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Transforming Cleft Nose Deformity: A Young Girl's Rhinoplasty Journey and Your Complete Recovery Roadmap.

Updated: Jun 28

Dr Srinjoy Saha, Clinical Professor of Plastic Surgery and Consultant Plastic Surgeon, Apollo Hospitals Kolkata, India.


What happens when we transform a deformed nose?


Have ever wondered about what happens to children born with deformed noses? In this article, you will learn the details of the incredible journey of a young girl. Born with deformed lips and nose, she had nose surgery to correct her cleft nose deformity. You will see her before and after pictures and hear her true story. You will understand how rhinoplasty, or nose surgery, significantly impacts people's lives. Then, you will find the top 10 tips on what to expect and how to care for a newly crafted nose. 


Let's explore the world of nose transformations!


Before and after cleft rhinoplasty collage.
Collage comparing the before and after photographs of cleft rhinoplasty in a patient with nasal deformity in frontal and oblique views. It demonstrates that a good nose surgery achieves remarkable improvements.

From Insecurity To Confidence: The Story Of A Young Girl's Rhinoplasty.


Ever since Swapna could remember, she felt different from the other kids. She was born with a cleft lip and cleft palate on the left side of her face. Her parents explained that it was a birth defect where her lip and the roof of her mouth didn't form properly during pregnancy.


Swapna underwent her first surgery when she was just a few months old. Her parents told her the doctors had repaired the opening in her lip. More procedures would come over the years to fully correct her cleft lip and palate. As a young child, Swapna didn't fully understand what was happening. She only understood the surgeries and follow-up treatments were complex and often painful.


Pre-surgery cleft nose deformity photos.
Multiple views (frontal, oblique, lateral, and basal) of the patient's deformed nose before performing rhinoplasty.

One of Swapna's earliest memories was being self-conscious about how her nose looked compared to her parents and younger brother. "When will my nose look as sharp as my mom's?" she would often ask, staring at her reflection. Her mother looked stunning, with high cheekbones and a slim, shapely nose. Her father had chiselled masculine features. Even Swapna's little brother seemed to take after them with a perfectly proportioned nose and face.


But Swapna's facial cleft deformity caused her nose to appear flattened and asymmetrical. No matter how often her parents assured her she was beautiful, Swapna struggled with her self-image as a young girl. She became an expert at posing in photos to hide the left side of her nose.


Cleft side vs normal side nose comparison.
Comparison of the cleft (left) and normal (right) side of the patient's nose before rhinoplasty.

In addition to the visible difference on Swapna's face, she also had difficulties with eating, breathing, and speech. Certain sounds were highly challenging to pronounce clearly. Swapna felt embarrassed having to attend speech therapy while the other kids didn't seem to need it.


As Swapna got older, she needed more surgeries and procedures to repair her cleft lip and palate. There were bone grafts and surgeries to reposition and reshape her gums. Multiple orthodontic treatments and appliances were needed to straighten her misaligned teeth.


Swapna bravely endured it all, but there were moments of anger, sadness, and frustration. "Why couldn't I have just been born normal?" she would cry to her mom during every surgery. Her life was paved with one surgery after another with a long, difficult recovery period.


When Swapna was 17 years old, she came to our clinic asking for nose surgery. She hoped it would improve the appearance and function of her nose. Finally, Swapna would get the refined, symmetric nose she had longed for. She was scared to go under the knife again. Still, she was equally hopeful and excited for this last chance to feel confident about her looks. We counselled her about secondary cleft rhinoplasty, including its benefits and limitations.


Intra-operative cleft rhinoplasty results.
Intra-operative pictures of the nose immediately after surgical correction of cleft nose deformity.

The surgery went well, but the first few months were brutal as Swapna dealt with swelling and discomfort around her nose. She had to be careful about potential impacts that could reshape the still-healing nasal bones and cartilage. Swapna felt even more self-conscious and embarrassed as she impatiently waited for the swelling to subside.


7 days post-op cleft rhinoplasty results.
Multiple views (frontal, oblique, lateral, and basal) of the patient's corrected nose 7 days after cleft rhinoplasty surgery. Note how the upper lip contours had improved already without any lip surgery.

But when the swelling finally did go down after about six months, Swapna was overjoyed to see her new nose looking just like she'd imagined - slim, straight, and proportional to her other features. She studied her reflection in the mirror, smiling from ear to ear.


