and how you can heal quickly. One of the nurses shared a trick what worked amazingly well. She said to fill up a latex glove with water, tie the end, and freeze it. The “ice hand” sits perfectly over your nose, with a finger or two on the bridge of your nose and the remaining fingers on either side of it. Game changer!
- Stock up on soft foods. It’s actually really hard to chew when your nose is totally clogged and you can’t breathe out of it.
- Use the nasal spray often. It keeps your nose moist and aids in healing.
- Get lots of rest! Sleep heals, so take advantage of this downtime and catch some extra Z’s. When you’re not sleeping, continue to take it easy and binge watch some Netflix shows.
- Keep your head up – absolutely do not turn your head upside down to wash your hair or anything of that nature. You’ll end up with bruises as the blood rushes to your head.
- Keep applying Polysporin to your incision area to speed up healing.
- Do not blow your nose for at least 2 weeks! Also, if you need to sneeze, do it through your mouth!
- The stitches are weird. As your nose heals, it continues to push out the stitches so you may find them falling off or coming loose. When you are able to blow your nose, it’s not uncommon to find some pieces of stitches in your tissue as well.
After one week or so, you’ll have another appointment with your doctor to remove your cast! This is when you are able to finally see what your new nose looks like… sort of.
You need to go into this appointment knowing that noses can take up to a full year to heal properly. When your cast is first removed, it might appear bigger than normal. Don’t be scared! It’s just swollen and the swelling will continue to subside over the next month or so.
If you had a doctor that uses more modern techniques and didn’t use packing, this appointment is easy. The cast is just carefully peeled off and you’re done. For those that did have packing, your doctor will remove those too (I hear it’s a bit uncomfortable but quick and a relief because you can breathe again!).
Your New Nose!
You’ve got your new nose and should feel super proud of yourself for going through with something that (I’m sure) made you pretty nervous and anxious. Your nose is still healing and your stitches may still be in place but every day you’ll start to notice little changes.
It’s been over a whole year now since I had my own procedure and it was by far one of the best decisions I ever made. The feeling of not having to constantly be aware of my nose was worth it, and of course the fact that I can breathe better and I don’t have to carry tissues with me wherever I go made it even better.
If you are considering having a rhinoplasty performed or if you have had one, share your questions, concerns, or stories below in the comments.