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Laura's Story

Rhinoplasty: A Personal Nose Surgery Story

This is the story of Laura's Rhinoplasty (nose surgery). It was a tough go but she is very happy she did it.


Hi There! My name is Laura and I am 25 years old. I have three small children and I am married to a great guy. Around the time I hit puberty, my nose started to develop a hump on the bridge of my nose. My Dad has a "generous" nose himself and it became apparent that I had inherited it. The older I got, the bigger my nose got. The hump became much more pronounced and the tip of my nose was long and droopy. I cannot begin to tell you how this affected my self esteem. I wanted to get a "nose job" more then anything in the entire world. I was so tired of trying to hide my profile with long hair and sunglasses. Being a female with a "big nose" really stinks.

About 2 years ago we finally got a computer. And with that the Internet. I spent most of my free time researching rhinoplasty and plastic surgeons. During that time I found the FaceForum message board and tons of other sites on Plastic Surgery and it really helped me a lot. It gave me a pretty realistic expectation of risks and complications. But the success stories made me very hopeful-and very jealous. I loved to look at before and after pictures. I wanted to get it done so bad!! Around the same time my husband got a better paying job so I decided it was "Now or Never." It was no surprise to him that I wanted to get it done, and after a few weeks of begging on my part, he agreed. HOORAY!

There are literally thousands of Plastic Surgeons on the Web. It can be very daunting to try and pick ONE. But from my research I picked up a few tips on how to pick a "good" one. I was only considering surgeons certified with "The American Board of Plastic Surgery" so I started to narrow my search down. I found some good ones in my area and went from there. I went on a few consultations. But one in particular I was very interested in from La Jolla, California. He was a Board Certified ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat or Otolaryngologist) first and then went on to get his Certification in Plastic Surgery. He specialized in facial plastic surgery, especially noses. When I called his office to schedule the consultation I immediately got a very good feeling from his receptionist. When she found out it was for Rhinoplasty she said "You are getting yourself a GOOD one" (meaning the doctor). I was really excited about going to see this doctor. 

Consultation and Pre-op Preparations:

My consult was scheduled 2 weeks from the day I called. During these two weeks I visited FaceForum often. I read the "Experiences" again and I realized that the name of "Cindy's" surgeon was the same name as the surgeon I was about to go see. He has sort of an unusual name. I emailed Terri to ask her if this was the same surgeon and she told me indeed it was! I asked her to send Cindy my e-mail address in the hopes that maybe I could talk to her about it. Cindy couldn't have been nicer or more helpful. She talked me through not only the whole two weeks, but up until the day of my surgery. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

My consultation went well. Dr. Olesen is a very no nonsense kind of guy. He came in the exam room, said "Hello" and proceeded to look up my nose. LOL. He gets right to the point. He went on to tell me that since my nose was perfectly straight (no deviated septum) it would only be cosmetic and its one of the "easiest" rhinoplasties to perform (no rhinoplasty is actually easy). We talked awhile about what I wanted. He told me what was realistic and showed me some pictures. Then he took a picture of me with a digital camera and put it on the computer. He them went on to digitally "fix" my nose and showed me how it would look hump free! That was really fun. He made it clear though that it was only an estimate and, of course that isn't exactly how it would turn out. We talked awhile longer and he answered my questions honestly. I knew I really wanted to go with this doctor, so I got the exact cost of the surgery and went home.

I decided to finance the surgery and I went online and found the financial company the doctor used. I applied and got approved so I called the office and scheduled the surgery one month to the day of the consultation. April 20, 2000 would be the day I would FINALLY get the nose I'd always dreamed of having! That was the longest darn month. But I got through it. Two weeks before surgery I had my "pre-op" appointment. I was weighed, measured, had blood taken, interviewed by one of his nurses and given full instructions and what to do (and not do) to prepare for the big day. They gave me tons of info to read through. I was also given the prescriptions I needed for the surgery. These included an antibiotic, pain killers, sleeping pills and something called "Arnica Montana" for swelling. I also had to pay for the surgery in full at this appointment.

