When I look at my nose I’m neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, it’s not the worst thing in the world but it’s not my best feature either. Through my Hungarian heritage I feel that I have very bold and prominent masculine features with my protruding hook nose being something that I like least about myself, yet have lived with for my entire life. Over the years that old chestnut of a question always comes up “If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?” and I instantly say I’d like a more feminine nose – yet the thought of surgery going wrong and leaving me looking disfigured has always put me off. I don’t want to look like a different person, make my appearance perfect or have a nose just like a certain celebrity, I’d just like my bit of a beak to not be as clunky. And that’s not to say that hook noses aren’t attractive because I think it’s very much down to the individual, how they feel comfortable and how it works with their features. A tiny button nose would look ridiculous on me as a tall athletic woman, but a more feminine slope to the bridge of my nose would be a subtle change that I would positively celebrate for my own self confidence.
I’ve had consultations with surgeons in the past about my nose, whether I’d be an ideal candidate for surgery and the realistic results that I could hope to achieve, yet at the back of my mind I still felt hesitant to go ahead with it. Not only was the cost a very obvious issue – prices range from £5,000-£10,000 – but also the healing, aftercare and end result. As a busy working single mother to two young children coming home from hospital bandaged and bruised with a delicate broken nose that can’t be bumped makes me feel incredibly cautious as my son frequently jumps all over me. What if there are complications? What if it really hurts? What if I hate the results?
I’ve therefore spent years deliberating over what to do about my nose, granted it’s not the top of my priorities compared to raising a family and paying my bills, but nonetheless it’s that little bit of me time when I stop rushing around and doing everything for everyone else and actually think what would I like? I’m no stranger to cosmetic and surgical procedures and find that sharing my experiences, research and results with others has given me the understanding that I’m not alone, that we all have things about us that we’d like to change or make better and that nobody is perfect. I started off with minor things for medical reasons, removing moles that had enlarged, having laser eye surgery so that I could go to the gym without wearing glasses, straightening my teeth when my teeth were overcrowding and it made such a practical and positive difference to my life.
Naturally this progressed to becoming inquisitive about cosmetic procedures, which can be perceived as unnecessary and not an emergency or treatment for any specific problem but moreso something that I would like such as enhancing my top lip which was once a thin flat line with no colour and is now more balanced and symmetrical to the rest of my face – a subtle and temporary cosmetic procedure that makes me feel happier about my appearance. That’s not to say that I would be unhappy without it, but much like choosing a dress or a hairstyle we aim to make choices about our bodies that bring us confidence and happiness which can come in every shape, style and form imaginable. Given the choice I believe we should all be free and able to live how we see fit, to feel good about ourselves and live happy, fulfilling lives.
And so this brings me back to my nose, and to reiterate that rhinoplasty surgery isn’t something I’ve decided upon lightly. My years of deliberation, internet searches, reading horror stories and researching procedures whilst laying in the bath, waiting for a train or killing time before bed have led me to undertake a softly softly approach to changing my nose. As with everything I do I like to be logical, well informed, to consider all of my options and weigh up the pro’s and con’s starting with the smallest and easiest options first. My first port of call after researching rhinoplasty was quite obviously to consult a plastic surgeon as opposed to my GP. I had my adenoids removed as a child as I struggled to breathe which ran from my nose to throat and this was a necessary medical procedure to clear my airways. As a result of this my breathing is now ok, I’ve never damaged my nose, it isn’t wonky as a result of damage or wear and tear from life, I just have a bump on the bridge of my nose that I would prefer to be a slope instead.
Consulting with a surgeon quite a few years ago I had the inside and outside of my nose examined, measured and surveyed for surgery and was informed that I was an ideal candidate for rhinoplasty. I was told that I wouldn’t have any obvious scarring and the procedure would also widen my airways making it even easier for me to breathe whilst running and working out for which I’m very active at the gym and love leading a healthy, energetic lifestyle. But would I still look like me? Would I like the results or regret it and have to live unhappily with my decision for the rest of my life? That’s where a new technology at the time allowed me to see a computer generated image of my new nose complete with measurements and techniques which showed me a very subtle change to the profile of my nose would in fact suit my face and reassuringly be the very subtle change that I required.
But when it comes to surgery it still seemed like a big step to take and on my list off priorities in life it was pretty far down the line besides my children, bills and holidays. As a mother I always put my own wants and needs last, yet since turning 30 I’ve come to realise that overtime I say “maybe tomorrow” tomorrow never comes, and if you really want something you have to just go for it instead of forever thinking what if. So after much deliberation I decided upon a temporary cosmetic fix to explore fillers to straighten the bump in my nose. Rather than filing the bump away through surgery I could instead add a safe and temporary gel filler to the very top of my nose to build up the area above to make the bump less obvious. This involved having a very long needle inserted into the tip of my nose and threads of filler injected around the bump to essentially make my nose bigger and I am thrilled with the results because it hides my ‘hook’ shape.
The results are temporary and can last up to 18months before the filler naturally dissolves into my body and leaves no side effects. I could quite easily continue to fill my nose for however long I choose to do so, or I can have surgery to correct the bump instead. Now that I have a temporary fix in place with my nose filler and know that the permanent results that I require are achievable with surgery I feel that I’ve exhausted my research and have all of the answers necessary to make my final decision, including the pros and cons.
Pro’s For Having A Rhinoplasty
-I’ll feel happier about my appearance
-As a model / presenter / TV personality it may also benefit my work
-Surgery is a permanent correction to an unbalanced feature
Con’s For Having A Rhinoplasty
-The cost of surgery could have been spent on something else
-The healing may be painful and effect my daily routine as a single parent
-There may be complications with the surgery and I could dislike the result
This brings me to my research into plastic surgeons. I’ve previously had all of my cosmetic and surgical procedures in the UK for peace of mind over skillset, quality control and ease of communication. In hindsight highly skilled and able surgeons work all over the world, some in their native countries and others who enjoy travelling spending years at a time operating from major cities and countries across the world. As with every career it makes no difference what location you live or nationality you are when determining who is best for the job and most suitable, likewise just because London is most commonly associated with surgery in the UK doesn’t mean to say that I wouldn’t consider Newcastle, Wales or Ireland for a procedure.
