Eyelid Surgery Disaster - Please Read if Considering This Surgery - Calgary, AB

I had an eyelid infection that stretched out the...

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.


8. A lot of surgeons performing this surgery...

8. A lot of surgeons performing this surgery should not be because they do not seem to have a full understanding of how this area works. On my operation report one part stated 50% muscle removal from one portion of my eyelid. I was told after the fact that they did this so I would have a deep eyelid crease. Ok - I never wanted a deep eyelid crease and would prefer to have the muscle so my eyes could blink/close properly. Again this description was completely different than what was told to be during my pre-op. Make sure you go to someone who understands that leaving tissue/muscle/fat and having eyelids that function properly is more important than a "deep eyelid crease" or how a surgeon thinks an "eyelid" should look.

9. Be aware of template/cookie cutter surgeons. I would avoid at all costs. Everyone has different features and what looks good on one person will not look good on another person. Some surgeons believe that their "template" is "beautiful" and the ideal way a women eyelid should look. Guess what not everyone has the same idea of what is attractive - a surgeon should be trying to find your ideal not stamping his ideal permanently on your face. I tried so hard to avoid a template surgeon and would never believe that a nurse/surgeon would mislead me - after reading more reviews on real self I have found that I'm not the only patient who felt misled. This is why I would recommend contacting happy patients on realself who did not have a template look and finding out who their surgeon was and asking that surgeon if they could do the same thing for you. This might mean travel but if things go wrong you will be willing to travel anywhere to get it fixed.

10. When things go wrong and you are not happy - some surgeons don't really care - they have moved on to the next patient. You can see this on negative reviews on realself that you will be told "give it more time", "it looks really good", "you are impatient". I was told "maybe you will learn to like you're new look" - I didn't ask for a new look. You may also get blamed for the results - I was told that I asked for this or I should have provided better communication. The surgeon is the professional in this case and should know the steps to take - if I did something like this in my profession - I would be held responsible as it is my profession and I should know what questions to ask and how to communicate properly. Also, if you think you can get your money back - good luck!

11.

11. You can't get away from a it if it goes...

11. You can't get away from a it if it goes bad. Usually if something bad happens in your life you can take a vacation, it goes away, you forget about it, etc. If this surgery goes bad it stays with you - it follows you on vacation, goes with you to work, the mall, etc. Its there when you go to bed at night and there when you get up in the morning. Look at the negative reviews - its pure torture for the people that end up in this category.

12. All pre-op and post-op appointments should be with the surgeon. There is no excuse for a surgeon not to do this. If you find part of a pre-op or post-op is with an nurse and not the surgeon - go somewhere else. This causes communication issues and details get left out. It is more likely this is a template surgeon and a sign that the surgeon is more concerned with making money than patient satisfaction.

13. When the surgeon is marking where the incisions will be - ask to see where lines have been drawn. A lot of surgeons even want you to see to ensure you will be happy. I wish I did. You can make sure the new crease is where your old crease was. If the surgeon doesn't want to tell or show you - leave - even if you are seconds away from the surgery. I would rather be out the cost of the surgery than be where I am now.

13. Ask what they do for post-op. There are...

13. Ask what they do for post-op. There are surgeons that will call you at home to make sure you are alright and then have follow ups in person a day after; a week after; a month after; six months after, etc. These surgeons care about how the results are and how you feel about the results. If they don't do this, you don't go there for surgery.

14. Go to surgeons that try to offer non-surgical solutions first. I heard after that perhaps botox could have helped me by raising my eyebrows. I don't know if this would have worked for the long term but I could have tried with a surgeon and then said - yes this is how I want my eyelids to look - or no this is not what I want. It ensures you are on the same page and shows that the surgeon wants to get the best results for you. Someone who offers surgery in the first couple of minutes may not be the best choice.

