For Dr. Jon Turk, there is gratification to be found in every transformation he has the privilege of having a hand in. Even so, there are some cases that stand out in his memory for one reason or another. The incredible tale of Emily Reed is one such case.
If you are familiar with the popular television programs Cashmere Mafia or Law and Order: Criminal Intent, there is a good chance that you have seen Emily Reed in action. The raven-haired beauty has appeared in these and other programs, her soulful eyes and exquisite features demanding the attention of viewers.
What you probably don’t know and would never guess is that ten years ago, she was involved in a serious car accident that made her nearly unrecognizable. When the taxi in which she was riding collided with an oncoming vehicle, she flew face first into the Plexiglas divider separating her from the driver. Her nose was essentially destroyed, and the skin extending from her right nostril to the corner of her left upper lip was split open.
During the chaotic month that followed, she had little in the way of luck with the attempts of doctors to reconstruct her nose. A reference to a reconstructive ENT specialist proved not to be fruitful, as all he was able to do was remove pieces of floating cartilage from the nose. Her first stroke of good fortune came when she met Dr. Turk, “the first surgeon we’d met who appeared to care about getting me back to that girl” - the girl whose pre-injury pictures he was presented with during their initial meeting.
As he would with any patient, Dr. Turk customized a facial plastic surgery plan to Emily’s unique - in this case, highly unique - needs. Unfortunately for Emily, who was understandably eager to restore her features, this meant that her collapsed left nostril had to be re-opened before the reconstruction of her nose could take place - and the nostril correction could not take place until the swelling of her nose had subsided. Conservatively, this placed her reconstructive rhinoplasty at a year out.
Re-opening the Nostril
The surgical re-opening of the nostril was a delicate procedure that involved tremendous precision. Dr. Turk made incisions in the nostril area to create a passageway, and then constructed a support structure from cartilage removed from Emily’s ear. A week later, he inserted a plastic tube in the nostril to ensure that the rebuilt passageway remained open. While Emily had to endure substantial pain (particularly in the back of the ear, where the cartilage had been removed, as well as emotional turmoil, the creation of a new nostril passageway was a success, and the nasal reconstruction was able to proceed in six months as hoped.
Reconstruction of the Nose
The reconstruction of Emily’s nose could not be accomplished with natural tissues alone. Dr. Turk was able to rebuild the columella (the flap of skin separating the nostrils) with loose cartilage he found remaining in the nose; however, the bridge was rebuilt using a Gore-Tex implant. While this helped to re-elevate the nose, he had to remove cheekbone tissue in order to produce the most natural-looking results possible. Through the reshaping of the cheekbones, the nose would appear to rise at an appropriate angle from the face.
Ten Years Later
Ten years later, Emily is active and healthy, happily married and grateful to have emerged from her accident with her inner beauty intact and her external beauty restored. She has shared her experience, including her surgeries at the Manhattan facial reconstruction practice of Dr. Turk, online at www.august3-2003.com.
“Truthfully,” she wrote, “he worked a miracle on me. You can see from the pictures that I should have never looked normal again. He not only gave me normal, he gave me stunning.”