I guess I’ve always been fearful of surgery abroad because of the assumption that the safety rules and regulations wouldn’t match those of the UK, that a language barrier may be in place and if anything goes wrong once you return home it may not be possible or affordable to return to another country for emergency or corrective treatment. The fact that I’d never considered having surgery abroad before showed me a loophole in my research that led me to wanting to understand it more before making my decision about where to go. As with anywhere that you go or anything that you buy there will be cheap deals at one end of the scale and high end luxury packages at the other and so I look at reputation as a marker for establishing which clinic can best suit my needs. Previous patients feedback and results are a weighty marker in understanding how well a surgeon operates as this isn’t something that can be hidden or covered up thanks to the freedom of feedback and the internet – did they deliver the results required, were patients happy with the aftercare and information provided and would they recommend them to others? When I read stories about celebrities having surgery in glossy magazines I can’t help but do a quick internet search afterwards to see who they went to, how much it cost and how they looked before and after – just as you’d politely ask somebody in the street where they got their purse from if you think its pretty or how much their dress cost it’s always fascinating to know about fashion and beauty.
Assessing where actors, actresses, singers, models and celebrities go for their treatments and procedures is usually a good indicator for finding a reputable surgeon or specialist; if I were to put myself in their shoes where money was absolutely no object and they could choose between anywhere and everywhere in the world to pick the very best of the best then I’d like to think that somebody so highly recommended and sought after would be a safe choice for my own needs. That’s not to say that celebrities don’t end up with botched surgeries and unpleasant results because they do, but it makes narrowing down the decision a little easier when you know others have had a positive experience with the same surgeon whether that’s millionaires or mums next door. Therefore I’ve come to the conclusion that travelling further afield than the local area for surgery isn’t something to be avoided anymore but instead embraced with the knowledge that people are prepared to go the extra mile and out of their way in order to get the quality and service they desire.
The most time that I’ve ever spent in hospital following surgery is 24hrs as it’s common to have a procedure early in the morning following fasting at night – not eating any food after an evening meal allows for a safe general anaesthetic the following day. In a nutshell, after the surgery takes place pain relief is administered, stitches are checked, a meal is given and nurses keep an eye to ensure you’re capable of going to the bathroom and washing unassisted before the surgeon visits to check you over and give permission for you to return home. As for aftercare it’s usually a week or so of resting up at home and several weeks of being more careful before returning to usual activities, any concerns are typically answered by contacting the surgeons secretary or reading aftercare booklets and post-surgery information packs which is very much hands-off once you initially leave the hospital. When my children are feeling poorly or scrape their knees the first thing that they want is a kiss and cuddle and I tut and fuss over them like a protective hen, so given the importance of aftercare following a surgical procedure I’d feel a lot safer spending more time in hospital resting and recovering rather than rushing home and being delicate and unable to tend to my children properly.
Naturally we’re born to be worriers when faced with situations we haven’t been in before. Are the stitches clean and dry? Should the bruising be so severe? Have I done any damage that needs to be checked? It’s a little bit of common sense, good house keeping and personal hygiene that helps with the healing process which I have always encountered alone and thankfully never faced any complications, but it’s not to say that they won’t happen as with any procedure there are always risks and the possibility of infection or complications during the surgery. I can’t say that I feel particularly safe nursing a broken nose around my hyperactive autistic son who enjoys jumping all over me, being very hands on and boisterous which is why the idea of an inclusive aftercare package really appeals to me. Not only will I be safe from knocks and bumps whilst healing abroad but I can have time, space and peace to relax, recover and unwind in a beautiful location with experts immediately at hand, leaving my house with my old nose and returning refreshed and renewed with my new one! And the children need no absolutely no excuse to spend the week with their grandparents where they have sugary treats on tap, extended bedtimes and lots of fuss and exceptions that parents don’t always allow – it’s a grandparents role to spoil little ones after all.
After talking it over with my parents for childcare, my boyfriend as a chaperone to help me to firstly navigate the airport carpark and secondly to carry my bags for me when we’re ready to come home, my heart is set on having surgery abroad whilst taking the opportunity to have a little holiday and some rest and relaxation at the same time. So I’ve cleared my work diary, finished the laundry, fed the cats, left post-it notes everywhere with clear instructions for my Mum and packed my favourite bikinis for a week in paradise and a surgery that I’ve spent many years longing for. My world renowned plastic surgeon is Dr Aslani whom I have found through the luxury concierge service Serene Cosmetic who assist patients within the UK to have specialist plastic surgery in a world class healthcare facility in Marbella with private and luxurious recovery and high end post-op aftercare. Dr Alexander Aslani was awarded Best Aesthetic Surgeon in Spain 2016, has over 20 years experience in plastic surgery having treated more than 12,000 patients and is a member of SECPRE, IPRAS, AECEP, DGPRAEC, INTERPLAST, EBOPRAS and OEGPRAC. He is appointed chairman and head of two plastic surgery units – the Department of Plastic, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Surgery in Hospital Quirón Malaga as well as the Quirón Marbella Hospital – and at present he is the only non-hispanic expatriate surgeon in Spain who heads a formal surgery department in the whole country as Quirón Hospitals are Spain’s elite private healthcare provider with 25 high-end maximum care level hospitals in all major Spanish metropolises. Quirón is the hospital of choice for Spain’s elite, celebrities, sport stars and Spanish royal family and so I know I’m in very safe hands.
Seeing as I will meet Dr Aslani for the first time when I arrive in Spain the process for booking this surgery has only differed slightly to my previous which have always been in the UK. To begin with I discussed my interest in having rhinoplasty with a consultant at Serene Cosmetic who provided me with the further information that I needed and costings before requesting that I send photos of my nose for consideration to my surgeon. As with all surgeries you have to have a face-to-face consultation with your surgeon prior to the surgery taking place and both accept and agree the terms and risks involved for which this is absolutely no different. I have been able to raise questions and concerns with my surgeon regarding the procedure prior to travelling to Marbella and have informed him that I presently have filler in the bridge of my nose to conceal the bump for which he confirmed I can still have surgery. I was then emailed a medical questionnaire to complete stating my present health, past surgeries, allergies and any illness. If anything this process has been more informed and thorough than in the UK as my surgeon has full knowledge of my case in advance of meeting me and conducting my surgical consultation, a pre-consultation consultation if you will, essential for patients who need to travel to a consultation whether thats to another city or the other side of the world.