Swapna was so pleased with her new nose that she didn't want to undergo any more surgeries. We had successfully corrected her nose, and it looked fantastic! We informed Swapna that she could consider a shorter surgery to enhance her upper lip's appearance and address the scars. We need to wait at least six months after her nose surgery and evaluate her body response before doing it.


Swapna decided to take some time to enjoy her new nose. She loved the way her nose looked now and already felt more confident. Other imperfections on her face didn't bother her as much anymore. She would postpone the lip surgery for now.


2 years post-op cleft rhinoplasty results.
Multiple views (frontal, oblique, lateral, and basal) of the patient's corrected nose 2 years after cleft rhinoplasty surgery. Nasal shape improved remarkably after her rhinoplasty. Even without lip surgery to improve scar appearance, the upper lip contours appeared more symmetrical.

Over the next year, Swapna sailed through the remainder of her orthodontic treatment to finalize her bite and alignment. She worked hard on speech exercises to eliminate residual speech issues.


By the time Swapna entered college, she felt like a new person, inside and out. Her physical transformation on the face was noticeable. She'd also blossomed into a strong, confident, resilient young woman because of her experiences.


Cleft rhinoplasty frontal view progression.
Frontal view sequence showing the patient's nose shape before surgery, 7 days post-op, and 2 years post-op results. After performing secondary cleft rhinoplasty for cleft nose deformity, the symmetry, balance, and harmony of the nose has improved tremendously.

Swapna's struggles from being born with a cleft lip and palate were not easy. There were so many painful procedures, costly treatments, embarrassments, and insecurities to push through over the years. But she made it through victoriously.


Cleft rhinoplasty oblique view progression with surgery.
Oblique view sequence showing the patient's nose shape before surgery, 7 days post-op, and 2 years post-op results. After performing secondary cleft rhinoplasty for cleft nose deformity, the nasal shape has improved considerably. It has also improved the upper lip contours without performing any lip revision surgery.

As a blossoming young adult, Swapna feels beautiful and assured in who she is. She expressed her gratitude to all the doctors who attentively cared for her since day one. She's thankful to her parents for being a pillar of support. People admired her tenacity and the perspective she developed by conquering many difficulties at a young age.


Today, Swapna doesn't see a different girl when she looks in the mirror. Instead, she perceives a radiant young woman, inside and out, whose journey has just begun.


Cleft rhinoplasty basal view progression.
Basal view sequence showing the patient's nose shape before surgery, 7 days post-op, and 2 years post-op results. After performing secondary cleft rhinoplasty for cleft nose deformity, the nostril shapes appear more symmetrical.

 

Recovery After Cleft Rhinoplasty: Top 10 Expert Tips for Caring for Your New Nose.


If you are considering nose surgery to correct a cleft nose deformity (rhinoplasty), here are some essential things to know:

  1. Healing takes time: Your nose will look better in a few weeks, but complete healing can take 1-2 years.

  2. Rest is essential: Take about a week off from school or work. Avoid exercising heavily for at least six weeks.

  3. Swelling is normal: Your nose, especially the tip, would be swollen for a while. It gets better with time.

  4. Be careful: Your nose will be delicate for a long time. Avoid bumping it or playing contact sports for several months.

  5. Follow doctor's orders: Take any medicines your doctor gives you. Use cold packs if they say it's okay.

  6. Eat healthy foods: Good nutrition helps you heal faster.

  7. Don't expect perfection: Your nose will look better than before. But, it will never be what you imagined. That's the truth.

  8. Be patient: You'll see changes immediately, but the final result takes a year or more. Don't worry if your nose looks uneven as it heals - this is expected and will improve.

  9. Your nose is special: Your surgeon's goal is to create the best possible version of your nose, not to produce an exact copy of another person's.

  10. Ask questions: Always ask your doctor if you are worried about anything during healing.


Your new nose will take time to settle into its final shape. Stay positive and take good care of yourself!


 

Rhinoplasty for Cleft Nose Deformity: A Comprehensive Guide to Post-Rhinoplasty Care.


The following details will guide you through your recovery. It will also help you understand how to care for your new nose after your cleft rhinoplasty. Please click on every arrow to read the complete details.


The Healing Timeline.

