Is It Adviseable to Consider a Facelift with an Oculoplastic Surgeon?

Doctor Answers 19

Qualified oculoplastic surgeons who perform facelift surgery [with video]

Trust. It is the basis of why patients come to us as surgeons. This trust is undermined by putting self interest and political agendas before the interest of the patient. Many of the physicians answering this question are using fear and partial information to inspire fear rather than to inform. When physicians sling mud like politicians, the profession and more importantly, the patient suffers.

The question is “is it advisable to consider a facelift with an oculoplastic surgeon?” These colleagues quickly fired back with phrases about training and board certification without knowing anything about the Oculoplastic Surgeon in question. If one were to review malpractice cases and settlements, there would be no shortage of Board Certified Plastic Surgeons listed as defendants. Board Certification in any specialty means the doctor completed a residency and passed an examination. Board certification does not measure surgical skills, artistry, judgment and ethics.

As a practicing Oculofacial Plastic Surgeon in New York City for the past 15 years and as an instructor in Cosmetic Surgery, I would answer this question posed by this individual differently. “Is it advisable to consider a facelift with an oculoplastic surgeon?“ My answer is “It Depends”.

Cosmetic Surgery is not the exclusive domain of one specialty. Cosmetic Surgery is distinctly different from Plastic Surgery. Specialization and even super specialization has led to great advances in the disciplines of Cosmetic Surgery which everyone benefits from. One can argue that a 2 year hospital based residency (standard for Board certified Plastic Surgeons) with limited experience in Cosmetic Surgery is inadequate for the complexities and art of Cosmetic Surgery. This does not mean that the general Plastic Surgeon is not qualified to perform Cosmetic Surgery but rather like any surgeon, must focus on particular areas to achieve excellence.

The exposure during residency and fellowship varies between programs and when you think about it, no matter how many years of training a doctor has, it takes many years of practice before one becomes proficient in a specialty. What does it take to excel in Cosmetic Surgery? It takes a foundation of surgical experience combined with technical skills, aesthetic sense, judgment and ethics. Does one specialty have this combination exclusively? The answer is no. Physicians are individuals.

A local Board certified Plastic Surgeon who advertises heavily and performs high volume surgery has so many poor outcomes that he has a full time attorney to handle all the malpractice suits. I personally have revised many of his facelifts and eyelifts. Some facelifts were done so poorly that there was not enough skin for me to work with. Is it fair to now say that all Board certified Plastic Surgeons are just like him? No. On the other hand, I personally have witnessed excellent liposuction performed by Ob/Gyn doctors and excellent breast surgery by Ear, Nose & Throat doctors.

Why are these doctors exceptional at what they do? The answer is training, experience, technical skills and aesthetic/artistic vision and commitment to provide the highest level of care for their patients. Personally, as a facelift surgeon, I have been impressed by and learned much from 2 colleagues who do excellent facelift surgery who are Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons (original specialty – dentistry). The greatest contribution to the field of liposuction surgery was made by Jeffrey Klein, M.D. – a dermatologist.

Performing facelifts for the past 15 years, I have kept up with new developments in the field and have seen facelift surgery being routinely performed by general plastic surgeons, dermatologists, oral/maxillofacial surgeons, otolaryngologists, and yes oculoplastic surgeons. Inter specialty rivalry generates endless accusations of who has more experience during training and who is more familiar with an area of the human anatomy. Once again, patients become confused and judge physicians negatively as self serving.

Based on the answers to this question in this forum, a board certified plastic surgeon who graduated 1 week ago from a 2 year residency is more qualified than an otolaryngologist specializing in facelift surgery for 20 years. The logic used here is flawed and inflammatory. In fact, by the logic used in this forum, Oculoplastic Surgeons are more qualified to perform eyelid surgery then any other specialty. I doubt if these colleagues would stop doing blepharoplasties (eyelifts) for the good of their patients and refer these surgeries to their local Oculoplastic Surgeon.

Unfortunately, it comes down to money. One specialty believing another specialty will “steal” their patients and therefore their right to revenue. It is only beneficial to the consumer to have choices and for specialists to compete in a healthy way to deliver safer and satisfying results to their patients. Inter specialty respect and sharing of knowledge ultimately benefits both patients and physicians. The American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery exemplifies this value.

The question remains, how do you as a prospective patient make a decision on who to choose for your facelift? Ask questions and judge each doctor on their own merit. Here is a simple list of questions:

1. Do you do facelifts?

2. How frequently do you do facelifts?

3. Can you show me your before and after photos?

4. Where do you perform your surgery?

5. Is your facility accredited?

6. May I speak to or meet someone who you have performed facelift on?

Although this list is not all inclusive and patients usually ask me at least 20 more questions during consultation, you should get the “vibe” from the doctor and the office staff about the quality of work being done there. Speak to the administrative and medical staff at the office. If you have any concerns or reservations, ask questions until you are satisfied.