Feeling assured by these provisions I was then asked to pay a deposit to secure the date of my surgery, as is also the case within in the UK, with the remainder of the outstanding balance due three weeks before my surgery. I was then able to book my flights to and from Malaga airport with transfers and accommodation all part of the inclusive cost. I will be met by a member of staff once I land and transferred to the villa in Benahavis prior to meeting my surgeon for my consultation. The procedure involves one or more incisions around the nostrils so as to reduce the amount of visible scarring, once these incisions are made the surgeons can then reshape my nasal skeleton and alter the cartilage to remove my bump. On the day of my surgery I will be chaperoned to the hospital at Cirumed Clinic and back to the villa for my recovery before returning to the airport for my flight home. The Serene Cosmetic team will be at hand at all times during my recovery at the villa with all of my specialist dietary requirement meals, aftercare, bedding, garments and medical assistance provided.
The luxury villa is situated in the Benahavis Hills with stunning coastal views of Puerto Banus and is within a prime residential gated community of 40 luxury villas with the adjoining Benahavis Hills Country Club boasting a restaurant, spa, steam room and sauna, outdoor and indoor pools and children’s play area which my boyfriend can also use. With 24hr private security we can enjoy the villas outdoor terraces and pool with panoramic views, a spacious elegant interior and advanced technology throughout as I recover from my surgery. Being keen culture junkies, Benahavis is the wealthiest town in Spain and boasts one of Andalucia’s richest town halls. With stunning scenery, attractive architecture, nine world class golf courses with some of the Costa del Sol’s finest fairways there are infinite opportunities for fine dining as Benahavis is known as the dining room of the Costa del Sol, which majorly appeals to us as a couple as this is also a break away for us as much as a surgical retreat. With everything booked, paid and prepared all that’s left to do now is await our flights in 5 days time!
UPDATE: It’s Done And I’m Home!
What a week it has been! I’m absolutely bowled over by what an incredible experience I’ve had and almost pinching myself to believe that it actually happened as I woke up in my own bed this morning, my cat purring in my ear and the sun streaming through the window on a glorious sunny morning and almost forgot that I’m just a week post-op. So I’ll try my best to recount everything that happened, how I felt, what it felt like and how I dealt with everything. If you have any questions about my surgery and aftercare then feel free to leave them in the comment box below and I’ll do my best to answer them – hopefully I’ll get through everything here though. So whilst I was away I kept notes on my phone each day to bullet point the key things about my healing and how it effected me on a daily basis as surprisingly nose surgery is very quick to recover from and day by day my healing improved dramatically which I’ve never experienced with surgery before – usually its 4-6wks for breasts and eyes etc. to recover, so to be basically undetectable within a week with no scars was incredible.
I’ll be sharing all of my healing pictures here which do contain blood, bruising and swelling and is completely normal for this type of surgical procedure, I’m not trying to scare anyone or put you off of considering it, but moreso show you what it is really like. I think the sight of blood on anything makes people panic, the same as when you’re a child and trip over, if your knee doesn’t bleed you feel fine and get back up and carry on playing but if there’s even the smallest dot of blood you freak out and cry for Mum – it’s all down to perception rather than pain. Hopefully you can see past the minimal amount of blood and bandages and note my progress from surgery to recovery so quickly.
I also believe a lot of the recovery depends on your attitude towards surgery. As this is something I’ve dreamed of having for years I was so mentally prepared for this, enthusiastic and co-operative in every way possible. I think if you remain calm, feel content and contribute to your recovery by allowing the nurses and surgeon to do their job, give access to your dressings without freaking out and don’t put up a fight or throw a hissy fit then everything runs so much more smoothly. There is pain relief available as and when you need it and I’m proud to say that I only took four painkillers the entire week – two were before my first couple of aftercare appointments where my new nose had to be cleaned and redressed. Other than that, obviously not touching the nose, you don’t feel anything, it’s just as normal as forgetting about an ear or belly button – you don’t really use it, notice it or touch it!
I flew from London Stanstead to Malaga airport with my boyfriend as scheduled and stowed the car at the airport parking which took all of five minutes. We were able to walk directly to the terminal and check in with our holdall luggage only as neither of us took a suitcase. This was my first time flying holdall only so it meant that I had to leave my nail scissors, tweezers and luxuries at home and just take the essentials – mostly flip flops for practicality, bikinis, shorts, crop tops and a couple of maxi dresses. It made the airport security and queuing so much quicker doing this – until I didn’t realise my tiny travel sized aerosol deodorant was supposed to be put into my liquids bag and my case had to be opened and checked – do’h! I’ve always put things like that in my suitcase and just carried a handbag onto the plane but now I’ll know for next time.
Likewise getting on and off the plane with holdall only mean’t that we could grab out bags from above our heads as we landed and leave straight away. We were greeted by Lois of Serene Cosmetic at the arrivals lounge of Malaga airport and I’d sent her a quick message to say we were leaving when we boarded our flight in England so that she knew we hadn’t been delayed. Lois is an absolute ray of sunshine, so organised, effortlessly beautiful, cool and calm and led us to the Range Rover in the car park where we placed our bags and set off directly for the hospital to have a blood test. I’ve never had blood tests prior to surgery in the UK so this was something new to me. Prior to arriving I’d completed a medical form stating my medical history and past procedures but this was an added level of security to check for Full Hemogram (CBC) and Coagulation (INR) which can be carried out and results given the same day at private clinics in the UK for around £50.00 or at a local GP upon request for free with a two-week wait. I had my bloods taken in Marbella at the hospital the day before my surgery which coincided nicely with my pre-op consultation with my surgeon Dr Aslani.
The Cirumed clinic is a state of the art facility just a stones throw from Puerto Banus, the main holiday destination of Marbella and somewhere we spent a lot of time throughout the week during my recovery. At the clinic which deals with all kinds of surgical and cosmetic procedures there are also two operating theatres and recovery rooms for patients to stay. Everything is so modern, sterile and beautiful to look at, from striking tall glass walls to beautiful fresh flowers, fluffy towels, ornate mirrors and sculptures – it felt more like visiting a luxury spa than a soulless hospital. The staff were impeccable, all dressed to perfection in crisp black uniforms, flawless makeup, big smiles and the most incredible figures as Spain is renowned for buttock surgery and I couldn’t help but admire how incredible it is to see curves. In the UK it seems a trend that is yet to catch on as we focus more on breast implants than buttocks, having seen the results it’s something I would certainly consider.
