I had an eyelid infection that stretched out the skin on my upper eyelids. When I looked straight into the mirror there was no eyelid showing. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to tighten the skin and after two years decided that the only method that seemed guaranteed was to remove a small amount of skin so my eyelids would look like they did before I was sick. I researched a lot of reviews on Real Self and noticed that the majority of people who were upset/unsatisfied where those that did not have a conservative surgeon which resulted in a surgical look or the patient claimed that they no longer looked like themselves. I really wanted to make sure I did not end up in the same situation and only wanted a minor change so set out to find a surgeon that stressed conservatism.
During my pre-op with the surgeon, I stressed that I only wanted a minor change. He even asked "You don't want a full upper eyelid lift do you" and I replied "No, I'm only 30, I want this to be minor and I don't need that at my age". He stressed - minor skin removal, fat removal, conservative, etc - and claimed that no one has ever said the results were not conservative. One of the nurses even said that he performed fat grafting for patients that had been hollowed out from prior surgeries from other surgeons. I set my surgery date and was excited that my eyelids would go back to how they looked before and no one would know I had surgery.
I met with one of the nurses before the surgery to discuss the operation. I described a webpage I seen the night before with a surgeon showing before/after pics where everyone came out looking the same. She claimed that the surgeon did not use a "template/cookie cutter" approach because this was not an office that produced surgical looks. I looked at some before/after pics and saw that the patients had small eyelids coming out which suggested to me that the upper eyelid fold was still there and they did not have the surgical look. I was confident that I would have the surgery, post a positive review on realself and my eyelids would be back to normal. Before surgery I was nervous and the surgeon again reassured me that no one would even know that I had surgery and it would only be a minor skin/fat removal.
I avoided mirrors for 10 days - like reviewers on this page mentioned - and on day 10 put my contact lens in and nearly died. I did not recognize myself at all, my entire upper eyelid fold was completely removed (I had a very heavy and full upper eyelid fold before surgery). My eyes were also completely asymmetrical. I went to the surgeons office to discuss the results and met with a nurse who had not been there during any of meetings. I showed her a picture of myself a couple of years ago and asked what was happening. She replied that my entire upper eyelid fold was removed because that is how the doctor performed all his eyelid surgeries and they were all performed the same way - i.e. a cookie cutter, template approach. I cannot explain how shocked and devastated I was to hear that - I was told that they did not do that and that this would be conservative.
I still had hope that maybe this could turn out ok and perhaps I would recognize myself in a couple more weeks. After a couple more weeks, I still did not recognize myself and requested my operation report to figure out what had happened. Even though multiple times I was told "minor, minor, minor'. On my operation report, the pre-op discussion stated that the operation would remove "moderate fat, skin and muscle". At my age I did not need moderate skin, fat or muscle removal or my entire upper eyelid fold removed. My muscle and majority of the skin was perfectly fine and needed in order for my eye area to function properly. I was also never told "moderate" during any of my discussions. Second opinions also suggested that this was an aggressive surgery so it was not even moderate let alone minor.
As the weeks went by, my eyelids looked huge and started creeping up into the corner by my nose - i.e., A frame. My new eyelid crease was no where near where my old was. This was the exact surgical look that I had discussed at my pre-op that I did not want. I wanted to look like myself before the skin stretched out not some brand new look. I was left with big round eyes that make me look like I was staring, scared and sad. I do not recognize myself and look way worse after surgery than I did before. I have scars that go past my eyes towards my nose that creates a "sideways eyelid". I have a lump beside my right eye that is due to the stitching. By performing a "template" approach on my eyes - the same that would be used on a 60 year old woman - my eyes do not stay closed at night. This causes extreme discomfort and its hard to get a full nights sleep. I also suffer from dry eye, and my eyes hurt most of the time.
When I stated that I was told that they didn't produce "one type of eye", another nurse stated that this is true because they produce a "woman's eye", a "man's eye" and an "Asian eye". I was completed disgusted that this was used as an excuse. If you use a template approach that you think is "wonderful" then own up to it so patients are prepared or can ask further questions such as what does this template look like. One nurse suggested that I asked for this result - there was no way I would ask for a "Scared, sad, round eyed clown look". My favorite feature was my upper eyelid fold and there is no way I would want it removed. I only had the surgery to restore it and now it gone forever.
Comments I have received from people after the surgery: "Did you pay for that" "Most people look better after plastic surgery" "Shouldn't eyelids follow the shape of the eye" "I'm glad I never had plastic surgery and don't think I ever will" "This should be lesson to people to be happy with what nature gives them" "Don't worry guys date girls that have been disfigured in car accidents - so you will be able to find someone to date" "Remember what matters is what is inside - not outside" "You can find a good pair of glasses and wear those from now on - it hides most of it"
I feel like I was completely misled. If they used a template approach or were considering a moderate skin/fat/muscle removal - they should have been upfront and honest. I would have been able to protect myself.
If anyone is considering this surgery - PLEASE consider the following.
1. Contact someone who was dissatisfied with their results on realself and ask what they would do different. Sadly, most still visit this board trying to find a way to revise the mess they have been left with - even years after the fact. People who had bad results have researched this surgery, after the fact, trying to find ways to correct the damage done by the initial surgeon. They will be able to point out things you have not thought about or give you warnings that you might not pick up on during pre-ops
2. Do not believe everything your surgeon tells you - I completely believed the staff and now pay for it every day. When I read positive results on this website, what their surgeon told them is the same thing my surgeon told me. I would only go to surgeon where I could talk to past patients to make sure template approaches are not used and to make sure they are happy with the surgery. Before/after pictures posted on realself by real patients help - you can see how the results really are without worry that they have been photo shopped.
3. Consider traveling. If I could go back in time, I would definitely visit one of the surgeons who had amazing results I saw through pictures and patient reviews on surgery websites. The only reason I didn't go to them was because they were out of town and I was confident my surgeon produced the same type of results.
4. If this surgery goes bad and is aggressive - it is nearly impossible to correct and the damage that can be done to you mentally and physically is indescribable. Most patients on here that are unsatisfied have ended up on anti-depressants and are in therapy. When researching initially I thought this was strange, but when you can't recognize yourself anymore (and look worse) I can't really describe what that does to you especially knowing that its not going to get better and you can't get a revision to reverse an aggressive upper eyelid surgery.
5. If your surgeon/nurse spends the majority of his time talking about how great she/he is - leave. This should be about how she/he can make you happy and about the results you need.
6. Be careful with before/after pictures the surgeon shows you. The before/after pictures I had seen had patients smiling - (I learned that any smiling before/after pictures will make eyelids look smaller, cover up any hollowing or A frame deformity that might arise after surgery, and make it look like the patient has a full upper eyelid fold). Also, offices that don't want to show you a lot of pictures - odds are its because you will notice they use a template approach and they don't want you to figure it out.
7. Some surgeons believe an upper eyelid fold should be removed entirely - avoid these surgeons at all cost. From my research they don't really tell you this and sometimes mislead you - this is why I would have discussions with past patients OR only go to surgeons where I saw patients on real self that had there upper eyelid fold intact after surgery. It is hard when your favorite feature is removed from your face.