"I Saw A Chance for Improvement" Lisa's Nose Surgery
Los Angeles, California
Specialty: Plastic Surgery
By: Sara Folsom iEnhance.com. Posted 2/3/2010
It is human nature to judge a person based on how he or she looks. This is often why millions of individuals seek cosmetic improvements every year, either through non-surgical or surgical procedures. A talented broadcast journalist, community spokesperson, and on-air personality, Lisa sought out plastic surgery at 37-years-old for cosmetic reasons. Up until she was 13-years-old, she was satisfied with her nasal appearance. At that time, a bicycle accident caused her to fall directly on her face. She dislocated her nose, which left a bump on the bridge, resulting in an uneven facial profile. Her physician advised her parents not to worry because at her young age, she would go through physical metamorphosis.
However, more than 20 years later, she was still left with a slightly crooked nose. In her 20s, she was conscious of the bump on her nose, but felt she was not ready for surgery. Now in her 30s, and with the ambition of advancing her career through broadcast journalism, she understands that in television - and even radio - her face is used as a way of marketing herself. This is why Lisa began seriously considering nose surgery, medically referred to as "rhinoplasty."
"I have been content with the appearance of my nose," said Lisa. "But as time grows, your nose grows (laugh) and so I saw a chance for improvement. I wanted the rhinoplasty to help enhance my appearance."
In addition to being featured as a regional television broadcaster, she is also accessible to her radio fans via the Internet; this has prompted her to be more conscious of her looks. She initially thought about undergoing the procedure two years ago, but she wanted to make sure she was making an educated decision regarding surgery. Lisa entrusted me to shadow her entire surgical process.
Finding the Right Rhinoplasty Surgeon
Lisa researched numerous plastic surgeons for several weeks, looking through various doctors' websites. She eventually decided to visit Robert M. Wald Jr., M.D. to learn about the procedure, because she was impressed with his qualifications and experience.
"He has a great deposition, and is established in his education, experience, and background, which makes him highly credible to assist me in achieving my goal," said Lisa.
She was reminiscent of how he gave her the opportunity to make her own decisions. The comfort and professionalism Dr. Wald and his staff provided prompted her decision; she wanted him to perform her rhinoplasty.
"It is so important when someone doesn't sell you a product like this, because the cause and effect are so personal," she said. "He is a true and polished professional who is confident in his craft so therefore, he will simply inform you of the procedure and outcome."
Orange County plastic surgeon Dr. Wald is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) and the American Board of Otolaryngology (ABOto). He has been named one of the Top Doctors in Orange Coast Magazine for the past seven years and completed his plastic surgery residency at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Due to his 20 years of experience, Lisa felt she was in the safe hands with Dr. Wald.
The Rhinoplasty Consultation
Most individuals consider the possible complications and risks associated with a procedure the most daunting aspects of undergoing cosmetic plastic surgery. With so many "poster children" of cosmetic surgery gone overboard, such as celebrities like Joan Rivers and Michael Jackson; it can often heighten someone's fear of going "under the knife."
"Of course my worst apprehension and fear was something goes wrong. What if there are complications?" said Lisa. "The consultation was so important. It helped to eliminate that fear of any unknown."
While she and I waited to be called in for her consultation with Dr. Wald, Lisa looked through the various entertainment and women's beauty magazines in the waiting room. Lisa was especially attentive to the celebrities in the magazines and their noses, which brought on an interesting thought to her own experience.
"I feel a sense of sadness for celebrities and other high profile public figures who are constantly being followed by the paparazzi and criticized for their looks. I am only well-known through my regional area in So Cal, and I am constantly concerned how I present myself. I just can't imagine what it would be like to be them (celebrities)," said Lisa.
During the consultation with Dr. Wald, he examined her nose and felt that a subtle improvement would bring better overall symmetry to her facial profile. The surgery would entail the breaking of her nose to straighten it. In order to accomplish this, he would need to make small incisions on the sides of her nose and use special instruments to break it. Dr. Wald would also need to make another incision across the columella (the skin cartilage separating the two nostrils) to pull the skin and cartilage back to shave the bump on the bridge of her nose. This technique is known as "closed rhinoplasty." Scarring would be easily hidden and fade over a course of six months to a year. The surgery would take one and half to two hours, under a general anesthetic.
"She was a perfect candidate because the changes she wanted to her nose were achievable and realistic, and she was in good health," said Dr. Wald."The first and most important is patients have realistic expectations about the surgery. As long as their goals are realistic and achievable, they make the best candidates. The key is to be real, understand the procedure, and check out the surgeon to make sure he or she is competent to perform the surgery."
Because she doesn't smoke or drink, Lisa was able to schedule her surgery date for the following week. For most people, smoking and drinking alcohol should be stopped two weeks before and two weeks after surgery to ensure safety and better recovery.
Day of Nose Surgery (One Week After the Consultation)
After a week of preparing for the procedure, mentally and physically, Lisa was still slightly nervous before going into surgery. But as she walked into the surgery center, setting all anxiety and apprehensions aside, she said, "I am so excited!"
I was in the operating room during the entire procedure and observed Dr. Wald. I viewed the experience as him sculpting a work of art, rather than interpreting it as a surgery.
Nose Surgery Recovery
As with all procedures, post-operative instructions (which are provided by your doctor) are important to follow in order to ensure a safe recovery process and achieve the best results possible. Lisa was instructed to keep the surgical site clean and had to wear a nose splint for the first week. She found the most difficult part to be sleeping sitting up; this is to keep the nose elevated in order to subside swelling and bruising.
"The first two days after surgery were the toughest and expected, but with the assistance of pain medication and reading through all the procedures, I was able to make it through. By the third day I felt like I was up and ready to go; although, I knew I needed another few days of relaxing," said Lisa.
Follow-up Rhinoplasty Visit (One week post-op)
It has been a week since the surgery, and even though it has been a bit strenuous for Lisa she is excited to see her "new nose."
Dr. Wald removed the splint and stitches (except for a few dissolvable stitches still on the inside of the nostrils). Although, swelling was still apparent, bruising was remarkably "not noticeable." Despite minor swelling there was a significant change in her profile and overall facial appearance.
Lisa couldn't help but keep looking at her nose in the mirror. Even with the final results still not apparent, she was already satisfied with the outcome of the surgery.
Month and a Half Post-Op
Although Lisa will not be able to see full results for six months to a year, she is pleased with the overall appearance of her nose at this point. A majority of her co-workers and friends did not even know she had work done, which was the goal of this surgery.
"Some surgeries are life-changing and let's be real about this, it was not a life-altering change, but enough to make me feel better about my looks when I'm standing in front of the mirror," said Lisa.
For individuals who are interested in undergoing plastic surgery, she recommends that you should be mentally prepared.
"When going into the consultation make sure to listen to what your doctor is telling you, and be realistic with your own results. Be prepared with lots of questions. And most importantly, make sure you find trust in your doctor," she said.
Dr. Wald also suggests before a consultation, "The patient should figure out what he or she wants. In preparation, they should read about their procedure on the Internet and do their homework, and closely evaluate the surgeon – know how many surgeries he or she has performed." To be prepared for the consultation, patients should "bring in photos of the people they want their nose to look like and a family member (or friend) they trust (during the consultation)."
"It is always healthy to take a close friend or trusted relative with you to the consultation. I did just that and this will provide a second set of ears and may be more comforting to have someone there to support and ease any normal apprehensions. At the end of the day, you have to like what you look like, and it's a greater feeling to say I'm loving it," said Lisa.
*At the patient's request, we have changed her name.