109-Year-Old Gets New Nose

"I must go down to the sea again," said 109 year old Meir Korner, after 60 years of sun at the Haifa beach led to a nose job at Rambam Hospital.

INN Staff , | updated: 14:54

Doctor and Patient
Doctor and Patient

Having lived through two world wars, endless historical events and 109 birthdays, Meir Korner learned, on his own flesh and blood, that there are new things under the sun. At his impressive age, Korner has received a new nose, after a tumor there necessitated amputation and immediate reconstruction with skin from his forehead.

It is hard to surprise 109-year old Haifa resident Meir Korner. After he beat the statistics with good health, a clear head and a great sense of humor, Korner, who was born in December 1901, knows how to prolong life.

Korner’s secret recipe is simple: do what makes you happy. He has a set daily routine that includes sleeping well, resting, reading, regular talks with the Almighty and the activity he most enjoys, going to the beach. For sixty years, Korner hasn’t missed his walk on the shore, where he meets friends and enjoys the sunshine.

Here enters the catch. A few months ago, Korner discovered a tumor that covered to some 50 percent of his nose. It appeared the growth was caused by sun exposure. Several weeks ago, Korner underwent an operation to remove the tumor, and reconstruct his nose. And so, at age 109, Meir Korner had a new nose created with his own forehead skin.

“In a very short period, Korner’s nose healed, and we are extremely satisfied with the results,” said Dr. Yitzchak Ramon, the senior member of the Department of Plastic Surgery who operated on Korner. “Since the operation involved immediate reconstruction after amputation, we could use the external skin from Korner’s original nose for the reconstruction. This greatly contributed to the fine aesthetic results. Nose reconstruction is a real challenge, yet just days after the operation, it looked like nothing happened to the patient’s nose.”

Rambam Hospital has extensive experience with these procedures, “forehead flap rhinoplasties”, which are performed mainly following amputations as a result of tumors. Rambam is the only hospital in Israel where this surgery is performed using local anesthesia, reducing operating time from two and a half hours to only one.

This process of nose reconstruction was already performed in 15th century India, mainly on those punished by nose amputation. The same practice, of taking a skin flap from the forehead to rebuild the nose, is still the basis of today’s procedure. First, forehead skin is cut on three sides except for a base along the eyebrows, which remains attached. The skin is then raised from the forehead and turned down to the direction of the damaged nose.

In a matter of a few weeks, the skin is absorbed in its new location on the nose, and the blood vessels in the nose stump supply blood. When the skin is completely absorbed, it can be cut from its base. Sometimes additional work is needed to give the nose a more natural appearance.

Meir Korner says he cannot resist the temptation, and waits to return to the sea. “The doctors say this happened because of the sun, but I don’t think I have to stop going to the beach,” he said. “I look and feel good because of the doctors and because I do what I love. The Almighty promised me many years on this earth, and the moment I can, I will return to the sea – with sunscreen.”