Lois greeted the receptionist in Spanish and checked me in for my blood test and consultation as we took a seat in the swish waiting area where there were glossy magazines, coffee and chilled water. A flatscreen displayed presentations in English and Spanish of my surgeon performing breast, liposuction and buttock surgery and his patients talking about their life changing before and after bodies which I found absolutely fascinating and very informative. Within minutes a nurse with beautiful bouncy hair came gliding into the waiting area, greeted my by my name, took my hand and welcomed me with a warm smile. All of the staff speak both Spanish and English – some even with multiple languages so there was never a language barrier or need for translation, which was something I was expecting, but pleasantly surprised by. Lois had arranged every last detail to perfection so that all I had to do was be present and participate which really took the stress and faffing out of it as I’m forever worrying about being late or finding a parking space, forgetting paperwork or not knowing where I’m going.
Shown into a treatment room with a white bed, glass cabinets and mirrored accessories I laid down with my arm beside me to have my blood taken. After having my two children and getting my bloods taken weekly throughout pregnancy I’m perfectly at ease with needles and don’t mind watching it being done, it’s a small scratch as the needle goes in, several seconds to attach and extract a pod and then the needle back out and a small plaster applied to cover the hole. It doesn’t ever make me feel faint, my arm doesn’t hurt and I carry on my day as normal afterwards. Having sent my blood for testing I was then shown to my surgeons office where I met Dr Aslani for the first time face to face and he greeted me with a warm hug, big smile and an air kiss on each cheek.
My experience of surgeons is that they’re more than happy to do their job and help people to achieve the features and bodies they enthusiastically desire but equally have a sense of strong morals, health, safety and provide informative advice and aftercare prior to allowing a treatment to go ahead. In a nutshell they want you to realise what is involved and have a firm understanding of it rather than being misled by pretty pictures and adverts. So I always feel that I’m in the headteachers office at school being spoken to rather sternly and questioned on the validity of my reasons for wanting to change my body. Dr Aslani however made the headteachers office feel far less daunting as his kind nature and patience instantly put me at ease. He spoke me through everything that was involved and confirmed that my surgery would require breaking my nose to then reset it to make my bridge smaller. He used tools and a head light to examine the inside of my nose before demonstrating how bad my breathing was by putting his thumbs on either side of my nostrils and pulling them apart which widened my airways and gave me a huge gush of air that felt like I’d just eaten an entire pack of chewing gum – that’s how I should be able to breathe. As I have a deviated septum the bone and cartilage that divide the nasal cavity of my nose in half is significantly off center making breathing difficult, however most people have some sort of imbalance at varying extents and we just think that it’s normal until having surgery and understanding the great difference that it makes.
Aesthetically I wanted my nose to be more feminine on side profile by removing the bump, medically my ability to breathe would be greatly increased which makes fitness and sleeping so much easier for me. There was no question over my validity as a patient for wanting this surgery, but even if my breathing had been fine and I only wanted to have a ‘pretty nose’ I could’ve still gone through with this procedure. It’s not to say that you can’t have a rhinoplasty to correct a small indifference, but that you understand the extent of what is involved and have no misconceptions about trying to look perfect, to desire to look different or hold all hopes of happiness in being somebody else. Emotionally and mentally surgeons are trained to look out for the wellbeing and mental health of a patient, to ensure they’re not being pressurised into have surgery because of somebody else or unhealthily unhappy with their appearance and wanting to make outrageous bad decisions. I value the fact that surgeons say “that’s ridiculous, you’ll look like a blow up doll!” if I question sizes, placements and new procedures. They are effectively concerned and responsible parents to their patients ensuring the work that they do is of the highest quality, suitable to the balance and structure of the body and what a person truly wants, needs and will look good. Sometimes we can be blindsided by what we want or what we’ve seen on others that would look horrendous on ourselves as you can only work to an extent with what you naturally have before you lose what is human and become alien-looking instead. Some people like the fake look, others want to be undetectably natural in their appearance and I’m happy to sit somewhere in the middle – still looking like myself by a more tidy and content version where life threw me curve balls and constructed me somewhat crooked.
Following the consultation the two main issues raised were the fact that I had nose filler present in my nose from my ‘non-surgical nose job’ which changed the outward appearance and structure of my nose and made operating from inside the nostrils more of a task as it wasn’t as clear to determine just by looking at it what tissue is mine and what isn’t, but Dr Aslani was still confident that the surgery could go ahead. This was followed by a warning of avoiding using cocaine after surgery. Now I’m a single parent with two young children and my days mostly consist of Disney movies, dancing along to pop music in the kitchen as I do my dishes and 8pm bed times in order to avoid exhaustion. My rock and roll partying lifestyle is well and truly over, let alone the thought of using drugs prior or post surgery so this wasn’t something that I had to concern myself with. However there is an actress from a UK soap who notoriously used cocaine after having nose surgery and her septum collapsed leaving her with a huge hole on her face. The effects of drugs on the nose will only ever cause damage and disrepair that may never be able to be corrected so it’s a risk I highly suggest all should avoid this and rightly so that surgeons take this matter so seriously to warn of the consequences.
With my pre-op check in the bag I was then chauffeur driven to the Serene Cosmetic villa which is based in the exclusive Benahavis Hills Country Club resort amongst the hills and mountains. The views of Spain from up high are spectacular and adorable little villages scattered with cafes, restaurant, boutiques, orange and lemon tress, beautiful soft pink blossom and vibrant purple flowers give way to flawless white villas, shiny 4x4s, millionaire gated security and swimming pools on every manicured terrace. Whenever I’ve holidayed I’ve always enjoyed staying in 5* hotels and experiencing the joys of luxury and opulence but I’ve never stayed in an entire villa before. Spread over three storeys the marble entrance hall opens onto a lift beside a turned sweeping staircase so that all bags could be delivered directly to the room and I didn’t have to lift a foot or even finger for myself. Being the gym bunny that I am I opted to walk the stairs to keep my activity levels up after having sat on the plane for hours on end, being a passenger in the back of a car and laid on an examination bed – what a lazy day I’d had! The first floor had a guest room and garage, the second the lounge, kitchen and pool and the third three further bedrooms all with en suite and finally a sun terrace on the roof – perhaps that counts as four storeys?
