My Nose Job Story

And nope, this isn’t just a click bait title. A few months ago, I made possibly the biggest decision that I’ve ever had to make. Far surpassing leaving home and going to uni (which was inevitable), I finally did something that I’ve wanted to do for the last ten years. You may have seen me hinting about it on Twitter and some of you figured it out and messaged me good luck, but on July 23rd 2015 – I underwent a rhinoplasty procedure, or more commonly known – as a nose job.

I debated whether or not to post my decision online, which is why I’ve left it for so long without mention. However I’ve finally decided that I want to share my story, because as much as I might get a few negative comments, I am proud of my decision. So before we get going, lets start at the very beginning…

I’ve always hated my nose. As a kid, I had a cute little button nose which suited my features (as I’m sure all kids do) and then as soon as I hit 11 or 12, it just grew and grew – in the most unfortunate fashion. It had been knocked several times and I had a deviated septum, which meant that my front view was always a bit crooked. Although I wouldn’t describe myself as being ‘bullied’ at school for the size of my nose, there was a few comments made in passing which sparked the realisation that mine was much bigger than my peers. Those comments have stuck with me and whenever I was having an already unconfident day, they would play over and over in my head.

Scarlett Dixon young

However, if I’m honest – as much as I hated it, plastic surgery seemed a little out of the question. I thought it was something only celebrities or wealthy people had – of which I was neither – and at a push, I thought that it would go horribly wrong. So I put up with it and throughout my teenage years, developed a horrible self confidence issue which stemmed from my nose.

To the outsider, it probably sounds ridiculous. I know that everyone has insecurities, it’s absolutely natural to – however it got to the point that I’d feel I’d have to make jokes about it when I met new people, so that the ‘elephant in the room’ could be tackled. Silly, I know!

I’d refer to it as the ‘beak’ with friends, because I felt that by joking about it – I wouldn’t have to feel so insecure, even though I did. I thought that when I walked into the room everyone would be thinking the same thing – ‘it’s a shame about her nose’. Inside, I wouldn’t even believe my family or previous boyfriends if they told me I was beautiful. I guess it’s a bit of an unusual and maybe even trivial sounding ‘problem’ to people who have never had concerns about their nose however all I could think about was that protruding lump in the middle of my face.

Scarlett Dixon Before Nose Job London

In the blogging world, it probably didn’t show so much. It doesn’t really make any sense for someone who is so insecure about a part of her face to be posting pictures online, however I got by with a little help from Photoshop. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that 60% of photos that have gone on my blog, of me, have been tweaked and edited when it comes to my nose. It was never about deceiving anyone – although it was pretty ridiculous since when I attended events it wasn’t photoshopped in real life – but I was so fixated on how much it ruined pictures and I felt so ashamed of it. It just didn’t fit my face and I had zero confidence when it came to that area. Although I don’t feel like I have to justify my decision by any means, I wanted to be honest – because that’s always been a value I’ve upheld on my blog in all other areas.

My insecurity hit a peak in late January 2015, when I was scrolling through some holiday pictures and felt so disgusted at what I saw that I vowed never to allow side profile pictures to be taken again. Although I feel that you should learn to love your body and learn to treat it well, my nose was never going to change (no matter how healthily I ate) and so I decided to look into a rhinoplasty surgery for real. I’d managed to save up a little bit of money from working throughout the previous summer, so I decided I’d put that towards it.

After a few weeks, I hit a bit of a dead end with the research, as there was SO much information out there. There’s private surgeons, cosmetic surgery companies and private hospitals – I didn’t quite know where to start. I emailed a few private surgeons but was getting quotes for £6-7,000, which was completely unaffordable for me. Obviously, it is on your face – so you don’t want to have to compromise on quality for a cheaper deal, but it was unfeasible for me – especially with £250 initial consultation fees (and the risk of not liking the surgeon, even after you’ve parted with the money). Once again, dreams of improving my confidence were out of the question.

