by Emily Mae Czachor | Wed., Feb. 27, 2019 7:00 PM
The doctors met more than one inspiring patient during Wednesday's new Botched episode, starting with Ellen, a 47-year-old New Jersey resident and domestic violence survivor. As she explained to Drs. Nassif and Dubrow, Ellen moved out of her parents' house when she was just 14.
For the next half-decade, "I bounced around from one abusive boyfriend to another," she remembered. "One time my boyfriend, we were arguing, and he took me from the back of my head and smashed my face into a fish tank and the fish tank shattered."
Incidents like that were recurring and, on several occasions, ended in serious injury. Looking back, Ellen reasoned that her nose was probably broken "at least two times, maybe three" during those handful of years. Over time, her repeat nasal fractures lent themselves to deformities that would outlast her abusive relationships by almost three decades.
By her mid-20s, Ellen was single, jump starting her career and bravely taking steps to heal from past trauma. But remnants of the violence she endured during her formative years lingered, perhaps most noticeably in her own reflection.
"I began to really look at my nose in the mirror a lot," she said, explaining that the fractures left it looking crooked and misshapen. "It was such a reminder of my past and I wanted to erase it by any method possible."
So Ellen finally connected with a plastic surgeon. Frustratingly, she emerged from that initial surgery only to find its results underwhelming, at best. And after three revisions, she was more distressed by her appearance than before.
"There was literally no cartilage on either side of my nose. It was completely caved in," she told Drs. Nassif and Dubrow, adding that it "also feels like some of the cartilage in the bottom is trying to push through the skin."
After hearing Ellen's story, Dr. Nassif was eager to help. But he worried that poor circulation to her nose might render an additional surgery almost impossible, or at least too risky.
"Her blood supply is not great," he explained. "That just increases the risk of tip necrosis or tissue death at the time of another rhinoplasty. So that's obviously very scary."
Luckily, Dr. Nassif realized during Ellen's consultation that her nose was in better shape than he'd anticipated, and they decided to move forward with the procedure. Understandably, it was an emotional moment for both doctor and patient.
"My goal is to give her a nose that's not gonna remind her of any past trauma that she had," said Dr. Nassif ahead of the surgery.
And, as Ellen delivered a moving lecture raising awareness about domestic violence 12 weeks later—nose fully intact—it was clear he made good on those intentions.
"Thanks to Dr. Nassif, my nose is smooth, stable and straight," Ellen said. "I feel like my fight is finally over. And now I'm ready to help others break the cycle of abuse."
Dr. Dubrow took on a comparably meaningful case this week with Gaby, a former Marine whose relatively recent discharge had resurfaced a lifelong insecurity about her right breast. As the spunky Southern California native explained during Wednesday's episode, Gaby was born with a benign cyst in her right armpit.
Gaby's cyst was removed when she was around two months old, but the surgery in and of itself gave rise to a whole new set of medical issues that persisted well into her adulthood.
"When they went in and they removed that cyst, they also removed the breast tissue—the mammary tissue in the axillary area of my chest," Gaby told the camera before sitting down with the Botched doctors.
Because of that, her right breast never really developed. So, at 21, Gaby decided to go in for a breast augmentation.
"When I got out of surgery, I felt like I got butchered," she said. "It was devastating."
By the time she met Drs. Nassif and Dubrow, Gaby's breast situation was all over the place. In addition to their noticeable asymmetry, she revealed that her right nipple was also seriously displaced.
"Is that something that you hope will be fixed?" asked Dr. Dubrow.
"It would make me so happy, but at this point, I don't want to expect too much," she told him, adding, "But if you can do it, do it."
Dr. Dubrow was feeling apprehensive after Gaby's first consult, when he realized the surgery she underwent as an infant most likely led to permanent developmental complications.
"Gaby's lack of tissue and movable muscle makes it extremely difficult to give her a good symmetrical result," he said, before telling Gaby he anticipated offering her something like 70 percent improvement to her breasts.
"I have high hopes that he'll raise his GPA a little bit," Gaby laughed.
And she was right. When the bandages finally came off after surgery, her chest was good as new.
"Before my surgery, my breasts were completely lopsided. My nipples were facing everywhere," Gabby said. "But now thanks to Dr. Dubrow, I have symmetrical breasts with nipples facing the same direction. I feel like a unicorn!"
The doctors met one more patient during Wednesday's episode. Former supermodel Carmen Campuzano came all the way from Mexico City hoping Dr. Nassif might be able to do what a half dozen surgeons before him couldn't: Reconstruct her nose in the aftermath of two major accidents, both of which severely damaged parts of her face. The doctors were head over heels for Carmen's spunk and colorful spirit, but her medical needs were another story.
Watch Drs. Nassif and Dubrow deliver some heartbreaking news to Carmen in the full recap video above.
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