Name not provided

Pros: None Cons: I no longer look like myself and look worse - at age 30 I don't think I will ever be able to "see" myself again. The shape of the "new eyelid" makes me look like I'm staring at people and sad/scared. I will never trust doctors, nurses, etc again. I have been left with visible scaring. I have trouble sleeping due to the fact that my eyes don't close at night. Its obvious I have had surgery and I have been left with a surgical look. Its impossible to reverse an aggressive surgery. I have put my entire life on hold and put my family through an incredible amount of stress. I don't like anyone near my face - this includes - dentists, eye doctors, hair dressers, etc and have canceled appointments. Running into people causes anxiety - they smile when they see me far away but when they get close the smile turns into a frown or look of confusion when they look at my eye area - not the "you look so well rested" I was told I would get. Every time I look in the mirror, I'm reminded about how I was misled and will never look like myself again because someone was more concerned about making $3,700 - but I'm sure they sleep good at night. Due to the fact that surgery described on the operation report differed from what was discussed, I would not recommend this office for any kind of surgery - this is so unethical. I wouldn't want anyone else to go through this.

1 out of 5 stars Overall rating
1 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
1 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
1 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
1 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
1 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
1 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
1 out of 5 stars Payment process
1 out of 5 stars Wait times
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Comments (4)

Can you post pictures?
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I am interested in having lower eye lid surgery in Calgary to remove and correct lower eye wrinkling and bags, are you willing to give the name of the surgeon who did this so I know to look somewhere else? Thanks.

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Dear Sarah,
I really relate to your story. I am in my mid-thirties and I had lower eyelid surgery to remove puffiness under my eyes. During my consultation I said that I didn't want a dramatic result, just an improvement. My doctor specifically said that the widely known negative outcome of lower lid surgery was overcorrection - removing too much fat resulting in hollowness. Because he told me about this negative result, he OBVIOUSLY knew what would happen from taking out too much fat.

After my procedure, while still in the recovery room, the doctor came to check on me. His exact words to me were, "I took out a lot of fat. I think you will be pleased with the results." My heart immediately sank and the panic started.

I watched my eyes carefully each day. For the first two weeks the swelling gave me false hope. At week three, my right lower lid sank down into the socket leaving me with a hound dog eye. The left eye is not as bad, but not great. The despair I feel each day is beyond words. I am still young and I can't imagine looking into the mirror for the next many decades and being reminded of this terrible assault that the doctor committed on my eyes. If his skills were so limited that he could ONLY perform aggressive surgery, the son of a b**** should have disclosed that to me. I would have gone elsewhere. Why go through the song and dance of discussing the dangers of the surgery if he had NO intention of avoiding those dangers?!? I felt comfortable with him specifically because he seemed well aware of how to avoid a negative outcome.

My best hope for the both of us is that techniques will improve over the years and we will someday have successful revisions. Maybe we can rejoin our lives sometime in our forties...or fifties.

You are in my thoughts and prayers.
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Hello Sarah,
I just read your post and would like to say how very sorry I am for what has happened to you. I can identify with everything you have said, except my surgery was a mid-face lift. I, like you, specified exactly what I wanted, said I did not want a cookie cutter approach and was assured that I would get exactly what I wanted, i.e. subtle look and not a "done" look. Like you when I looked in the mirror I was shocked and horrified by what I saw. I didn't recognize myself at all, I had cheeks that were so high they looked unnatural. I also tried to hide from friends and family, when I went out shopping I was filled with a constant anxiety incase I ran into anyone I knew. At work people laughed at me, sniggered behind my back, everyone knew I had had surgery, I was devastated. I had to leave my job. I have been into hospital for mental health issues, have a therapist, and am on anti-depressants, however, none of these things seem to help. Unrealistically, I long to go back to how I was. However, you don't have to go through these things. If you research the area you have posted on there is a lady called Vickissue who has dealt with a pretty bad experience regarding her eyes. She tirelessly researched for years to find a solution and now she looks beautiful. I suggest you contact her. If you cannot find her on here write to one of the moderators I am sure they will help you. You are only 30, you sound very intelligent and are very well written, don't give up there is hope out there and I know that you will find it. Good luck to you.
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