“If Dr Convery can do this operation in a couple of hours, I don’t understand why the NHS can’t, or won’t, do it.”

 

Thomas Stevenson, 69, a retired driver who used to work at the petrochemical complex in Grangemouth, started developing Rhinophyma five years ago and, only this spring, has now undergone a procedure which has transformed his life.

 

His disfiguring condition, although it was accepted by friends and family, meant that for those five years he had to live with the awareness that people in the street were staring at him, causing him intense personal discomfort.

 

Rhinophyma is a very visible nasal deformity caused by the proliferation of sebaceous glands and underlying connective tissue, which affects mostly older white males. It leads to severe swelling, lumps and redness of the skin.

 

Thomas has now had a hugely successful laser excision operation carried out by aesthetic medicine specialist Dr Cormac Convery at Glasgow’s Ever Clinic and says that people he meets say the difference in his appearance is “amazing”.

 

He said: “It started five years ago and was diagnosed as Rosacea [a long-term skin condition which mainly affects the face]. I was given antibiotics to treat it, but the swelling on my nose just got bigger and bigger.

 

“After two years, I asked for help from the NHS, but by that time it was February 2020 – just at the start of the panic over Covid – and the hospitals everywhere were full, and dismissing non-urgent cases.

 

“I guess in relative terms I was lucky. My nostrils started closing up, but I didn’t have any real difficulty breathing. Of course, with any disfigurement, people stare. But the kids were the worst – they just can’t help being honest.”

 

Thomas said that those closest to him were sensitive, but that he couldn’t help but be aware of the effect his appearance had on others. “My grand-daughter was approaching her 18th birthday and I just knew she wouldn’t want me in the photographs,” he said.

 

He was referred to an outpatient clinic in April 2022, but no treatment was offered. He was placed on a list, but was told in August that year that NHS Lothian could not help him at that time.

 

In February this year, at another clinic, he was informed that no procedures for Rhinophyma were being offered. He would remain on a list, but no information was given about what time scales would be involved or if, indeed, treatment would ever be available.

 

“That was enough for me,” he said. “I had seen stories about Ever Clinic in the papers and I was given a slot for treatment in March – the following month. It was carried out by Dr Convery under local anaesthetic in just two hours. Now, I can get on with my life.”

 

Thomas said he fully understood the pressures facing the national service, but he struggles to comprehend why surgery of this nature is not available after people have waited for years and their condition has worsened to the point of being a danger to both physical and mental health.

 

“If Dr Convery can do this operation in a couple of hours, I don’t understand why the NHS can’t, or won’t, do it. It doesn’t seem honest, or fair. They see people who have had botched aesthetic treatments in places like Turkey and seem willing to fix these mistakes.

 

“I’m just happy I had it done. But if the NHS won’t help, perhaps they should consider referring people like me to professionals who can.”

 

Extreme Rhinophyma before and after results

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