My Real Life Rhinoplasty

Real Life Rhinoplasty Story

(Excerpted from Dr. Peter Adamson’s book Fabulous Faces available on and edited for our blog. Names of individuals mentioned have been changed to protect their privacy.)

Arpi’s Real Life Rhinoplasty Story

We all shrink as we get older. It usually begins in our thirties, a little earlier than you’d expect. With advancing age, spinal tissue slowly compresses. The body seems to draw in upon itself. One part that never gets smaller is the nose. That’s what Arpi discovered, and here is her story.

Once a woman tells you her age, she’ll tell you anything. So here goes. I’m fifty-four—kind of late in the game for a nose job.

I have a degree in languages from the University of Toronto, and I taught high school French. Then I switched careers. I did industrial sales for five years, marketing, real estate. I reinvented myself several times job-wise because I’d stop working to raise my two daughters, and then I’d go back, depending on what their needs were. Certain periods of time were very crucial when they needed their mom around.

My older daughter is thirty, and my younger one is twenty-six. My older daughter was married in 2002 and my younger one three years later. So I’m done raising kids, and I have to say the empty nest is fabulous. I don’t know why everybody complains about an empty nest. I really enjoy the quiet. It gives me time to catch up on my reading, and I’ve started doing more volunteer work because I’ve got more time.

I’ve got an interesting ethnic background. I’m of Armenian parentage, born in Israel and educated in a French Catholic school. We came to Canada in 1965. In the 1960s, I was involved in protests and sit-ins and all that kind of stuff. I was a late developer, like 100 pounds— skinny, you might say. I could eat everything. That was my genetic predisposition through my father’s side. When I look back at the pictures, my nose wasn’t prominent because it wasn’t crooked, and it wasn’t huge because my eyes were large and so were my cheekbones. My bone structure was fine so that the face could carry the nose without giving me any angst. I never had any problems at that stage.

As I got into my thirties, I started noticing that my nose seemed to be getting bigger while the rest of the face was shrinking. I never felt insecure or bothered because I’ve always gotten positive feedback from those around me.

My husband always tells me I’m beautiful, and when I told him I wanted to get my nose done, he told me I was nuts. He said, “Why? You’re beautiful!” So he never saw it.

And the other reason I’d never had the operation done until now was that it was just never a priority for me. My priorities were getting my degree, then having a happy, healthy family. It seemed like kind of a frivolous thing to do.

I don’t know if it was gravity or not, but the tip was leaning down and it looked like it had shifted to one side. The tip was quite bulbous, and it bothered the heck out of me. I’m quite keen on proportion and I like beautiful things, and, as far as I was concerned, the rest of my face met my criteria of what beautiful is—but the nose didn’t at this point.

My youngest daughter was about to be married, and I thought, “I’m not going to be hiding from the camera, and I’m not going to be telling the photographer, ‘Don’t take profiles, just frontals, no profiles.’” I didn’t like feeling like that, and that made me feel defensive, as if I were apologizing and protecting something. I thought, “Why am I wasting all this mental energy on something that shouldn’t be so important?”

I told my husband that it was really starting to bother me. He asked, “Why at this stage? You’ve lived with it all your life, why now?”

I said, “I don’t know, but right now, at this time in my life, it’s really bothering me.” The minute I said it was really bothering me, he supported my decision to go ahead.

I did quite a bit of research on the Internet, and that’s how I discovered Dr. Adamson. I did a thorough background check on him. Probably the only thing I couldn’t figure out was what he’d had for breakfast that day.

I learned what the surgery entailed because I thought that if something went wrong—God forbid—and I ended up dying on the surgical table, I thought that would be really stupid. If I were going to die, there had better be a better reason than because of a stupid nose, right?

I went to Dr. Adamson and I didn’t say to him, “Give me some movie star’s nose.” I told him that, at the end of it, after I went down under the knife, I wanted to make sure that it was still me I saw. I didn’t want to see somebody else, or somebody else’s nose on my face. I wanted it to still be my nose.

I told him to give me a nose that would be in proportion to my face, and he said, “Those are the only kind I do.” And that’s exactly what he gave me. I feel like I should have been born with this nose instead of the one I had.

And what’s funny is that he told me, “Once you have your nose done, people won’t know.” He said, “They won’t see any difference in you.”

I had a thorough physical checkup beforehand, including my heart because I used to have a bit of arrhythmia. My family doctor told me not to worry, that I was an excellent candidate for surgery.

As for the surgery itself, I wasn’t miserable. It was more discomfort than pain. I wasn’t able to open my mouth, so I was drinking through a straw. They gave me Tylenol 3s, and I rarely take any medication, so after taking one of those pills, I was out of it.

I had been under the anesthesia a bit more than three hours, so I was drinking lots of liquids to flush the whole thing out of my system. I’d say the reason I didn’t have such a bad aftereffect was that I did a lot of prep work beforehand. Mentally, I was ready to see my face all really beaten up.

On days two and three, I swelled up something terrible. I was black and blue all the way down my neck.

After the third day, the swelling went down. My eyes opened up, and the black and blue was turning into green and yellow. I worried that, because I’m older, I might be left with sagging skin because of all that bloating and bruising. Dr. Adamson assured me that this wasn’t going to happen, and it didn’t. After five months, it’s fabulous. There’s still a little swelling at the tip of my nose, but that’s coming down.

This has been very positive for me. I was surprised at how positive. People come up to me and, when they haven’t seen me, they say, “Oh, did you just get back from vacation?” They don’t even notice that it’s the nose. Or they say, “Have you had your eyes done?” because it’s made my eyes pop out more, whereas before the focus was on my nose, dragging down my face.

When you look at a face, the nose is the great prominent feature, but you really don’t want it to be the first thing you notice; you want the eyes to be the first thing you see when you look at someone. But I also think that it’s not so much for the people around you—it’s about you and about how you see yourself. I think that’s what it’s all about.

A couple of people have come up to me and said, “Arpi, did you have your nose done?” These are the perceptive people. I tell them I did. It’s not something I hide or am ashamed of. Au contraire—I tell everybody about it.

Even though my husband has always told me I was beautiful and all that kind of stuff, the other day we were relaxing and he was looking at me in profile and said, “You know what? There is a difference.”

And I said, “I told you, but you never saw it until I pointed it out to you.”

The wedding pictures came back, and they look great. I’m thrilled with my results.

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