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Brief Communication
Mar/Apr 2013

The Man Who “Listened” to NosesA Past Artisan's Secret Revealed

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: McCollough Plastic Surgery Clinic, Gulf Shores, Alabama, and Clinical Professor of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of South Alabama, Mobile.

JAMA Facial Plast Surg. 2013;15(2):147-148. doi:10.1001/jamafacial.2013.225

In his day, Dr Ira Tresley was said to be “the master of the nose,” or so believed Dr Jack R. Anderson, one of Tresley's contemporaries and an accomplished nasal plastic surgeon in his own right. Though an extraordinary surgeon, Tresley was not a good communicator, and because he wrote no books or articles on rhinoplasty, much of his gift was buried with him. But for a few words spoken to a trusted colleague, the artisan's secret might have been lost to the ages.

As he had done on many occasions, Anderson took the overnight train from New Orleans, Louisiana, to Chicago, Illinois. His mission was to watch Tresley operate and to learn what he could by doing so. On this particular day, as he peered over Tresley's shoulder (observing a young girl's nose take on an enhanced appearance), he asked, “Ira, how did you know to do that last maneuver, and how do you know what to do next?” The answer—though it did not immediately come—was short and simple: “The nose talks to me,” Tresley said. “I listen, and it tells me what needs to be done.”

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