Face Damaged by Unnecessary Surgeries
Every morning when I wake, I am afraid to look in the mirror. The right side of my face is caving in. Day by day, the cheekbone disappears. The right eye droops. I recall a man asking me a few months before the surgery if I was Cherokee “because of your cheekbones.”
Two years ago, an ENT I was seeing for tinnitus destroyed my face with three unnecessary nasal and sinus surgeries. I’d had no idea that something like this could happen. He’d said he was removing a polyp and that he would fix “that deviated septum” at the same time. I thought the septum was just the divider between the nostrils. I didn’t care if he wanted to re-arrange it. I had no symptoms, but maybe I was about to develop some. He was the doctor. He knew best. Right?
How do you alter a face and amputate part of a nose while removing a polyp and fixing a deviated septum?
I have spent the past two years trying to figure that out. I now have some of the answers. The ENT performed the septoplasty incorrectly. He over-shortened the septum, drawing up the lower third of my nose and exposing my nostrils. This drawing up created a bunching effect on the formerly smooth curve of my nose. According to one plastic surgeon, I now have a mild saddle nose deformity. My nasal bridge sank into my face due to the amputation of the septal bone and cartilages that support the nose. The boney hump just below the bridge is caused by a bowing out of the shortened septum. In addition, the soft tissues that padded the bridge and provided the shape and smoothness were “lost in the surgery.”
The septum is a boney plate that extends into the head: Nasal Septum Article. Usually, when a septum has been over-shortened, it is repaired with bone harvested from the remaining septum. I have no remaining septal bone. Repair, if possible, will require a rib graft.
This plastic surgeon said I’d had osteotomies—a nose job, and that the bones were infractured in the upper part of my nose. If true, this could not have been done by accident.
So altogether, this is what happened to my formerly beautiful nose: The nasal bridge is narrowed. The padding is gone, exposing the bones through the skin. There is a hump below the bridge. The bottom third is pulled up. The exposed nostrils are asymmetrical. With the bunching, the loss of the bridge and the nose pulled up, I have a pig snout.
If a surgeon wanted to create this effect, these surgeries would be the course to follow.
But that is not all that happened to my face in this “polyp removal.” There is too much space between my nose and lips. The narrowed bridge created an excess of skin on my forehead. I have those vertical creases that women spend a fortune on botox getting rid of. Before the surgery, my forehead was as smooth and tight as a drum. I have “malar bags” under my eyes. These are due to excess skin left by the loss of nasal and other bone structure, and also caused by skin stretched, for two years, by swelling from eye infections. I have lost my cheekbones. The ENT performed an obsolete surgery called a Caldwell-Luc in which a large amount of bone is drilled out of the cheekbones. My face is now asymmetrical, almost flat on the right side. I have jowls—another place the excess skin found to roost. I have lost the padding and fullness of my face. This goes away with age. Mine went away overnight.
To be fair, the changes I describe are somewhat subtle. They are subtle enough to fall within the range of normal, as in “a normal face,” “normal aging,” “normal asymmetry.” “Normal” is a broad category when it comes to faces. However, it is not normal to have a polyp removed and emerge with a different face. It is not normal to age fifteen years in two months. It is not normal for profound facial asymmetries to develop overnight at the age of fifty-five. As another plastic surgeon said, “I have never seen this before.”
According to my pre-surgery CT scan report, I did not have a deviated septum. I did have sinus polyps. The “standard of care” for that is a steroid nasal spray. However, since I had no symptoms and made no complaint, the standard of care would have been no treatment at all.
There is no logical explanation for what this doctor did.