Breathing Easier: Local doctor performs unusual surgery

Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 11:57 AM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - Let’s introduce Mark Weaver -- a South Bend man who recently had life-changing facial surgery.

He feels fantastic now, but that’s a big change from the recent past. Just over two years ago, Weaver noticed his nose was growing.

The tissue began to increase around his nasal passages and cartilage, which would then affect his breathing, physical appearance and the weight increase on the face. His condition is called Rhinophyma.

When Weaver needed anesthesia at a dental appointment, the dentist said that his nose was too big for the process to work. The dentist recommended he see facial cosmetic surgeon Dr. Ryan Diepenbrock (DDS, FAACS) to get some help.

Rhinophyma is a disfiguring condition that few surgeons can treat. Diepenbrock thought he could help.

“When Mr. Weaver came in, not only was there this outside appearance that he noticed and everyone else noticed but there were also some real significant physical problems that he had on the inside. Just weighed so much on the tip of his nose that it would collapse his nostrils,” he said.

The doctor noted Weaver’s difficulty sleeping.

“When he would lay down to sleep, he would completely shut off his breathing and he would have to breathe through his mouth,” he said. “He would constantly wake up. So just by the fact of lifting this massive weight off of his nose, he’s able to finally breathe in ways he hasn’t been able to breathe in years.”

The process is not a simple one.

“Essentially what we’re doing is removing the large box of tissue and then allowing the remaining healthy tissue to regrow. So, there’s a lot of very specific wound care that goes into this” Diepenbrock said.

Weaver wants people to know that help is out there for his kind of cases. He says that it’s important to find a doctor you trust and to trust they will do their job.

“Trust people that they know what to do for you and everything like that,” he told ABC21. “Get the information and get familiar with what affliction or whatever problem you’re having so that you have some knowledge to work with and can ask the right questions.”

Diepenbrock described this patient encounter as one of his top most rewarding cases he have ever done.

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