Then, a post popped up on Instagram which completely changed things. A blogger who I’d been following since the beginnings of her website, had undertaken a rhinoplasty procedure and had very helpfully shared all on her blog. I’d spotted her at London Fashion Week a few weeks earlier and thought there was something different about her, although I assumed she’d got a new haircut or been abroad – as she was glowing. However, the post on Instagram revealed she’d had a nose job with Transform and so after a couple of messages to her, I started looking into the same surgeon.

I honestly can’t thank her enough for sharing her story (and I hope she won’t mind me mentioning her) – but if you’d like to have a read, you can do so over on Lulutrixabelle. Seeing her natural, yet amazing ‘after’ picture was a reassuring reminder that it could be done! Of course, she was a gorgeous girl before and looks incredible now, however I could totally empathise with having that one feature on your face that you hate, especially when you can’t hide it under clothes!

A couple of weeks later and I was booked in at Transform’s New Cavendish Street Clinic, in London. They very helpfully slot you in with a patient coordinator and the surgeon on your first visit, which means that you’ll get to chat through what the surgery involves – as well as getting a clearer idea on what can be changed. These consultations are free and there was absolutely no pressure to book then and there or have the procedure.

Mr Lahoud is the top rhinoplasty expert for Transform – and it was clear from his work with Lucy and his portfolio just why this was the case. He was very matter of fact and knew exactly what I wanted, without me explaining it in too much depth. I had actually photoshopped the kind of thing I wanted, but he tweaked a few bits – which I’m so pleased he did, as the procedure is obviously so much more complex than me fiddling around on Photoshop and isn’t always inductive of what can be achieved.

I booked my surgery for July 23rd and paid a deposit of £250. The remainder of the payment was due at my pre-op consultation – basically a health check with a nurse (they take your height and weight but no blood tests unless you’re anaemic) and I also had another consultation with Mr Lahoud because if I’m honest, I was a complete nervous wreck and wanted to go through things with him one more time. I booked everything through my patient coordinator Lauren, who was so friendly and helpful throughout the process – even phoning me the night before to wish me good luck and reassuring me! I was never made to feel like a nuisance for asking a million questions and everyone who I came across who worked for Transform was so friendly – even the lovely receptionist at the Cavendish Street Clinic!

The total cost of my surgery was £4,100 – something I didn’t know whether I should share because obviously it is quite a personal thing however Lucy’s post really helped me as it contained so much information and was instrumental in my decision, so if this post in turn helps someone, so be it!

I paid up-front as I had the money saved, however you can actually opt for their ‘finance plan’ which is really affordable, if that suits you better. It is a lot of money, in fact it’s the most expensive thing I’ve ever ‘bought’ however for me, you couldn’t put a price on confidence and so I went ahead. I think the usual price is £3,900 however I was having tip refinement, bump removal and a reduction in the projection so it cost a little more.

The big day came around quite quickly and I was filled with anticipation – mostly excitement but a little anxiety about the actual procedure, as I hate needles and knew that there was going to be one involved.

I checked into Transform’s private hospital – The Riverside, which is in West London – at 7.30am and was taken straight through to my own private room. I had to pop on a rather unsightly gown, which also happened to be transparent – and then a even more fetching dressing gown over the top. I also chose my lunch, dinner and breakfast options (as I was staying in overnight) and took a few deep breaths. My mum stayed with me the entire time (apart from actually in the operating theatre) and I was so grateful for her calming presence, as my nerves were sky high! I’m very lucky that my family were all really supportive of my procedure and helped look after me in the weeks following.

Mr Lahoud came and visited me and we went through the surgery again for the final time. I followed him and my nurse up to the operating room and chatted with the anaesthetist who popped some numbing cream on my hand.

Walking into the operating theatre was the most surreal and most nerve wracking experience of my life, as I knew that in less than 10 minutes, I’d be in a medically induced sleep and be operated on.

