What It's Really Like To Get A Nose Job

If you don't like your nose, it can drastically affect your self-confidence. We spoke to three patients who have had a nose job about why they did it, what a rhinoplasty procedure is really like, and tips for anyone considering surgery.
Patient Perspective
Written by India Bottomley
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What It's Really Like To Get A Nose Job

Your nose can be one of your most recognizable features but if you are unhappy with how it looks, it can drastically affect your self-confidence. Fortunately, rhinoplasties (nose jobs) are a common and increasingly popular way to change the appearance of one’s nose and (possibly) boost confidence. We spoke to three patients who have undergone the procedure to find out what it is really like getting a nose job and what advice they have for others who might be considering the surgery.

Hannah, Ridgefield, CT

Hannah, a 24-year-old who works in communications, had always felt that her lack of self-confidence was holding her back in her client-facing job. “I inherited my nose from my father’s side of the family. As I went through high school and college, I became increasingly bothered by how I looked,” she says. “I wanted to do something about it. I thought changing it would help me to get further in my career.”

The AEDITION: How did you prepare for the procedure?

Hannah: I decided to start eating clean as soon as I scheduled my surgery. I wasn’t looking after myself at the time and I figured if I was going to have surgery I should start taking care of my body. I have anxiety too, so I started meditation before my procedure and had a guided meditation app on my phone in case I got anxious at the clinic.

The AEDITION: *What was the procedure like for you?

Hannah: The procedure itself was actually pretty simple. My plastic surgeon and I spoke about which type of anesthesia I should have and, since I have anxiety, we opted for a light general anesthetic so I wouldn’t be awake for the procedure itself.

The AEDITION: How long did it take you to recover?

Hannah: I was able to leave the hospital the same day as my surgery and I spent the first four days at my parents’ house so they could be there if I needed help. It took me about a week to get my energy levels back and by day 14 or so, the swelling was barely visible anymore. It really didn’t take all that long and it wasn’t painful. It did feel strange sometimes, kind of like I had a hair on my face where the nerves were waking up, but other than that, it was uneventful.

The AEDITION: Did you buy anything specific to aid recovery?

Hannah: My mom had a triangle pillow so I could sit up in bed easily, which was definitely helpful. I also started wearing contact lenses before my surgery because I’d been told I wouldn’t be able to wear my glasses for about six weeks after the procedure without having a special splint. I was so glad I did that because I don’t know how I would’ve managed otherwise.

The AEDITION: What advice would you give to someone considering a rhinoplasty?

Hannah: My biggest tip is to not scare yourself with post-surgery photos you find online. It looks so much more painful than it actually is. I was shocked by how comfortable the whole thing was.

Diane, Fremont, CA

Diane’s nose was deformed since birth, which resulted in aesthetic and functional issues. She decided to have a rhinoplasty procedure after graduating from college. “I wanted to feel my best before I started working and I did not know when I would be able to find the time to have my procedure if I didn’t do it before I got my first real job,” she explains.

The AEDITION: What did you ask your surgeon during your consultation?

Diane: I wanted the surgeon to be honest with me during my consultation about the results I could expect since my issues weren’t only aesthetic but also medical. To be honest, even though I was having the surgery for two reasons, improving the shape of my nose was my priority. I was also concerned about pain and downtime, so I wanted to make sure I knew what I was getting myself into before I went ahead with it. I was lucky to have a very understanding surgeon who took the time to explain the procedure and recovery step by step. I like knowing details so that helped me feel more in control and like I had a realistic idea of what I would be going through.

The AEDITION: Were you happy with the result of your procedure?

Diane: Totally. My nose isn’t perfect now, but it’s so much better than it used to be. It’s like a better version of what I had before. I think it looks natural, which is what I wanted. It did take a while for it to feel like my nose though. The nerves took a little while to wake up and I had to get used to seeing a new face looking back at me in the mirror. All in all, I had a really positive experience.

The AEDITION: What advice do you have for anyone considering having a nose job?

Diane: Don’t worry about it too much. I’d imagined the pain to be so bad, but aside from being uncomfortable on the first day, I had no pain at all. The scar is invisible and I didn’t even have to have stitches taken out because they used dissolvable ones. Once the procedure is done, you really just have to wait for the swelling and bruising to go down and you can get back to your normal life. But be prepared for a shock when you first see yourself after surgery. It wasn’t pretty, but it looks so much worse than it feels and the swelling goes away super fast.

Kevin*, Los Angeles, CA

Kevin works inmedia and is used to having his appearance scrutinized on a regular basis. He had a rhinoplasty after years of being unhappy with the shape of his nose. “I broke my nose twice when I was younger, so I’d gotten a lump on each side of my nose,” Kevin shares. “I don’t think other people noticed them, but they bothered me so I wanted to get my nose fixed.”

The AEDITION: How did you prepare for the procedure?

Kevin: I did a ton of research and asked some friends who’d had the procedure to find out about the practicalities of getting a nose job. I got most of the medical information from my physician or online, but my friends helped with practical stuff like buying zipper hoodies for after surgery so you don’t have to lift a sweater over your head and risk hitting your nose! I also made sure I had groceries for that first week and that my family and friends would be able to come check on me during the first days after the surgery.

The AEDITION: How was the recovery for you and did you need much downtime?

Kevin: Honestly, it was so much better than I thought it would be. My friends said it was pretty much painless, but I thought they might have been just saying that to reassure me. It was really straightforward. As long as I took the medication I was prescribed, I felt totally fine. There was bruising, which wasn’t very nice to look at, so I just ordered things for two weeks after my procedure. I was ready to go back to work after two weeks and, if I hadn’t told my coworkers about the procedure, I don’t think they would have noticed.

The AEDITION: Do you have any insider tips for people considering the procedure?

Kevin: I think the biggest tip is to do exactly what your surgeon tells you to. They have years of experience helping patients recover as quickly as possible, so their instructions will pay off in the long term. There aren’t many restrictions after the procedure, but stick to them and you’ll be pleased when you get awesome results. The other thing is to not be afraid of what others will think about you having cosmetic surgery. 90 percent of the people I’ve told have had a positive reaction.

*The patient’s name has been changed

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INDIA BOTTOMLEYis a contributing writer for AEDIT.

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