New York Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Oculolpastic surgeon for facelift

I would personally not consider having a facelift by anybody but a board certified plastic surgeon any more than I would have LASIK or surgery on the eye muscles (strabismus) with a plastic surgeon.

Many oculoplastic surgeons who specialize in cosmetic surgery of the eyes are very skilled in procedures around the eyes.

In the Los Angeles community, it is my opinion that an oculoplastic surgeon performing facelifts would generally considered to be outside their scope of practice.

Brent Moelleken, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 106 reviews

Oculoplastic surgeons are not trained or qualified to do facelifts

It is inappropriate for an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) to branch out and do facelifts, even minifacelifts. It just is not within the scope of their professional training. It would be equally abhorrent to them if I were proposing to take your eye lens out. The difference is that I would NEVER consider doing that, but then, why would they consider a facelift??

Ocuplastic Surgeons

While there are a number of skilled ocuplastic surgeons, you will need to determine if he/she has the requisite experience and skill to do a facelift.  Morover, his/her center needs to be setup for both the planned surgery and unplanned complications. If the reason that you are seeking an ocuplastic surgeon is fees then you should reconsider.  If you believe that an ocuplastic surgeon is the best surgeon for you then you should pursue it.

Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Plastic Surgery by Eye Doctors

Hi there-

You would never consider allowing an eye doctor to perform a heart operation on you, would you?

While this may be an extreme example with greater risks than a facelift, the principle is the same- an eye doctor (even one with an additional year of training in plastic surgery around the eye) is simply not trained to do this kind of surgery at the level that a surgeon certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery is.

Even if you argue that they did a few facelifts in their training (seems unlikely), this was under the supervision of (guess what) another eye doctor!

Even greater than the concern that I have over someone with inadequate training performing plastic surgery procedures on the public is the concern that in doing so they are informing us about their ethics and morals, and not to a positive conclusion.

Why would someone with training in ophthalmology and plastic surgery of the eye want to do a facelift?

Is it because they had a vision from God telling them they needed to take up the scalpel?

Let's be real- the only motivation possible is $$$

Furthermore, what does this interest in facelift surgery say about their abilities and reputation as eye doctors?

Are they not able to succeed as eye doctors, even though this was the primary focus of their training? What does this say about their ability to do a facelift on you- a procedure in which they have even less training?

Caveat Emptor (buyer beware).

Strongly recommend facial plastic or general plastic surgeon

On an individual basis, it is possible that an oculoplastic surgeon has had
extensive special training and experience in performing facelift surgery with
appropriate skill and finesse. However, facelift surgery is not considered
part of the training and experience of an oculoplastic surgeon (ophthalmologist).

Accordingly, most oculoplastic surgeons do not perform facelifts and they would
not feel comfortable attempting to do so. In selecting a surgeon for a particular
procedure, in your case a facelift, make sure that this surgeon is appropriately
credentialed, well-trained, experienced, and has a track record of successful
results with minimal problems.

If you search, you will find facelifts performed by some general practitioners, general surgeons, dermatologists, gynecologists and even some dentists. I am partial to my credentials, training, experience and expertise as a facial plastic surgeon. I would strongly recommend that you seek either a facial plastic surgeon or a general plastic surgeon with a good reputation and, again, a good track record.

Sigmund L. Sattenspiel, MD
Freehold Facial Plastic Surgeon

Facelift by an Oculoplastic Surgeon

Although unusual, it is possible for an oculoplastic sugeon to have excellent training in facelift surgery. Ask about that surgeon's training, experience in facelift procedures, and carefully look at pictures of multiple results. I truly believe in super-specialization. I don't want a surgeon who primarily does breast work to do my rhinoplasty, even if they are a board certified plastic surgeon. Proceed carefully.

Richard W. Fleming, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Facelift with an oculoplastic surgeon

Is it possible this surgery to be done by an oculoplastic surgeon? YES But it might be better to see an other type of plastic surgeon, like a board certified surgeon in plastic surgery as the more logical option.


Oculoplastic surgeons specialize in eye surgery

Oculoplastic surgeons specialize in surgeries pertaining to only the eyes, while facial plastic surgeons specialize in the face and neck. Look for a facial plastic cosmetic surgeon who has plenty of experience in performing facelifts and has before and after photos available for you to review.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Oculoplastic surgery is for eyes, not whole face

Oculoplastic surgeons have extensive specialty training in surgery around the eyes, but not the whole face. Plastic surgeons have specialty training in facial and body surgery, while facial plastic surgeons have training limited to the face and neck. What makes it confusing is that scope of practice is not limited by any regulations or certifications, so anyone can call themselves whatever they want as long as they have license to practice medicine. It's a good idea to check out their credentials with the American Board of Medical Specialties ( which will tell you what field they are certified in, if any.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.