The space and tranquility was breathtaking, with marble floors throughout, flatscreen TVs, kitchen gadgets, sumptuous furnishings and twinkling chandeliers and accessories across wide open rooms and undisturbed views of the Spanish countryside. I was literally in heaven. Seeing as I took my boyfriend along I was happy to share a room and king size bed with him which was big enough for us to sleep together without bumping or touching noses. Our room came with a balcony, large wardrobe, a flatscreen TV loaded with every channel and movie in the world, en suite with bath and shower and plenty of cosmetics and aftercare equipment to hand. After we unpacked our cases and evening approached we decided to head to Puerto Banus for dinner rather than eating in as it would be the only night that we had before my surgery in the morning and I would have to fast by midnight meaning I wasn’t allowed food or water until after I’d had surgery. So we made the most of my last night with my old nose by heading to a beautiful Italian restaurant on the waterfront, sipping cocktails (mocktails for me – without alcohol) as we watched the super yachts, Bentleys and glamourous nightlife roll past and it was wonderful.
We were collected directly after and chauffeur driven back to the villa where we had showers, got into bed, put on a film and instantly fell fast asleep just minutes into the opening scene! Waking up early in the morning Lois reiterated the medical briefing to me, reminding me not to eat or drink anything, to shower using an antibacterial product called Hibiscrub, remove my nail varnish so that my oxygen levels could be monitored during surgery with a device on my fingertip and not apply any perfume, makeup, moisturiser or product to my skin. I removed all of my jewellery, pulled on a maxi dress and slipped into the back of the Range Rover ready to be the first patient in for surgery at 9:00am. It’s strange looking back because I didn’t feel nervous, although I really thought I would. I was just so enthusiastic and relieved to finally be fixing my nose that I had no fear or concern for my surgery which is testament to the high level of information and care that goes into their service, especially in using a cosmetic concierge. The fact that everything was so well organised, thought out, high-spec, luxurious and informative almost left me speechless, it removed any ounce of doubt or concern and filled me with such confidence and faith in the procedure and capabilities of the staff and my surgeon. The difference between the NHS, highstreet clinic and private healthcare is immeasurable and that’s what I think is so important to stress. In order to achieve the best results and aftercare you have to seek out surgical specialists and that involves looking further afield than the next village, town or city. So many people are lured in by cheap packages, unrealistic results and convenient local locations that they risk their health and appearance to have botched or even dangerous surgeries that will scar them for life or cost thousands of pounds more to repair. Do it right the first time, go to the top and do it once, properly, safely and with pure expertise.
I hope in sharing my surgical diary with you that you will understand what to expect of surgery abroad and should you find yourself anywhere in the world that falls short of this standard please reconsider your options. Safety is paramount, it’s never too late to say no! Arriving at the Cirumed clinic I was taken to a bright and airy office and given a Samsung tablet to read and sign my consent which is necessary for every cosmetic and surgical procedure but usually involves a pen and paper rather than swish tech. Not only did it save time and keep all my notes and information instant and accessible to all staff but also reduced the need for paper and files, a clear convenience for the clinic which was continuously fully booked at every visit and ran like a fine tuned machine.
My final pre-op appointment was with the photography department where each patient is discreetly photographed before and after surgery. Pictures are for medical reference and to track aftercare but those who give consent may have their before and after pictures used on social media or even demonstration videos within the clinic and medical literature. Despite not having any makeup on and certainly not looking my best I was happy for my pictures to be used in whatever way the clinic saw fit as I was happy to share my experience with others. I was then led into the hospital area of the clinic, away from the treatment rooms down a sweeping white corridor to the glass fronted operating theatres and private recovery rooms. My room had a floor to ceiling frosted window which flooded the room with natural light, clean white walls, an adjustable hospital bed with gadgets and gizmos, medical trolley, television, air con, storage, guest seating and en suite wet room with a walk in shower and vanity unit.
There was a surgical gown, robe and slippers on the bed which I was asked to change into, removing all underwear before laying down on the bed ready for my IV to be fitted for surgery. I chatted merrily to my boyfriend as the nurse fitted a wrist band with my name and date of birth along with a valve in my left arm. As my surgery was expected to take two hours my boyfriend planned to go to the local shopping complex for breakfast and to browse all of the designer stores for a spot of retail therapy with the staff phoning him when I wake out of theatre so that he could come back to see me. With one final pre-empt trip to the toilet for luck I then kissed him goodbye, got ontop of my bed and was wheeled down the corridor into theatre waving at my boyfriend like the Queen on the Mall.
Passing through two glass security doors I was given a hair net and paper socks and asked to remove my slippers, confirm my identity and had a liquid injected into the valve in my arm. Whenever I’ve had surgery I’m always aware of the anaesthetic being administered as it’s very cold, you feel it travelling up the arm, have a metallic taste at the back of the throat and then feel yourself falling very quickly to sleep – but I didn’t remember any of this. My last memory was arriving in theatre on my bed and being asked to stand and walk several steps to get onto the operating table for which I stood up, smiled at my surgeon, looked around at the equipment and everyone in the room and then opened my eyes to find myself in my private suite in what felt like a few seconds later. The nurse called my name softly and calmly asked me to breathe through my mouth as I couldn’t feel my nose and it took a moment for me to realise the surgery was over and I was in hospital. She confirmed that my surgery was a success and memory loss happens for around half an hour before the anaesthetic which is the first time I’d experienced this – but is probably a good thing as I like to embarrass myself by telling really bad jokes to make light of serious situations!
Being on or off of pain relief made very little difference to what it feels like having freshly had a nose job. If anything the nose is a part of the body that we do not move or need to use to go about our daily work. The only contact I ever had with my nose before surgery was to scratch it when it itched, otherwise I always left it alone and it left me alone. However I really struggle with touching my nose as I’ve always thought it was so big and clunky that I had an irrational fear of breaking it, either being hit in the face by a ball during sports or tripping and landing on my face and breaking bones, it seemed to stick out and get in the way that I always feared sudden accidents. When in actual fact I’ve never injured my nose and the fear was completely unreasonable, but just as my boyfriend won’t let anybody touch his feet or tickle him, I too find anyone touching my nose very difficult and I want to flinch and run away. So having surgery was a very big step for me as I knew I’d have to be ok about something that I normally can’t stand. Haphephobia is the fear of being touched and after doing a quick internet search it seems I’m not alone in fearing my nose. But it also goes to show that something I find very difficult to handle is also something that I have overcome by having surgery and my bandages and dressings on my nose changed on a daily basis. To deal with the thought of being touched on the nose I closed my eyes, gritted my teeth, entwined my fingers in my lap and breathed slowly as my heart raced and I stopped myself from getting up and running away by reminding myself that each second that passes is one less until the touching stops. I believe I have a touching phobia in respect to my nose and think that the majority of people won’t be as freaked out by being touched on the face as I am. Despite this phobia I was still able to give my full participation at every appointment, check up and aftercare, and through mind over matter I have healed and recovered wonderfully.
