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A New Chapter | Life After Nasal Reconstruction Surgery

Updated: Mar 22, 2021

{Warning - graphic content included}


As a facial plastic surgeon, I perform both cosmetic and reconstructive surgeries. In this role, I become deeply rooted in the stories of my patient’s lives. I often help them close one chapter so they can begin a new one. I do not take this privilege or responsibility lightly.

Basel Cell Carcinoma Tumor on Nose
Patient prior to cancerous tumor removal

When Donnie was referred to us in 2019, he was living with an aggressive basal cell carcinoma tumor at the tip of his nose. Not only was this condition detrimental to his health, but also his self-confidence. Like many people, fear kept Donnie from seeking treatment sooner. "I was afraid of surgery so I put it off," he admitted.

As with all of my patients, earning Donnie’s trust was a large part of his treatment plan. I often meet people who are understandably scared and overwhelmed by their diagnosis, but I assure them that it is my job to carry that burden and their job to heal. Like any surgery, facial reconstructive procedures can be intimidating, so I take as much time as necessary to make sure my patients feel heard, educated and supported through their entire journey.

Skin Cancer Removal - Basal Cell Carcinoma
Phase I - nose after cancer removal

In partnership with the oncology team, we formulated a plan to guarantee the safest and best possible outcome for Donnie. His treatment course consisted of three surgeries -- each spaced three weeks apart. The initial phase included full removal of his cancer, followed by a multi-step approach using a forehead flap technique and his own ear cartilage to rebuild his lost nose tissue. Each case was a team effort and was successful thanks to our skilled and dedicated surgical and clinical teams in and out of the OR.

Paramedian Forehead Flap Pedicle
Patient after stage 1 of reconstructive surgery

Donnie’s recovery spanned over a six month period, and much to his relief, was easier than he expected. “I was really afraid of the recovery and pain after surgery, but I didn't even need the pain pills. I was surprised at how little pain there was.” Post-op care is a critical part of the surgical process, so I always want my patients to feel as comfortable as possible to allow them to focus on quality rest and healing. For this reason, my team and I are always just a call or text away to answer any post-op questions.

Today Donnie is living cancer free as he begins a new chapter of life after reconstructive surgery. And in the process, I was fortunate to gain a friend in Donnie over our shared love for fun socks. Despite starting this journey in fear, he shared this sentiment at his most recent appointment: “I would definitely encourage anyone who is in my spot to go ahead and receive treatment, even if you're a little scared. Dr. Patel will take good care of you.” This vote of confidence is the greatest compliment I could ask for.

Check out this video to see Donnie's new nose (and our cool socks).

Follow along on Instagram where we share more inspiring stories, awesome before & after photos and an inside look at the world of cosmetic and reconstructive surgery.

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