Rhinoplasty Surgery

Finally the day came. My Mom had come down the day before so she could take me to surgery. I got up at 5 am and took a shower. I washed head to toe with Antibacterial Soap as I was instructed. No make-up, no hair products, no jewelry. Completely empty stomach. My surgery was scheduled for 7:30 am. We left an hour early to be sure we got there in time. My poor husband was a wreck. He was really worried about me, especially since he couldn't be there. He had to stay home with the kids. This is about the time I started to get extremely nervous. I half cried, half laughed the whole way. I couldn't believe I was actually going to let this guy operate on my FACE on purpose!! Every complication that could possibly happen went through my head. But no way was I going to back out.

We arrived at the surgical center on time. I didn't even have to sit in the waiting room, they were all set for me. First surgery of the day! I went into this tiny room to change into my gown, paper slippers and something that looked like a paper shower cap. I was shaking I was so scared. Then my Mom came in to wait with me. The nurse that would be there during the surgery was in the room with me as well. She was wonderful. She told me about all the procedures she had done by Dr. Olesen. All the women who worked there had Dr. Olesen work on them at one time or another! Lots of pretty noses in that office. She really made me feel more relaxed.

The anesthesiologist came in and explained everything that he would do. He had to check my throat and he asked me tons of questions. I knew at the consultation that I would be under Local Anesthesia. That means that I would not be fully put to sleep during the surgery. Yeah-that freaked me out. Then my surgeon came in and spoke with my Mother and I for a while and then it was time to start! I said good-bye to my Mom and went into the operating suite. I laid down on the extremely comfortable operating table. I was SO scared at this point I thought about running away! Obviously I didn't. The anesthesiologist started my IV. It really didn't hurt. He then told be he was going to start the sedative and that's about the last thing I remember.

Rhinoplasty Recovery - Days 1 and 2:

I know that I heard some sounds during the surgery. But they sounded very fuzzy and far away. And I almost felt like I was floating. But I never saw anything and I never felt anything. It was actually a pretty cool feeling. Then I realized that I was in the recovery room and that it was over. It seemed about 5 minutes, but the surgery actually lasted a little over an hour. My nose didn't hurt but I had about the worst headache of my entire life. The IV tube was still in my arm and I must have asked the nurse for some pain medication because she shot something into the tube before she took the IV out. My head felt a little better. I think the doctor came in, but I was still pretty out of it. I know he went in to talk to my Mom for a while.

Then I remember the anesthesiologist coming in and telling me that I did very well and that I would be thrilled with my nose. He saw it before the cast went on. The nurse let me lay there for about an hour and then it was time to go home. She made sure I had all my medication with me and helped me change into the button up dress I had brought from home to wear. I was worried that I'd have to walk through the lobby looking that way but thankfully they have a door in the recovery room that leads directly into an ally. My moms car was sitting there waiting for me. Nobody was around at all. It's extremely discreet and I really appreciated that. My head really started to hurt in the car. I took 2 of my pain killers and I felt much better.

We finally got home and I already needed my drip pad changed. My doctor does not use packing. I had a wad of gauze taped under my nose to catch of the lovely things that were pouring out of it. When I got out of the car I saw the look of horror on my poor husband's face (although he did his best to hide it). I looked like I'd gotten hit in the face by a truck. My then 4 year old and 14 month old were both pretty freaked out. They stayed away from me for a few days.

The first day was definitely the worst. I felt just awful. A few hours after I'd gotten home I decided it was time to look in the mirror. I shuffled my way into the bathroom and braved a look into the mirror. It was horrible. My eyes were completely black and swollen. My face was swollen and I had horrible bruising on my cheeks. Even part of my forehead was swollen! I couldn't move my mouth at all. It was very numb. My drip pad was soaked in blood and I had a big white cast on my face. BUT I could tell by the shape of the cast that my hump was gone! He had taped the end of my nose up and I looked like Miss Piggy. My nostrils were caked in dried blood. I looked about as gross as any accident victim I'd ever seen. I really couldn't believe I'd chosen to do that to myself. I took pain pills all that first day because of my headache. My nose never really hurt at all.