The biggest adjustment to make is to breathe through the mouth and not the nose as the splints placed inside of the nose prevent any air from passing through. The word ‘splint’ sounds far worse than what it actually is and shouldn’t be feared. Like a long thin tampon with a string on the end, each nostril is filled with padding to support the septum post-surgery. Splints typically stay within the noose for 24-48hrs depending on the severity of the correction. Seeing as my septum was pretty twisted up and needed a lot of correction far back into the nose my surgeon felt that it was necessary to keep the splints in for 48hrs which meant that they could be removed the day after I’d been released from hospital. The splints within the nose are absorbent which conveniently catches any bleeding. I’ve never had a nose bleed before and didn’t know what it felt nor looked like until I felt a trickling sensation on my top lip, just like when my nose runs from the cold in winter. It didn’t hurt, wasn’t hot or painful and I didn’t realise it was blood until I wiped my lip with a tissue and saw that it was red.
Bleeding is perfectly normal following surgery and nothing to be concerned about. My nose bled about three or four times whilst my splints were in, not massively, just a little trickle mostly when I spoke to sipped a drink and moved my top lip. Seeing as my top lip was numb for the first few days I couldn’t feel if I was pulling my nose or not when I spoke, but there’s not far that your top lip can go for movement anyway and the bleeding soon stopped. On top of the splints the tip of the nose is dressed with a padded bandage which helps to soak up any blood and keep the nose covered, this was changed once to remove the external blood and then taken off the following day when I had my splints removed. Finally a metal guard that looked like half a road cone was taped between my eyebrows and onto my cheeks to protect the nose from any knocks or touching. This meant that nothing could hurt me and even if I rolled over in my sleep I wouldn’t cause any damage. So my numb padded nose was pretty happy and I had no idea what I looked like until my dressings could be changed in a few days time.
To assist in quickly reducing bruising and swelling after surgery Cirumed used a combination of medical and technological techniques in the form of a mask, plasters and liquid drip. I had three plasters positioned around my nose, one between my eyebrows and two beneath my eyes on either side of my nose. These looked like hashtags as they were thin strips of material that overlapped and remained on my face for the majority of the week. The idea being, just like with sports, that using compression and strapping you can support and assist recovery so that the body can heal quicker. I then had a cooling mask linked to a machine next to me which circulated cool air across the surface and helped to reduce the temperature of my face like a relaxing facial or spa mask just minus the cucumbers on the eyes! The IV in my arm delivered antibiotics which is customary for the first week after any surgery in order to avoid infection, along with pain relief and antihistamines to reduce swelling. Finally the air conditioning in the room allowed me to keep my room cool and refreshing as I was tucked up into my hospital bed in my gown and blankets and fluffy pillows and felt rather toasty so it was nice to have some cool air, especially in a warm country. The combination of these things together meant that my bruising was minimal and the swelling subsided quickly, after around 4 days if I’d have applied makeup my surgery would be undetectable which is why you can return to office based work one week after surgery, or hands on work after two weeks.
Breathing through my mouth meant that I developed a dry throat, especially as I slept at night, so I was conscious to take little sips of water and to swallow often to keep my throat moist and avoid agitation. When my boyfriend popped his head through the door to my room moments after I woke up he couldn’t help but laugh about me wearing a face mask, wired up and breathing through my mouth and said that I resembled Darth Vader which had us both in hysterics. He asked me how I was feeling and I said I felt fine, I had no pain or discomfort and was sat at an incline in bed, propped up on my pillows with a carton of fresh juice and a straw by my side as I was unable to eat and drink until the evening but could take small sips of juice. The anaesthetic makes you feel very sleepy which is great because directly after surgery the best thing you can do to speed up your recovery is sleep and rest so that the body can repair itself. Whilst listening to my boyfriend as he showed me his shopping bags and the things he’d just bought I didn’t realise that I’d fallen asleep until I blinked open my eyes and saw him at the other side of the room sitting in a chair playing with his phone. Naturally I apologised for my rudeness and suggested his shopping trips aren’t half as exciting and captivating as mine – of course!
Patients aren’t allowed guests to stay past the evening so when visiting hours ended at dinner time he went back to the villa and I snuggled up for my first night in hospital alone. I spent the next twelve hours or so between sleeping and being checked by the nurses. Occasionally I’d hear the door open and it would wake me up, I’d gaze over at the nurses bringing in new pouches of liquid for my IV drip, checking the position of my face mask and asking how I felt and then fall fast asleep again so I think my boyfriend would have been bored if he’d stayed anyway. Instead he had dinner, went to the gym and watched films at the villa until the following morning when I was allowed to leave.
It was approaching 23hrs since I’d last eaten and oddly enough I didn’t feel hungry, I had my eyes closed and the lights off past my usual bedtime when the nurse came in with a bowl of vegetable soup and a juice for me. She wheeled a side cabinet and tray over to me and adjusted the bed so that I could sit upright to eat, advising that I take it slow and try not to chew. The soup was barely warm, like it had been left on the side to cool for too long, but this was intentional as any heat or steam can cause infection so all food and drinks must be room temperature only for the first few days. It took me about half an hour to suck a small bowl of soup from a spoon and I was unable to purse my lips to drink from a straw so had a glass instead which I could pour into my mouth being mindful of not touching my nose as I tipped it. Feeling nicely full with soup and very sleepy I had the most blissful night in hospital and hardly noticed the nurses coming in checking on me every couple of hours, it all felt like a dream.