My face was going to change forever and I’d wake up with a new nose. I was so nervous and I think it showed because the team in the room did their utmost to reassure me and put me at ease. I was convinced that the anathestic wasn’t going to work on me and that I’d be wide awake while my nose was being peeled back from my face. Luckily, this wasn’t the case and after feeling a dull ache in my arm from the anathestic getting to work, it soon kicked in and I was fast asleep.

The surgery took about two hours. I actually had a dream while being operated on so when I woke up, initially I was a bit confused as to where I was – as it wasn’t my usual bed at home. I drifted in and out of sleep for a bit, I remember someone asking me if I was cold and the nurses taking my blood pressure every five minutes, however it took about half an hour for me to come round properly and realise what was going on. I was worried I was going to be sick, as it can be a side effect afterwards – however the only thing I had was that I couldn’t stop shaking and trembling (uncontrollably) for about 20 minutes. It was a bit weird (and I was laughing hysterically at one point) but it soon subsided and I was taken back to my room where my mum awaited.

Scarlett Dixon Hospital Rhinoplasty

Above: my mum decided to document everything with lots of pictures, so the above were taken about an hour after surgery! 

After surgery, my mouth was very stiff and my top lip was numb (it took a few weeks for this to return to normal) because the muscles between my mouth and nose were severed in order to let the nose heal without movement (chewing etc) bothering it. This was probably the weirdest sensation because I had to drink from a straw and eat very, very small mouthfuls. However, there is no pain whatsoever. I know the ‘pain’ of having surgery puts people off, but honestly – a period is more painful than having a rhinoplasty.

The biggest thing for me was that it was uncomfortable to recover from and you have to prepare yourself that you’re going to be a bit black and blue for awhile, especially if your nose was broken and re-aligned in surgery, which mine was.

The first night is pretty rubbish, because you’ve got packing in your nose (essentially giant tampon like things) which soak up the blood and a cast on, which protects it for the first week. Because you can’t breathe at all from your nose, every time I swallowed there was a popping sound in my ears and my throat was sore – because the airways couldn’t clear themselves. Every time I managed to fall asleep, I was woken up again by the popping sound of swallowing. Anyway, it wasn’t unbearable by any means – just a bit annoying. There’s a TV in your room so I ended up watching anything and everything that was on Channel 4 that night (including Married At First Sight – Jason you idiot?!).

In the morning, the nurse comes to take out your packing and your cannula, which is the IV/Needle that they put in your hand. The packing doesn’t hurt to get out, but it does feel a bit weird – kind of like someone is unravelling bits of your brain out of your nose. Haha, I’m kidding – it’s not that bad, none of it is – it’s just ever so slightly uncomfortable. I was then discharged at 8am and my dad came to pick me up and take me home.

The week of wearing my cast went quite quickly although I was bed bound for the most part, binge watching The Hills and drifting in and out of sleep. I was a bit out of it for awhile, I think the pain-killers they give you are very strong – and weirdly, I slept soundly every night.

All I could see was the tip of my nose, as the rest was covered with the cast but I meticulously examined everything in the mirror everyday, something I’d recommend avoiding because you pick up on the slightest of things. I was convinced that my front teeth had somehow been chipped in among this whole ordeal, however when I looked back at pictures, I’d always had the chipped tooth – I’d just never noticed it. Do yourself a favour and don’t keep looking in the mirror during this week!

Bruising wise, I was actually pretty lucky. I only got swelling under one eye really, which was probably at its worst on the second day – when I couldn’t see much out of it because it was so puffy, however it went down very quickly. It can be a strange thing to see yourself all beaten up, but I got through it by laughing at myself and taking lots of funny pictures. You know you’re not going to be like that forever!

