Childhood Injury Leads to Nose Surgery Decades Later - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Childhood Injury Leads to Nose Surgery Decades Later

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Andy Golonka's childhood was like that of many.

He had a good group of friends. They had fun. But accidents happened.

"Me and my friends were messing around with a BB gun one night…One of them had loaded it, the other one didn't know and I scared them at the window and the other one picked it up, pumped it once and pulled the trigger…I felt it hit me in the face."

He adds, “Fortunately my friend's mom was a nurse, so she patched it all up and everything was fine. There's a dent in the cartilage, but I never gave it a second thought."

Andy thought the BB had just ricocheted off his nose. And life for the then 15-year-old went on as normal.

He grew up, moved out west, got married, started a family - and didn't give a second thought of that childhood mishap.

Until..."about two years ago, I started having issues breathing at night."

So he scheduled an appointment with Harvard Fellowship-trained rhinologist, Dr. Josh Meier of Nevada ENT and Hearing Associates.

"I'll have you open your mouth and say ‘ahh. Ahhh. (looks in nose) Let's take a look in there... good."

Dr. Meier first suspected Andy had a tumor in his left nostril and ordered a cat scan ahead of a biopsy, but he was shocked by what he saw.

"It (cat scan) was quite unusual because it mentioned he had a metallic foreign body in his nasal cavity."

"He said there was a piece of metal in your nose. And I was just, you know, perplexed a little bit."

But then it hit him. What happened more than three decades ago - could it be?

"It didn't occur to me at first because it had been 35 years! I always assumed the BB had just ricocheted."

The surgery took two hours. 

"I have not seen anything like this before."

He removed the inflammatory tissue before finding black puss.

"I was surprised that it was black. You don't see black in the nose very often. Because I think the iron from the BB was leeching into the macrofascias around it."

He was able to pull the pellet out - completely intact - about a centimeter in size!

As you can imagine, Andy breathes better now. And has even shared a few laughs about it, too.

"I sent him a Facebook message and said, 'Hey, do you remember when you guys shot me in the nose with a BB gun?' He said, 'Oh, I haven't thought about that in years. What brought that up?' I said, 'I had surgery today and had the BB removed, so...'" 

While this was a first for Dr. Meier, he's confident Andy's cured.

"Low chance of recurrence (laugh).” 

Andy says as soon as the bullet was removed from his nose, his quality of life significantly improved - especially his sleep.

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