The following morning the sun was streaming through the window, I woke up feeling full of energy and ready to go to the toilet. The nurse unhooked my IV drip so that I could get out of bed and told me to sit up slowly and wait for a moment on the edge of the bed before standing to avoid any dizziness. I felt absolutely fine and walked unassisted to the toilet whilst the nurse waited at the door for privacy. She then asked if I’d like to have a shower and I was so pleased as I shower twice a day at home, in the morning and before bed, so it was nice to be back into my routine and feeling fresh. The walk in shower of the wet room meant that all I had to do was take off my hospital gown and stand under the water. I was able to wash my upper body and the nurse washed my legs and feet for me as she advised I shouldn’t bend forwards or put my head down but to stand upright and move slowly.
After my shower I was able to get dressed into my regular clothes for which I chose a short summer dress to deal with the glorious heat outside and looking in the bathroom mirror I examined the bruising around my eyes which was a deep black and blue with hints of purple. The nurse informed me that I had very minimal bruising and had responded well to surgery, throughout the next week or two my bruises would change colour from black and blue to purple and red, green and finally yellow as an indication of them fading away. If anything I usually have dark circles under my eyes anyway so to see a bit of colour on my face was rather interesting. I also had a faint green bruising on either side of my mouth which didn’t change colour but has gradually faded and covers well with makeup. Seeing as I’m vegan the yogurt breakfast with a banana and toast wasn’t something that I could eat nor chew so instead I had a bowl of soup when I got back to the villa. Dr Aslani came in to check on me and inform me that my splints would be removed the following day as they ran quite deep into my nose and needed a longer recovery. He confirmed I was fit and well to leave and said that he looked forward to seeing me later as I’d be returning to the clinic everyday to have my dressings changed and cleaned. My IV was removed, my bag packed and I perched on my bed like a little puppy early awaiting my collection.
With transfers to and from the villa, handmade vegan meals cooked fresh daily for me along with smoothies, chilled drinks and takeout from the local Chinese restaurant I had the most wonderful week at the villa. We filled our days with long romantic walks, late lunches at adorable mountain restaurants, shopping trips to the port, sitting beside the waterfall, strolling into the village and watching movies in bed – it was lovely and the ideal relaxing get away as a couple. Despite being a surgery recovery it was just as much a holiday for us too, and Lois the owner of Serene Cosmetic commented on how active and upbeat I had been following my surgery as the patients who are recovering from breast augmentations, liposuction, buttock implants and reshaping procedures are far less mobile and spend a lot of time indoors wearing compression garments and bandages. Having surgery to the face is the least invasive surgery I’ve ever had and within four days my life was back to normal and I no longer noticed my nose nor had any concerns or fear of it. We discreetly skirted around the question that everyone thinks but seldom has to courage to ask – when can couples activity resume – for which we waited 24hrs before being slow and careful and had no problem at all.
I was given a bag of medication from the clinic to take along with a schedule of times and doses which included Ciprofloxacine, Zaldiar, Metamizol, Enantyum, Omeprazol and Rinobanedif cream for inside of my nostrils. It may sound like a lot of different tablets, which it was for me at first glance, but as soon as I got into a routine of breakfast, lunch and dinner doses it was pretty straight forward and I knew what to expect for my next dose but always checked it off against the schedule sheet to be certain. The medication did make me a little more tired than usual, but as I also skipped the gym all week I didn’t have as much energy and stamina as I would usually have so I think it was a combination of everything – post surgery, medication, no gym, hot summer days and plenty of walking that made me sleep so well. There was only one night when I didn’t share a bed with my boyfriend and that was right at the end of the week when we were out with friends having drinks at the port and he continued drinking when we got home into the early hours of the morning and passed out on the sofa – as you do! Whilst I was cautious of not knocking or bumping my nose I felt quite safe sharing a bed and often work up on my side laying my cheek against the pillow and my nose touching it, it didn’t freak me out or feel uncomfortable but when I realised I would roll back onto my back and go back to sleep. For the first few nights I slept with three pillows to keep me up at an angle just like in my hospital bed as it made it easier to breathe and meant that the blood didn’t rush to my head, or nose! As the week progressed and my breathing improved after removing my splits I was happy to return to my usual two pillows and sleep on my side which is my most comfortable position.
Ahh, the splints! Such horror stories I’ve heard about these little beauties and I’m glad that mine wasn’t one of them. 48hrs after my surgery I returned for my next appointment at the clinic where I was informed my splints would be removed. What had once been comparable to wet tampons in my nostril had now dried out since my nose no longer bled from the surgery and as such they needed to be softened. Seeing the nurse prepare a surgical tray beside me as I lay hesitantly on the bed I couldn’t help but gulp when I saw a long needle wondering what on earth she was going to do to me, a local anaesthetic to the face perhaps? Thankfully not! After removing the bandage on the tip of my nose the splints in my nostrils were exposed, just like a tampon, blood soaked and dry now. The nurse used the needle to inject solution into the splints, not my skin, and I felt as they filled with liquid and began to soften. She applied the cooling mask to my face and advised she would return in half an hour once the solution had taken effect and softened the splints enough to remove them.
It had to be the most longest half an hour of my life as I sat holding my boyfriends hand fretting over what it would feel like, how much it was going to hurt and whether it would inadvertently wax my entire nostrils in one swoop. Just the thought of it creeped me out and I got myself into a bit of a huff with all of my ‘what if’s’ by the time she came back. I wanted the splints out, but I didn’t want to have to go through the removal. So I pulled on my big girl pants, figuratively speaking, took a deep breath and closed my eyes as the nurse picked up a pair or small forceps and scissors and snipped the string securing the splints before beginning to gently wiggle and pull. The dried blood inside my nostrils was stronger than I thought it would be and it didn’t want to come out without a fight. As my nose felt numb the only sensation I felt was a strange wiggling deep within my nose, up between my eyebrows as it gradually pulled loose and then slid out like a wet baby calf being born. With one side complete she moved onto the next and after a little encouragement that too came out – thankfully without waxing my nose hair! In all fairness it wasn’t half as bad as I was expecting it to be, but I guess the fear of the unknown makes doing something for the first time so much more scary and unwelcoming.
It took just a handful of minutes to remove my splints before the nurse then cleaned my nose, applied new bandages and replaced my cast so that I could leave. The part that hurt me most was ridiculously the easiest bit where my nose was lightly wiped with an antibacterial cleanser, very lightly as you would remove a splash of sauce from the side of a baby’s cheek. The nurse informed me that the area I found most painful was where the bone had been broken and as a result of this I I took a single painkiller prior to my next two appointments to pre-empt the discomfort – after that I no longer needed pain relief despite being given two full packets to use if I needed to.
