While plastic surgery is a physically transformative process, it is just as much an emotional transformation. Recently, we asked our Medical Aesthetician, Jen Schechter, to document her preparation and recovery from revision rhinoplasty. Now several months post-op, Jen shares her experience working with Dr. Marcelo Antunes at our Austin practice.
My Initial Procedure
I had my first rhinoplasty when I was 16 years old when I broke my nose and found that I had a difficult time breathing after the injury. My family decided to use a family friend to perform the procedure, mainly because our insurance completely covered the cost. Looking back, I wish we would have waited, done more research, and found the right surgeon. Shortly after the initial swelling went down, I realized just how crooked my nose looked.
Within the past year, the tip of my nose started to fall and I was no longer able to breathe through my nose as well as I used to. After years of wanting to undergo a second procedure for aesthetic reasons, I knew I finally needed to make it happen for my health too.
Working With Dr. Antunes
I initially met Dr. Antunes 3 years ago. Just a few minutes into my initial consultation with him, I knew I had found the right facial plastic surgeon. With his extensive credentials, amazing before and afters, and warm bedside manner, I was 100% confident in his ability to fix my past surgeon’s mistake.
Shortly after our initial visit, Dr. Antunes moved out of the area and I was no longer able to proceed with my surgery. While I continued to meet with other facial plastic surgeons, I found myself comparing them to Dr. Antunes. Needless to say, I was disappointed and decided to wait. When I heard he made the decision to move back to Austin and — even better — to join The Piazza Center team, I was absolutely ecstatic! The timing was finally “just right” to move forward with my procedure.
Preparing for Surgery
The night before and the day of my surgery, I was nervous and excited, but mostly ready to get it over with! Once Dr. Antunes came into the room to greet me, however, I instantly felt more calm and relaxed. Thankfully, the preparation for surgery was simple and I was very prepared. I must have read my surgical packet at least 10 times leading up to my surgery; I wanted to make sure I was doing everything right!
Overall, my surgical experience was easy. Except for feeling tired and a little nauseous after surgery (I was under anesthesia for 4 and a half hours), I barely even remember being rolled into the surgical room. The surgical staff, including Dr. Antunes, made me comfortable and took great care of me until I was ready to go home.
The Emotional Roller Coaster
For the first few days, post-surgery, I experienced a roller coaster of emotions; not because of how I looked, but because of how I felt. I wasn’t able to breathe through my nose, I was winded very easily, and I felt a bit anxious and claustrophobic with both a cast and drip pad on my face.
On day 6, my cast came off and I felt a little more relieved. Because my nose was still very swollen, it was hard to imagine and get excited about the results. I did notice that my nostrils were even and that I could no longer see the inside of my nose; that alone was very emotional for me
The bruising under my eyes lasted for about a month and although it was still hard, every day was a little bit better. As soon I was able to breathe through my nose, I started to feel better and have more energy. After just ten days, I was able to go back to work.
The Follow Up Process
Every 6 weeks after my procedure, Dr. Antunes went over nasal exercises to help improve the appearance of my nose and to minimize swelling. He also performed kenalog injections on the inside and outside of my nose to reduce the thickness of the cartilage and swelling, which helped me breathe much easier.
I am now 6 months out from my Revision Rhinoplasty and I still have some very minor swelling, which isn’t surprising considering all of the work that was done. Although it could take up to a year for the swelling to completely subside, I am absolutely in love with my nose and how perfectly it fits my face.
I feel so lucky for the opportunity to work with such an amazing facial plastic surgeon and to finally have my nose done the right way. Dr. Antunes really has changed my life, and I am so grateful for that.
If you’re considering a rhinoplasty, or any procedure, I strongly encourage you to do your research ahead of time to find a qualified, board-certified plastic surgeon. You shouldn’t have to do it more than once!
Throughout the recovery process, be easy on yourself. No matter how much the doctor or nurses go over the details, or how many times you read the surgical packet, it’s impossible to be fully prepared for how you will feel post-surgery. Don’t worry, feeling “all the feels” is totally normal. Do your best to stay positive and don’t let your emotions get the best of you. Remind yourself that it is a process and that the end result will be worth it — it was for me and I know it will be for you too.
If you have any questions about my experience, or want to learn more about Dr. Antunes, leave it in a comment below or get in touch with the office!