Lower Transconjunctival Blepharoplasty- Great Success! -Golden, CO

I'm a 31 year old female and have had big puffy...

I'm a 31 year old female and have had big puffy eyelids my entire life. People were always telling me I looked tired and rundown (which is so rude anyways, who does that). I know this is all due to the big bags under my eyes, they actually created a shadow that looked like dark circles, imagine my surprise the day I figured out my dark circles were just shadows. I've wanted to do a blepharoplasty for years, and finally went for it. I'm so glad I did.

I had been looking at this website a lot before surgery I noticed there aren't a lot of reviews on here for lower only surgeries, so I opted to post a review about my experience in hopes to help anyone else out there not doing the uppers because I think just doing the lowers is a much easier surgery with far less healing issues. I don't know about you, but a lot of the reviews freaked me out a little and made me second guess if I should go through with my surgery, but after talking to the nurse about it in my pre-op appointment she helped explain that the lower only is much less invasive and not to worry. She was so right.

I went into this surgery with realistic expectations, I knew I would look like someone jumped me and hit me in the eyes with a baseball bat for a couple weeks after surgery. I think it is really important to realize that you will look crazy for a while after surgery and the results can take months to show up. We all secretly wish for overnight results but this is surgery, not botox. In my opinion, having healthy expectations going in will make or break your post-surgical experience.

Pre-op:
I highly recommend buying two of these eyemasks before your surgery, the one they give you at the doctor is okay but this one is amazing. Get two so you can always have one in the freezer:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001HTYJLO/ref=oh_details_o01_s01_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I rounded up all the pillows I could find and created a little nest on my bed the morning of surgery. If you have a pregnancy pillow (or a friend who has one) I recommend using it to prop yourself up in bed. I had books, electronics, medications, water, etc all on the bed too, so all I had to do was get in bed once I got home from surgery.

Surgery:
My surgery was yesterday afternoon (April 8, 2013) and it went great. I was really nervous about general anesthesia, I've only ever had a c-section so I'd never gone under before. Fortunately the entire staff was amazing and the Anesthesiologist put me at ease and answered all my ridiculous panicked questions. I just remember shutting my eyes after getting the anesthesia and then waking up and the surgery being all done. The most painful thing for me was my throat from the breathing tube, it took a while to be able to swallow and speak.

Random tip:
Be sure to tell the nurse in your pre-op appointment if you have a tendency to get motion sickness and nausea easily, they gave me two different medications to prevent the post-op nausea that is so common and the Anesthesiologist also gave me something during the surgery. I live over an hour away from the surgical center up windy mountain roads and I didn't get nauseous at all.

Day after
I feel great. I've been icing on and off and taking the pain meds but I really don't feel bad at all. My eyes are swollen and a little bruised but not as bad as I was expecting. I think it looks better like this than I did before surgery!


I'm really looking forward to seeing the *new me* once the swelling and bruising goes down. I'll post updated pictures as time goes on, if you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask! So happy with the procedure and grateful to Dr. Steven Vath and the entire staff at the Center for Cosmetic Surgery in Golden, CO.

Day 2 post-op The swelling is definitely intense...

Day 2 post-op
The swelling is definitely intense today, but the bruising still isn't bad. I've been using topical Arnica gel and it seems to be helping. I've used topical Arnica for a couple years on bruises and it really seems to help so I figured I'd try it under my eyes. The pain has been really low so I switched to Tylenol today and retired the Percocet. The worst part of all of this, besides the swelling, is having to sleep propped up! I have not been sleeping well, but I'm hoping I'll get use to it.

Day 3 post-op Oh boy! I decided to take Percocet...

Day 3 post-op
Oh boy! I decided to take Percocet last night to help me sleep and I woke up feeling wrong and hungover. Maybe I didn't eat enough last night, but today I've felt pretty woozy and weak all day. The bruising is a little worse and the swelling is the same as yesterday, but overall it doesn't seem too bad. I was trying to not take any pain meds today but have a splitting headache behind the eyes so I took some Tylenol, although it isn't working. I think I just really need a nice big latte! Who wants to deliver one? I was hoping to get outside today and take a walk, but I'm afraid I'm too weak so I'll just watch terrible daytime TV and wish for coffee deliveries. I'm still so glad I had this procedure done. I can't wait for people to tell me I look rested (instead of tired). I've heard that days 2 and 3 are the worst, so if this is as bad as it is going to get I feel truly blessed.

Day 4 post-op Swelling is down to the point where...

Day 4 post-op
Swelling is down to the point where I feel comfortable heading out into public again. I put some makeup on and feel like the bruises just look like dark circles. They feel a little heavy but otherwise I feel back to normal. It was nice to get out and back to normal life, now I just can't wait to run and lift weights again! I'll post another follow up next week after my post-op appointment. I'm always happy to answer any questions if anyone has one.

I've been slacking on an update! I went for my...

