I decided to write this piece for those who may be preparing for a Septorhinoplasty and want to know what to expect. Whilst I was prepping myself for my surgery I tried searching up for something similar to this and couldn’t really find anything. So I hope this is interesting and helpful to you all. If you aren’t going through this it may be pretty boring i’m afraid.
Being born with a hereditary deviated septum is bad enough with the constant sore throats, the difficulty with any task that involves filling your mouth (eyyy) and just generally the lack of being able to breathe. However, add a noticeable bend in the nose and not only do I have sinus issues but a serious kick to my self-confidence.
Everyone used to tell me they never noticed the bend until it was pointed out, but having to look at yourself in the mirror every day you notice your own flaws a lot more than other people. Over the past couple of years my problem with my nose got worse and I saw it starting to affect my life more and more. Photographs were always at an angle if half of my face wasn’t already cropped out, I would position myself on my good side when hanging out with my boyfriend when we first started seeing each other and I would get serious ‘nose envy’ over anyone with a symmetrical face.
Due to the hereditary nature of my condition I knew when I hit the ripe age of 17 I would be able to have surgery to correct my blocked nose just like my brother, mum and granddad before me. Although, just as my brother was about to go under the knife he was asked if he was having plastic surgery as well to fix his bend (not sure if the crooked nose is hereditary or our parents were just a bit careless holding us as children). Unaware this was an option for him he obviously wasn’t, something he now wishes he had known about. Knowing this when the time came to look into the procedure I was eager to look into the possibility of plastic surgery at the same time.
This was easier said than done. I was explained this surgery was called a Septorhinoplasty, would involve 2 surgeons, take about 3 ½ hours and we would have to apply for the funding from the NHS. Because the deviated septum was causing me difficulty breathing the funding for the ‘septo’ part of the surgery was pretty much guaranteed, the ‘rhinoplasty’ aspect was a little more difficult as it is considered cosmetic. I understood this but was nonetheless disappointed and assumed I was to be stuck unsymmetrical forever. I also had to consider that once you have had an intrusive surgery to your nose, having another is quite dangerous so the option to have the Rhinoplasty later on when I had saved up myself wasn’t really an option.
It seemed that the bend in my nose wasn’t completely a bad omen however, as I was told that due to the extent of its misshape it wouldn’t be possible to fix the inside without straightening it. It was under these pretences that my funding was accepted after 18 months of various consultant visits. Now 19, I was all set to go under the knife on May 12th.
With 2 weeks booked off work for recovery, my tobacco thrown out and my boyfriend fully prepped on how careful he would have to be in the next 6 weeks to try and not head-butt me in our sleep (which is often a common occurrence in our bed), I was ready. My only major grievance being the fact that I would have to take 6 weeks off from the gym just before summer.
My time in hospital wasn’t all that bad. Prepped with an assortment of magazines my auntie and uncle thoughtfully brought me, an adult colouring book and a gorgeous baby boy who I cooed at made the waiting room experience rather pleasant. My tiredness from the 6am rise and hunger from not being allowed to eat anything was masking any butterflies that I should have felt in my stomach and in fact it wasn’t until I was lying down in my gown having needles prodded into me that I started to think “SHIT this is actually happening, I’m about to have my face cut open”. This feeling did not have the chance to stick around for long as the anaesthesiologist told me “I’m just going to give you something to calm you down and a second later I was out like a light.
7 hours later I woke in a new room with a fuzzy feeling in my head. The first thing I asked was “are we going to do the operation now” only to feel the hard plastic protecting my nose and realise. I enjoyed the next 2 hours chatting to the nurses, doctors and my parents and generally telling everyone how “peng” I felt. I can’t really remember much of what was said but I must have been impressionable because apparently the nurses loved me. The night that followed I can’t say was as enjoyable; being woken every hour to have my blood pressure taken and the need for painkiller top ups meant that by the time morning came I was majorly sleep deprived and pretty grumpy.
The next week at home was rather uncomfortable. 6 tablets 3 times a day to mask the pain and make sure I didn’t get any infections, inner and outer splints, a constant runny nose and 2 substantial black eyes meant I spent a week stuck in my house watching daytime TV, only to be alleviated by visits from my best friend. Cabin fever was imminent as someone who spends a lot of time out and about.
A week later I had the dreaded appointment to take out my splints, something I had been very nervous about after the wonderfully encouraging comments from my mother telling me this was the worst bit of it all and my brother’s experience of a student nurse attempting to take his out before removing the stitches that keep them in place! It wasn’t an enjoyable procedure; my eyes were streaming from the blinding light the surgeon needed and I admit I winced and swore a few times as the tweezers poked and prodded my nostrils but in general, wasn’t as bad as it was made out to be by my clearly wimp of a mother. Potentially influenced by the need to ‘deal with it’ as my support system, in the form of my dad, was rather useless due to his crippling fear of hospitals. He held my hand which is often all I need in a situation like that but I’m pretty sure he was the one needing to hold my hand. He looked so uncomfortable the nurse asked him if he was alright to be in the room and he failed to say anything until we left bless him. Probably won’t be the first person I ask to a hospital again. I had Steri-Strips underneath my outer splint that I was told to keep on for another week which was slightly disheartening to my eagerness to see my new nose but it had only been a week since the op so I told my impatience to quieten down.
The second week of recovery was much more bearable. With the huge bandages off of my face and my black eyes down to one I felt more comfortable going out and seeing people, my pain had subsided quite a lot and was just needing Ibuprofen here and there to help with the swelling of my nose. Since having the splints out I had also noticed a big improvement in my breathing, I even found myself sitting on the sofa breathing with my mouth closed for entertainment – something that I had never been able to do before.
3 weeks on and I am back to work, the last of my black eyes gone when I woke up this morning, a noticeable improvement in my breathing and a straight nose! I couldn’t be happier with how everything went and am shocked by how quickly I have healed. The only noticeable signs of my surgery are the sensitivity of my nose, particularly the tip; the scar under my nose from where the incision was made, this doesn’t bother me however as you can’t see it unless you look underneath my nose; 2 small bumps between my eyes and the bridge of my nose where they broke the nose when straightening it and swelling that I have been told will take a year to go down but isn’t noticeable to the untrained eye. I’m still struggling with not being able to go to the gym and have my return date written on my calendar, and the occasional knock to my nose due to my clumsiness will leave me breathless and teary eyed for a couple of minutes. But my confidence has increased drastically already and the couple of weeks off for recovery has definitely been worth it.
Thanks for reading,