Rhinoplasty Recovery - After Surgery

That night it was very hard to sleep. I had to prop up my head on about 5 pillows and I could only sleep on my back. By the next morning my nose had stopped bleeding. My headache was gone too. But the bruising around my eyes had gotten much worse. I could see under the cast that my bridge was extremely swollen and the tip looked enormous. But, still that awful hump was gone. The next few days I existed solely on popcicles and breath mints. That Monday I had my first of many post op appointments. I had to drive myself and that was pretty embarrassing. The doctor checked me out and said that everything looked great. We set up my appointment to get the cast removed for Friday (7 days after my surgery). That week my nose got bumped a few times by my kids and the cast got filthy. Once I had to go to the grocery store and I had to take my daughter to preschool. Yes, it was embarrassing. But a Mom's gotta do what a Mom's gotta do.

Friday morning I was almost as excited as I had been surgery day. I actually got there an hour early in the hopes they could squeeze me in. While I was waiting I spoke with a woman who was there for her pre-op appointment for a rhinoplasty. She looked sort of sick looking at my battered face. LOL. I told her I looked 100 times worse then I felt. Finally I was called in. He checked up my nostrils and then it was time to remove the cast! Like I said before, my doctor is a no-nonsense guy, and he proceeded to rip the cast off. I can honestly say that was the most painful part of the surgery. But it only hurt for a second and he handed me a mirror. I looked at my profile and my heart fell. The hump was gone, but my nose was way too straight and it was huge! Plus my tip was sticking up too high and you could see up my nose. My doctor however looked extremely pleased and so did the nurse. It looked so weird!

I said 'It's swollen right??" And he told me that yes, it was very much swollen. I went home and stared at my nose for about an hour. I also reread the booklet he had given me about disappointment immediately after plastic surgery and how normal it was. I felt a tiny bit better. Over the next three weeks my bruising faded to green, then yellow and then by about the 17th day it was completely gone. The swelling had gone down a bit, but it was still really straight and the tip was still big. Over the next few months the swelling got better and better and around the fifth month I saw the biggest change in my nose. The bridge had settled down and had a very nice, slight curve to it (no ski slopes here) and the tip finally gotten smaller. It became much more defined and I finally saw what I great nose I now had!

Well, as of writing this, its been over a year now and I am fairly confident in saying that I now have the final product. It's just lovely and I couldn't be happier with it. It took a long time and tons of patience but I really do have the nose of my dreams now. But better then that my self esteem really soared. I will be forever grateful to Dr. Olesen for what he's done for me. Spring of last year was a great time for me. Not only did I get a great nose, but 2 months after my surgery I found out I was pregnant with my third child! My daughter Erica just turned 6 months old and she's perfectly beautiful.

I only told 7 people about the surgery and so far they are the only 7 that have ever said anything about it. Either other people really do not notice stuff like noses, or they are just too polite to say anything. And I don't even think about my nose anymore. Its really freeing not to obsess over my appearance 24 hours a day. I only wish I had gotten it done in high school. It would have saved me a lot of grief. I can honestly say that besides my children, having the rhinoplasty operation was the best thing I could have ever done for myself. If you are considering it, please remember that it is not something to go into lightly. It is a serious and complicated surgical procedure that will change a feature of your face permanently. Research the procedure, make sure you know what you are getting into. And find yourself a qualified BOARD CERTIFIED PLASTIC SURGEON. Find your surgeon at the 'American Board of Plastic Surgery.' If s/he isn't there, I suggest you keep looking. Thanks for reading this and good luck to all of you!!!

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- Laura

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