Right after surgery, your nose will swell up, and you may have bruises under your eyes. Do not worry - this is normal! Your doctor will put a splint and some tape on your nose to protect it. You will wear them for about a week.


The first week is the toughest. You will need to rest a lot and might feel some discomfort. After a week, your doctor will remove the splint and stitches. You will start to see changes in your nose, but remember - this is not the final result!


Most people can return to school or work after 7-10 days. But your nose will keep healing for much longer. Your nose can take 1-2 years to settle fully into its new shape. That might sound like a long time, but most changes happen in the first few months.

Managing Swelling and Bruising.

Swelling is a big part of rhinoplasty recovery. At first, your entire nose will swell up. But, the nose tip usually stays swollen for a long time. Expect more swelling after an "open" rhinoplasty, where a small cut occurs between your nostrils.


To reduce the swelling:

  • Start Arnica and Bromelain 1-2 weeks before surgery and continue after surgery.

  • Keep your head elevated after your surgery, even when sleeping. Tilt the bed or use extra pillows to prop yourself up.

  • Use cold packs on your cheeks and eyes (but not directly on your nose) for the first few days.

  • Take any medicines your doctor prescribes to reduce swelling.

  • Be patient! Swelling will decrease over time, but it can take months to see the final result.

Taking Care of Your New Nose.

Your nose will be very delicate after surgery. Here are some essential things to remember:

  • Don't blow your nose for at least a week after surgery. If you need to sneeze, open your mouth to reduce pressure on your nose.

  • Avoid wearing glasses or sunglasses that rest on your nose for about a month. If you need glasses, tape them to your forehead instead.

  • Don't do heavy lifting or bending over for at least two weeks.

  • Avoid direct sunlight on the nasal skin. Wear sunscreen on your nose when going outside. Your skin might be extra sensitive to sunburn.

  • Don't smoke. Smoking can slow down your healing.

  • Be very careful not to bump your nose. Sleep on your back and be cautious when getting dressed or playing with pets.

Getting Back to Normal Activities.

It's essential to give your body time to heal. Here's a general timeline for returning to activities:

  • Light activities (like walking): After 2 weeks.

  • More strenuous exercise (like jogging): After 4 weeks.

  • Contact sports or activities where you might bump your nose: Wait at least 6 weeks, but check with your doctor first.

Dealing with Discomfort.

You might have some pain or discomfort after surgery. Your doctor will give you medicine to help with this. You might also have trouble breathing through your nose for a while. These discomforts are expected, and they get better as the swelling reduces.

Watching for Complications.

While complications are rare, knowing what to look out for is essential. Call your doctor if you have:

  • A fever.

  • Severe pain that does not get better with medicine.

  • Bleeding that does not stop.

  • Any injury to your nose.

Being Patient with the Results.

It's exciting to see your new nose, but remember - what you see right after surgery is not the final result. Your nose will change a lot as it heals. Sometimes, it might even look a little crooked or uneven. Do not worry! These changes in shape are expected, and they improve with time.

Embracing Your Unique Nose.

After nose surgery, do not compare your nose to others. Most "perfect" noses seen in magazines or online are not genuine. They often get edited with computers. Every person's nose is different, and that's perfectly okay! Rhinoplasty is not about making your nose look like someone else's. It's about making your nose better for you. Your surgeon wants to improve your nose, not copy another person's nose.  Remember, your nose is unique, just like you!

Taking Care of Your Overall Health.

Eating well, staying hydrated, and resting can help you heal faster. Immediately after your surgery, avoid hot and spicy foods, as they might increase swelling. Some people find that pineapple (which contains bromelain) and arnica (a herb) can help reduce bruising and swelling. Always check with your doctor before taking any supplements.

Follow-up Appointments.

Make sure to go to all your follow-up appointments with your doctor. These are important to make sure you are healing properly. Do not be afraid to ask questions if you are worried about anything during your recovery.

Remember, rhinoplasty recovery takes time and patience. It is normal to have ups and downs during the healing process. Stay positive, follow your doctor's instructions, and soon you will be enjoying life with your new nose!


 

Disclaimer: 

This article and the information contained within it are for educational purposes only. It should not be construed or used as a medical opinion or advice. This article does NOT intend to supplement the advice of a trained, licensed medical professional in your area.

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