My Lower Transconjuctival Blepharoplasty + Fat Grafting on Cheeks (2 Months Post Op) - Beverly Hills, CA
The bags under my eyes are genetic and have...
- 3 Jul 2012
The bags under my eyes are genetic and have bothered me since I was a kid. I researched endlessly on ways to treat the bags non-surgically. Sometimes the teabags, hemorrhoid cream, ice etc. would help, but mostly they made no difference at all. The bags were just part of the ‘design’ of my face…but I felt so haggard that I was actually embarrassed to meet new people. I’m only 30, mind.
I would cover my bags up with my fingers and look in the mirror thinking “If only!”
I’m no supermodel, but the bags really were not doing my looks any favors. As I read into blepharoplasty over the years I began to worry that if I waited too much longer I would lose elasticity under my eyes and instead of just removing the fat they would have to trim excess skin, too. I buckled down and save up for the surgery which took me about a year.
I have to admit I’ve always been afraid of plastic surgery. I work in Hollywood and have seen some pretty gnarly looking results. I read about the procedure as much as I could including the risks, but I also looked at a lot of wonderful before and after photos that got me very excited!
After researching different types of blepharoplasty I thought the transconjuctival approach was a good option for me. I liked that it left no visible scars. I attempted to schedule a consultation but the person at this place (whose name I forget) was so rude that I was put off for awhile. I tried another place and they were much friendlier, so I scheduled the consultation.
I went to a center that has several surgeons working out of it. It is like a facility surgeons use outside of their normal offices for additional patients (with a full staff/medical/surgical assistants).
The surgeon I was assigned (Dr. Stafford) knew exactly what I was there for when she saw me and recommended the exact procedure that my own research had led me to without me mentioning it. She showed me some before and after photos of her patients who had undergone the procedure. She explained the anatomy of my bags so that I understood what needed to be done to correct them. She told me that on top of removing the fat from under my eyes, she would take some fat from my belly and graft it into my cheeks/undereyes so that I was not left looking hollow. In addition to smoothing you out, the fat grafts acts as support for your lower eyelids. This would require a small incision in each cheek, but that was ok with me. Normally this is an additional procedure with additional costs, but she said this is just how she personally likes to do all of her blepharoplasties to ensure her patients satisfaction and she did not consider it an additional procedure.
I left feeling excited, but nervous still. I had sort of frozen up and didn’t really ask enough questions, but that was all my fault. I let a week pass, discussed it with my husband. Learning that they only took cash made him suspicious so he visited the office to make sure it didn’t appear to be a scam of any sort. What won me over in the end was what mattered: the surgeon. I called to set a date and would have the surgery in about 2 months.
The day of the surgery felt unreal! I was in pre-op in my robe etc. with an IV in my arm and the next thing I knew I was in the surgery room being strapped into place. The anesthesiologist was making small talk with me, and I remember feeling a tiny bit sleepy …and the next thing I recall is waking up in a bed, very cold with a sore throat and a lot of pain around my eyes. I had a respirator on, too. I think the cold was just my body being “in “shock”. They put a heater near me and gave me blanets.
It all made sense, but I had not expected these things. I asked the nurses why my right eye hurt more and they snapped “Well you just had surgery!”. I realized later they were cranky with me because when I was “out of it” I tried to fight them. Oops. I wish I’d known that while I was still there so I could apologize!
Anyway, I felt like I was going to vomit, but they treated that quickly with some anti nausea medicine. They told me I was going to feel this way all day so I may as well go home. They sent me off with anti-biotics, pain medicine (vicodin) and a list of things to pick up along with instructions on how to keep my eyes clean and on the proper healing path. My husband carried me to our car, stopped by the store to get eye patches, overnight eye-gel, soups, arnica and bromelian per my surgeon’s instructions.
I slept most of the first day due to the anesthesia.
When I cleaned out my eyes (removing crusties from the gels and my eye’s wound secretions) I saw that my right eye was looking really scary. Both eyes were swollen and bruised, of course, but the right eye looked mangled. The inside of my lower eyelid was pushing upward onto my eyeball and out onto my face! I was horrifed. It looked as though the lining of my lower eye lid (lashline) had turned to mush. I learned later it had NOT, but that is how it looked. Basically, my anatomy was hard to follow and I was very scared. My husband explained the surgeon told him about it and told him not to worry, it would settle.
I experienced a lot of anxiety not really understanding what was going on but tried to just rest rest rest and not panic. I went back 5 days later to have the stitches removed from my cheeks. My eye was still looking scary and hurting a lot. The other eye was swollen and bruised but looking pretty good ? The surgeon tried to snip some of the stuff popping out (some of it was my inner lid, some was just mucous type stuff, like a huge eye-booger) but it hurt. My eye got really gnarly and red for a couple of days.
It hurt to blink because the mush was rubbing up and down on my eye every time I did. I left it closed as much as possible and that helped a lot.
I slept with special dry eye overnight gel so when I woke up my eyes were glued shut. I washed them with warm water but the crust was causing me to yank at the sore eye a lot. I cut off my eyelashes and that helped, but it added to my crooked appearance. But that’s just hair, it comes back ? DON”T FORGET THE OVERNIGHT GEL for the first 2 weeks or so, otherwise you will have very itchy eyes all day!
After about 7 days the mushy bits were no longer hanging out of my eye, just resting on my eyeball. Still very irritating to my eye. But! I could see my lower lashline for the first time and felt huge relief to see it was in tact!
My surgeon started me on steroid drops around 8 days in to help with the swelling. It seems to have helped but my I still had a lot of pain, redness and stuff popping out of my eye. My skin felt almost sun burnt. I was swollen differently all over so I looked crooked. I found out this was all normal, but these are the things I FAILED TO ASK ABOUT beforehand. I just thought I’d be bruised for a couple of weeks and that would be it, but it turns out the fat grafts would settle in 3-4 months, so I could expect to by assymetrical for as long. The right eye complication was another thing that we just needed to wait and see.
I went back to work wearing a makeshift eye patch in 9 days. Moving around a lot, I began to notice other symptoms ie stiffness in rotating my right eye and double vision when I looked to the far left. I became terrified, cried and felt serious remorse. I tried not to cry because I didn’t want to upset my eyes, so in an ironic way the complications helped keep my emotions under control!
I continued to work closely with the surgeon who was baffled, really. This had never happened to her before. The parts of my eye that were being affected were not near the areas that she’d cut, so she believed the issues were simply from the trauma of my severe swelling.
Every day the ‘mush’ went down a tiny bit. By day 12 or so the mucous was no longer visible but when my lower lid was pulled down it was still a gorey mess down there.
When she stopped the steroid drops (I took them @ 2 weeks) the feeling of my skin being sun-burnt went away. My surgeon told me to excercies my eye muscles by looking toward the area where I had double vision and to gently massage under my eye.
I did everything she told me and low and behold, week by week my eye seemed to be opening up.
So the improvement was noticable daily for about 3 weeks, then it became noticable weekly basis.
The fat grafts started to de-flate and feel much less sore about 6 weeks in.
I am at the 2 month mark.
I still have a little bit of bruising. Brown mostly, but even still a little black and blue. Crazy, huh? I also still have a teeny bit of swelling under one eye.
I’m happy to say the double vision is almost totally gone (PHEW!!!)
And I have no bags
This center is like a broker almost, and several doctors seem to sort of 'rent out' this facility and it's medical assistants. The one and only complaint I have has nothing to do with the doctor or services, but the fact that they ONLY accept cash payment. No checks, debit or credit cards.