Rhinoplasty is not a glitz-and-glam transformation that's supposed to turn you into a Hollywood star. Your plastic surgeon's job is simply to help you feel more confident about yourself in your own skin while staying true to who you are. That's why, when considering a nose job, choosing the right surgeon (not to mention, going in with the right expectations and asking the right questions) is key. And that's exactly what 28-year-old influencer and digital marketing manager Ashley Nicholson did when, hoping to learn more about her options related to what she considered her "too big" nose, she booked an initial consult with Vancouver rhinoplasty specialist Dr. Thomas Buonassisi at 8 West Cosmetic Surgery Clinic in Vancouver.
“My nose was always my biggest insecurity growing up. I didn't exactly hate my nose but, when I became a content creator, I became so much more aware of it and all of my angles,” Ashley says about her decision to look into rhinoplasty.
When it came time to choose a surgeon, she says, “If I was going to do something as dramatic as changing a part of my face, I had to make sure I was seeing the right doctor. Dr. Buonassisi is at the top of his field and has done thousands of rhinoplasties, so I knew I’d be in good hands.”
Ashley calls her initial consult with Dr. Buonassisi “eye-opening.”
“I had no idea how many factors are taken into account when it comes to an esthetically pleasing nose,” she explains. “I knew I wanted my nose to be smaller, but what that actually meant was a reduction of my bridge, upward rotation of the tip and reshaping the tip itself. I got to see it all through computer imaging and that part was pretty exciting to witness. I went home and texted my computer-imaged nose to all my friends right away!”
Dr. Buonassisi, a board-certified facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon who has, for the last 20 years, been focused on plastic surgery of the nose, eyes, face, neck and ears (he performs these procedures on a weekly basis), agreed that a reduction of the hump or bridge of Ashley’s nose was the correct course of action to take.
“A little bit of tip rotation was needed in this case, as well,” he says. “I think those adjustments uniformly look quite good, though you have to be careful not to overdo them. The key for a successful rhinoplasty is to set realistic expectations for each patient around what can be achieved. We use computer imaging as a communication tool to help show and explain that.”
Having had all of her questions answered, Ashley booked her surgery and prepared for the big day. Though entering the operating room was a little nerve-wracking, she says, “As soon as I was on the table I felt at ease. I went for twilight anaesthesia, which meant I was awake during the surgery, and apparently I was really chatty the entire time!”
Recovery, she admits, was “a little rough,” particularly because she couldn’t breathe through her nose at first and had to sleep propped up in an upright position. But, once that phase passed, she had no issues (other than some slight embarrassment walking her dogs with two black eyes and a cast!). And, a week later, Ashley was back at 8 West for her first follow-up with Dr. Buonassisi, and to have her cast removed.
“When we took Ashley’s cast off it was so close to the images that we’d initially generated, so she was really excited and, of course, I was very pleased, as well,” Dr. Buonassisi says. Ashley adds, “I couldn’t believe it was my own face I was looking at in the mirror. I don’t think I heard a word Dr. Buonassisi said to me after the cast came off because I was so overwhelmed!”
Two months later, she still catches herself happily staring at her profile in the mirror. The best part, she says, is that she's “still the exact same Ashley, just with a little more confidence!”
“Since so much of my job is shooting and posting photos of myself, I used to be really conscious of situations where I didn’t have control of the camera,” she explains. “Now I feel comfortable shooting with other people, going to photographed events, and I have more angles to work with!”
While it is true that cosmetic rhinoplasty can create dramatic transformations in a person’s appearance, Dr. Buonassisi cautions that it does have significant and real limitations.
“It is not possible to change all nasal features and as a result there is a limit to how much a person can change their particular nose,” he explains. “The resiliency of cartilage, the orientation of the surrounding facial bones and the thickness of the nasal skin all contribute to the appearance of the nose. Some of these factors cannot be changed surgically and limit the degree of change possible. So, you probably can’t have any nose you want, but you can have an improved version of yours that with the appropriate expectations, you will be very happy with.”
As for Ashley, she couldn’t be happier about her decision to entrust Dr. Buonassisi with her rhinoplasty: “The best part was the opportunity to work with the 8 West team. I had full trust in them from consultation to the time the cast came off. A face-altering surgery is a big deal, but it really didn’t feel like one thanks to everyone who made me feel so at ease.”
Her top tips for anyone considering rhinoplasty: “Do all the research you can and base your decisions on that. Making sure you’re with a reputable surgeon who specializes in rhinoplasty will take so much of the stress away, because you’ll know that you’re in good hands.”
8 West Cosmetic Surgery & Laser Skin Clinic, 300 - 1788 West Broadway, Vancouver, B.C., V6J 1Y1, 604-330-0196, 8west.ca