Cast removal day was a big one for me, as I was finally going to see the nose that I’d spent so long dreaming about (I hoped). I headed back into London at the Cavendish Street Clinic and waited to see the nurse. I’m not going to lie, the cast removal was probably the most uncomfortable bit out of the whole ordeal, since I had an open rhinoplasty and was also having my stitches removed. The nose is very tender anyway, as it’s been broken and nerves have been tampered with and damaged, so having someone touch this is a bit uncomfortable. I was also so anxious to see what it looked like that I was shaking like a leaf on the bed and the nurse kindly put some loud music in the background so I could concentrate on that and close my eyes.

Finally all the stitches were out and I was told to take a look in the mirror. I couldn’t comprehend what I saw at first. My face was different – I no longer had this awful, great big nose taking over my face. I felt like me again, which is probably the weirdest thing to say – because it wasn’t like me. I can’t really make sense of it (even now) but even though it was so swollen, as all the blood was rushing to it to repair things, I loved it instantly. For the first time in forever I felt like me!

Scarlett London Rhinoplasty

The day after cast removal, my nose swelled up again – LOADS. I looked like an avatar from the front, however I knew it was going to shrink back to how it looked when the cast was removed and this could take anywhere between 6 weeks and 12 months. Rhinoplasty has a very long recovery time, as it’s a very complex procedure, but obviously a very rewarding one – as it can completely change your face or just give you the tweak you need to feel more confident in yourself.

Overall, I am so glad I made the decision to undergo the procedure – even though I’m nervous about sharing this decision online for everyone to see.

I was going to keep things private, because I kind of didn’t want everyone (who I knew online and offline) to know every detail about what I’d had done – however looking at it as a whole, I’m proud of the decision I made. Not everyone is going to agree. I’m sure the world would be a very boring place if everyone had the same opinion and made the same decisions, however I hope that people will respect that I did this for myself. It’s something I wanted to do, not to impress anyone else – but so that I would feel better and more confident.

Plastic surgery does have a certain stigma attached, one I think is wrongly there. Yes, it has a bit of a bad rep because celebrities have used it to attempt to solve every problem, sexualise themselves and now it seems commonplace among the showbiz world – however in the REAL world, it gives REAL people confidence that is simply life changing.

I do feel that it is a very brave thing to go under the knife electively to change something and would support any of my friends if they chose to do the same. At the end of the day, the decision is made by the individual, for the individual – and we have to respect that. It doesn’t make you any less of a person, nor does it make you ‘plastic’. I had an insecurity that I wasn’t happy with and I saved up the money to change it.

IMG_2179

And so far, I can say it’s worked as a confidence boost. Having a nose job hasn’t altered my personality or who I am but it’s taken away the one thing I was hiding behind. It gave me the confidence to cut my hair (I think I’d been hiding behind it for years – scared to cut it, resulting in 6 years worth of split ends), wear it up, experiment with make-up and feel really good about myself, rather than worrying about that one thing that bothered me. I know it might sound silly that a new nose can instil a new found confidence into someone, but everyone is different!

I’m far from perfect however – and having surgery wasn’t about a quest for perfection. I think it’s important to highlight that aspect when talking about any kind of surgery. My new nose is far more in proportion with my face and now I feel my other facial features are able to shine rather than being overwhelmed by one rather large one. That’s what I’ve taken from it – rather than modelling myself on a celeb’s nose or trying to achieve the impossible. Plastic surgery isn’t supposed to be taken lightly, it’s a major thing – but I wish I’d known sooner that I didn’t have to put up with something that was making me so unhappy.

I will admit, it has been an emotional experience – because you’re changing something on your face, forever, but I honestly feel like I now look like the Scarlett Dixon I was always supposed to be.

nose job

FAQ

What is involved in the rhinoplasty, what do they actually do to your nose?