Without the splints in I had such a rush of air that I’ve never experienced before, to able to breathe for the first time was magnificent! However I was cautious of breathing through my nose as it felt rather moist and whilst I didn’t experience any further nose bleeds I did have a lining of gooey, thicker blood within my nose that began to dry up and closed off my nostrils. Unable to blow my nose nor sniff there was nothing I could do but let it dry up and eventually flake out – which probably sounds disgusting but it’s no different to a scratch forming a scab and dropping off. So without my splints my breathing gradually diminished as my nose dried out and I went back to breathing through my mouth which led to me having a dry tickle cough one night for which I got very little sleep and instead napped throughout the day between sipping water and cold fruit juices. There were a couple of occasions when I thought I was going to sneeze and panicked but thankfully it went away and I didn’t. With a blocked nose and tickle throat it felt as thought I had a summer cold, which I didn’t, and as such I lost my sense of smell at meal time and had no idea if I needed to put on more perfume or deodorant. I probably smelt like a strip-shop for how much perfume I wore without being able to detect it! But I continued to shower daily and wash my hair after the fourth day as I didn’t want to risk getting my nose and bandages wet as this can cause infection.
Having clean hair was amazing, and whilst I workout daily in the UK which causes my hair to be flat, limp and dry, having four days out from washing my hair made it feel so soft and bouncy and having not worn any makeup all week my skin felt amazing. But I noticed that I didn’t feel my same bouncy self without makeup and bruises, swelling and bandages. Whilst I would normally be smiling from ear to ear, saying hello to people and being upbeat the nose cast prevented me from moving my top lip, smiling at strangers and wearing makeup so when we were out and about I gravitated to quite corners in restaurants so as not to shock the other diners, walked behind my boyfriend holding his hand through crowds and kept my eyes down whilst walking past people so as not to get any funny stares. I kept a cap on whenever I went out to prevent the sun from getting to my face and to be able to be discreet about my surgery. I can see why people choose to remain indoors all week to recover before seeing anybody, but despite my somewhat capped social skills it didn’t stop me from getting out and about. The way that I saw it was we were on holiday, I didn’t know anybody and did what I could to be discreet and respectful to others. The final two days after my cast and bandages were removed we went to the port for dinner and drinks and I got dressed up, fixed my eyebrows, washed may hair, put on a mini skirt and foundation – without anything on my nose – and had the most amazing evening out. It felt so good to feel human again, to get done up and enjoy the electric nightlife and was the perfect end to our break away and celebration of my successful surgery.
I realise that I’m skipping back and forth here as I go slightly off tangent, my apologies for that! Four days after surgery with my blood-blocked nostrils – two days after my splints were removed and my nose had dried out and blocked up with blood – I used my Rinobanedif cream for the first time. The cream comes in a small squirt tube and feels like a thinner version of vaseline. I was able to push the nozzle into the dry blood and squeeze a small pea sized amount into each nostril which felt rather strange and slimy and unlike anything I’ve ever felt in my nose before. Continuing to breathe through my mouth I had dinner, took a shower and was about to get into bed when I really felt like blowing my nose. So instead I got a tissue and gently wiped the edge of my nostrils thinking my nose was running but in fact the cream had softened away the hardened blood and had encouraged it to come out by remaining oily inside. As I wiped small dark lumps of blood came away and I remembered Dr Aslani advising I use a cotton bud to clean the inside of my nose but as I didn’t have any I persevered with my tissue and after a couple minutes of gently wiping I was able to finally breathe again.
The blood took about a day to come away as I applied the cream first thing in the morning and last thing at night and it made such a difference to have a clean and clear inside to my nose. This was the biggest turning point for me as I was finally able to stop breathing through my mouth which meant my throat stopped tickling, I no longer coughed and it stopped feeling like I had a cold. It was such a beautiful sense of freedom and put an end to feeling as though I was fragile or recovering as my nose was functioning perfectly well. The bruises around my eyes started to turn from red to purple with a hint of yellow towards the end of day four which made them much less obvious. By day 5 my hashtag stickers came off in the shower and I just had my nose cone in place and by day 6 after my appointment at the clinic Dr Aslani was so pleased with the speed of my recovery that he said I no longer needed my nose cone but still had the bandages dressed on my nose to hold everything in place.
Day 7 post-surgery and my bandage dressing was removed for the final time and I couldn’t stop looking at my nose. Despite it being puffy and swollen which made my tip look a lot bigger than it naturally is, you can instantly see that the bridge of my nose is now sloped and far more feminine. I can breathe perfectly, sleep as soundly as ever and return to the gym keeping my exercise low impact, light weights and being careful not to put any pressure on my head. After 2-3 weeks I can ease back into my usual gym routine and by six weeks my nose is completely healed. The swelling on the tip of my nose will continue to reduce month by month now, changing fractionally at a time with the final results of my tip showing 10-12months after surgery. So please bare in mind when I show you the before and after results that these results are immediately after surgery and not my final recovered results which will come much later on in time.
My bruising has all but subsided now, leaving just a stubborn purple strip a few inches below each eye which makes me look like an American football player that rubs those black lines on their face, but it covers pretty well with makeup and when I get dressed up I look and feel like a woman reborn. I am beyond thrilled with my results, to some it may seem like such a subtle change but to me it’s absolutely monumental. I didn’t want to look fake or unlike myself, but just to correct a bump on my bridge and improve my breathing which Dr Aslani has gone above and beyond my expectations. Rhinoplasty surgery has been such a positive and convenient procedure which I wish I’d have had the courage to do years ago. I can’t believe that I waited this long to do something about it and have no idea what I was so hesitant about. That’s why I hope that my journey can help to give you the clarity and answers you need should you consider having a rhinoplasty surgery. I can personally recommend the high quality aftercare of Serene Cosmetic for surgery in Spain as well as my surgeon Dr Aslani’s incredible expertise and amazing results. This procedure has totally change my life and given me confidence in my appearance transforming a part of my face that I always disliked into something I now adore. It suits me so much better, makes me smile every time that I catch sight of it in the mirror and reminds me that life is too short to say “what if?” if there’s something you’ve been deliberating over for so long then do your research, make a decision and continue to live the best life possible.