The Nose Job

Tyler had his nose surgery just over a week ago. For those of you who don't know, Tyler fractured his nose in three different places while playing basketball on his mission and although it caused him to have a deviated septum and a crooked nose, he never fixed it. Then about a month and a half ago he re-broke his nose while playing basketball again. This time his nose was significantly more crooked and it seemed to collapse on one side when he breathed in hard.

He decided to check it out and the doctor confirmed that his nose was way messed up, meaning that the valves inside his nose were indeed collapsing, the cartilage at the end of his nose was barley hanging on and providing no structural support, and the fractured bones at the top had grown back all weirdy and were further blocking air. Obviously he needed to do something about it, especially because the lack of air flow made him sound like a dentist's drill while he slept and I did not care for that. Hence, the nose job.

The surgery took nearly five hours and the doctor said he was tested to the limit (it took him almost an hour just to get into the right side of Tyler's nose to then start the work), but there were no major complications and the nose is fixed!!

So, here is the rundown of everything the doctor did (that I can remember):
  • Re-broke the bones at the top and then set them straight
  • Shaved the extra bone down, giving Tyler a slightly more narrow nose
  • Straightened the septum
  • Took some cartilage from the back of Tyler's right ear to rebuild the end of the nose in order for the valves to open back up
  • Removed some turbinates, which should help Tyler's allergies
  • Brought up the tip of Tyler's nose, which had drooped because of the weak cartilage, to make it straight
  • Clipped the small muscle attaching his upper lip to his nose- it was pulling his nose down and doesn't need to be attached anyways

I think those are all the major points. I don't know how well you know Tyler's nose, but for someone who stares at his face several times a day I can tell that it is a little thinner, straighter and the tip is raised. None of the changes to the outside are drastic though, as it was a legitimate nose surgery for function and not just a cosmetic nose job.

Here are some progression photos from Tyler's recovery, starting with right after he left the hospital and ending with right after the hard cast was removed.

Do you think he looks different?

As you can tell, bandages came off slowly ending with the hard cast and plastic splints inside his nose. He didn't need a lot of pain medication, but definitely got uncomfortable after spending so much time on his back- he says he now sympathizes with infants and their flat, bald patches cause they're always lying down. His feet bothered him the first two days because they were so swollen from the IV, but other than a little pressure under the cast, his nose and ear were fine. Tyler was super irritated by his swollen uvula, which was literally sitting on the back of his tongue, though. You should know that it was only swollen because Tyler woke up from the anesthesia a little soon and, as the doctor put it, "he came out swinging!" Apparently in the confusion he tried to rip a tube out of his throat and then had to deal with a fat uvula because of it.

It has only been a week, but the swelling and bruising has almost disappeared from his face and ear. The doctor told us it should be completely gone (including the stitches behind his ear) by the end of three weeks. The actual bone and new cartilage won't completly settle for 8-12 months, but you shouldn't be able to tell. Tyler is now enjoying breathing like a normal person and is currently searching for a Kobe-esque face mask so he can return to the court ASAP.

P.S. Two days after the surgery we met with the doctor to remove the packing inside of Tyler's nose. The packing had been inserted from the nostril all the way back to the end of his nasal sinus by the ear and Tyler said removing it gave him the sensation that someone was pulling out his brain through his nose. After the packing was out, the doctor suctioned out the extra blood and fluids with a teeny, tiny vacuum that reached all the way back to ear as well. As you can imagine, it didn't feel awesome and caused Tyler to cough a lot. After the last suctioning Tyler started coughing so much that he threw up a pool of blood and one of the plastic splints from his nose. Yes, a big piece of plastic went back through his nose, down his throat and out his mouth. Awesome.

P.P.S. A small, funny story from the ordeal- Shortly after Tyler was wheeled to the recovery room he felt like he had to burp, but couldn't. He kept complaining about it, but the nurse and I didn't really know what to tell him. Eventually the nurse asked him to sit up so we could dress him, and when he did he started to burp, a lot. I guess your nose kind of acts like a valve when you swallow to release excess air, but when your nose is full of packing you just swallow the air and then burp a lot later. Anyways, as he sat there burping he kept saying, "Oh that feels so good... oh yeah!" really, really loud, because he had turban bandages all over his ears and couldn't hear. The two, young female nursing students, who had been getting him water and ice, just stood there awkwardly while I politely told him he was talking too loud. Soooo embarrasing!! It's a good thing I love him and he was still a little out of it :)

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