It depends what kind of rhinoplasty you’re having – as there’s an ‘open’ or a ‘closed’ method. Mr Lahoud, my surgeon, only does open rhinoplasty – which I wanted anyway as it tends to achieve the best results if you have several ‘problem’ areas. The open method involves an incision in the columella (the bit that hangs down between your nostrils), where your nose is then kind of peeled back and the work can be done. It’s a bit gruesome but I actually watched an entire rhinoplasty procedure on YouTube (don’t ask me why) but it was really informative with regards to the technical parts of what is being done. So if you want to know more, I suggest giving that a watch (through your hands).

I want something changed but I don’t want to look too different, can this be done?

It’s definitely something to speak with the surgeon about, as they can give you specifics on what will change. I was very much under the impression that I didn’t want my front profile to change – however it has, and I’m pleased it has because I didn’t realise how much of an effect it had on my face overall. Whether you want a subtle change or a dramatic one, most people other than yourself don’t actually notice or aren’t observant enough – so if you’re worrying about people at work or distant friends noticing, forget about it!

You should learn to love every feature/you don’t look like you now/you’ve ruined what genetics gave you?

Well yes, I somewhat agree. I don’t think you should set about picking faults in yourself and making a check list of what you should change, you should love your features because they’re yours and make you, well you! However, if there’s something you’re particularly unhappy about and have the means to tweak it, I don’t see any problem in this either. I’m not ‘ruining’ what genetics gave me, I’m just adapting it to improve my confidence. If anyone has any issues with this, it’s their problem rather than mine.

I’ve booked a rhinoplasty, how can I prepare to make the recovery as comfortable as possible?

First things first, buy one of those U-shaped pregnancy pillows, they make sleeping upright for the first week so much easier (to reduce swelling). Also stock up on vaseline (you lips get so dry from breathing out of your mouth the whole time), straws (because your mouth doesn’t work much the first week, this avoids spillages), lots of soft foods (you won’t want to be chewing much), good books, cotton wool pads, cotton buds and paracetamol. I switched to paracetamol after the first few days because the stronger pain killers can have some annoying side effects and I didn’t want to use them for too long.

I’ve had it done, when will I feel normal again?

Soon, don’t rush things. You’ve had a pretty intense procedure and your body is healing. I felt so so vulnerable for the first week, my family were laughing at me because whenever I walked anywhere – I would hold onto the walls, doors etc and walk really, really slowly. I panicked because I thought that everything was going to somehow fall onto my nose and ruin all the work done. You’ll feel normal again soon, but I still currently feel like the nose I’m sporting (although gorgeous) is one that has been stuck on, as it doesn’t quite feel like mine. It’s very tingly and numb for quite a long time. Everything you’re feeling is normal though, don’t worry!

Help, I look like a pig from the side… 

I added this one in because I LOOKED LIKE A PIG FROM THE SIDE. I had a huge panic on the third or fourth day because my nose was upturned and there was no way I’d requested this as an outcome. It looked distorted and I feared for cast removal day when I would turn into a farmyard creature for real. Do not fear, it is normal for the nose to appear upturned, as often when bone is shaved down – it does this while it’s healing. The tip will drop and look more natural as the swelling starts to go down. Often when correcting a droopy tip, the surgeon will upturn it to over-compensate for it dropping after the swelling. So whatever happens, don’t panic! It won’t look like this, stop worrying – I worried myself silly!

If you have any other questions at all, whether you’re looking into having the procedure yourself – or are simply just nosey (excuse the pun), then please do feel free to leave any questions below. You deserve a medal if you’ve managed to read this whole thing, I’m sorry it’s ridiculously long – but I wanted to put together a comprehensive guide of what rhinoplasty involves for anyone interested! 

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As a little disclaimer, I just wanted to point out that I paid for the surgery entirely myself – nothing was discounted or comped in return for coverage. Pre-surgery, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to write about my rhinoplasty decision as it was quite a personal one, however I think it’s important to be honest – especially if you write about every other aspect of your life online – and something on your face that looks different is definitely not something you can hide (or that I’d want to).