I've been slacking on an update! I went for my first post-op a couple of weeks ago and it was like a five minute chat with one of the nurses. I live 80 miles away from their office so it was sort of annoying since I wasn't having any complications, but it gave me an excuse to go to "the city". Everything was looking good- I was still swollen although it wasn't noticeable to anyone who didn't know I'd had surgery. All the bruising was gone. I'm now a month out and some days I have little eye bags and some days I don't. I think it is all diet/sleep/exercise related. I feel like I have slight dark circles under my eyes but I'm not sure if that is just my imagination or if I really do- depends on the lighting. I'm still happy with the results. I have to keep reminding myself that it takes a couple months or more before everything is really healed so anytime I start to panic because of a puffy looking eye bag or dark circle I just walk away from the mirror. It is a pretty good strategy :)

Post-op visit with the Doc

A couple weeks ago I went in for my first post-op with the Doctor.  At first he said I still had some bags and we might need to consider a second surgery (is that cost included with the first surgery? ha ha I doubt it).  But after talking for a while he thinks it is actually just swelling since some days I seem to have bags (much smaller than pre-op) and some days I don't have any.  My body has always been ridiculously sensitive and gets puffy really easily, super annoying trait.  He said he took a lot of excess fat out during the surgery so he would be pretty surprised if I needed more taken out.  Honestly I'm not sure I'd do another surgery if it turns out I could use one; the bags right now are so much less obvious and I'd hate to risk taking too much fat out and then being stuck with a skeletor look, especially as I get older.  I have small bags today as you can see in the pics.  I go in again at the end of summer for another post-op Doc visit so we shall see if the little bags that come and go finally leave forever.  Still happy to have done the surgery!

2.5 months out- feeling good

Happy to report that my little eye bags are most definitely just swelling, they are pretty much gone (but show up if I eat too much salt, drink alcohol, go to bed late, etc- they are like a nagging mother calling me out whenever I do something I shouldn't...how nice).  I don't have a picture- I'm having technology issues.  The other day I was in this freak accident where one of those giant umbrellas at an outdoor restaurant got blown right into my face from a huge burst of wind and the big pole/stand part of it whacked me in the eye before knocking my water into my lap and giving me a lovely just peed your pants look.  I was so worried it had hit my eyebag area and done something catastrophic/ruining the surgery results but fortunately it just hit me on my eyebrow and forehead so just some bruises and pain.

No one seems to notice a difference.  My friends and family who knew I did it claim they never noticed the bags before so they don't really see a change (liars).  No one has told me I look tired, which is THE BEST!  I have my big post-op in September so I'll try to get copies of the before and after pics (haven't taken the after pics yet) to post. 

Final post-op visit, still have small bags

I had my final Dr. visit last week. I still have small bags, I can't tell if they are the same everyday or if they get bigger and smaller depending on the day. My Dr. said that technically I don't have bags, that the eyebag is actually flush with my cheek, but rather the trough is the problem. He mentioned that you can surgically add fat to the trough but that it is risky. I inquired a little about filler in the trough but ultimately I don't really know if I care enough to really look into any additional treatments. At the end of the day the bags are much smaller and less noticeable. I certainly still focus on them when I see a picture of myself, but I think I will always be hyper-aware of my under eye area. Down the road I might revisit trying filler in the trough but at this point I'm going to take a step back and let it ride and see how I feel. I've included a picture that I just took so you can see the smaller bag.

I am happy with the final results either way. I didn't really know what to expect or if the bags would be totally gone. I think I look a lot better, and I feel a lot better. I'm glad I did it. If the bags change at all I'll be sure to update :)

Vindication

I have a friend visiting who hasn't seen me since before the surgery and she said she can really tell the difference. Although I've said I'm happy I did the surgery I have sometimes felt like I was crazy because no one would acknowledge any difference. She has known me most my life and said she could tell and that the bags were gone. Just wanted to share because I know I'm not the only one who feels like everyone thinks your crazy for getting such a subtle surgery.

Irritated

This weekend I ran a huge running race and also camped, only to wake up to some pretty significant bags the next morning. Granted I'd just put my body through five hours of hell and then slept poorly on an uneven surface, but it was pretty heart-breaking when I woke up and felt like I had huge bags. They did sloooooowly go away over the course of the day, but since I'm so self-conscious about it I feel like I spent to much energy worrying about it. I guess this is just how it is going to be? Today everything is settling down but I'm again hyper-focused on the bag area every time I'm around a mirror. I wish I could just let it go and be content!

Is it just me?

Lower bleph ladies and gents- I'm now 6 months out and I've noticed when I spend a lot of time on the computer or reading I feel a slight strain in my lower eyelid area. Anyone else experience this? Maybe I'm imagining it.

I still have small bags, and at 6 months out I'm guessing they are here to stay. I guess technically they are not really bags, but a result of my tear trough, but they still annoy me. I'm trying to find a good pre-op pic so I can do a side by side comparison and post it here. I'm hopeful that by the time I'm a year post-op the appearance of small bags will be smaller, or I'll realize I'm nuts and that I'm just seeing things :)

Old pre-op pics, new post-op pics

Alright when I look at pictures from when I was a kid or a few years ago I can see a huge difference with how my eyes look.  Even when I see the small bags post-op they look so much better than those big ol' pre-op extra baggage bags.

I cropped the hell out of these since other people were in the original pics- hopefully this works and you can see.  The B&W pic is from when I was in probably 6th grade and isn't the best quality, but you can see those hereditary bags.  The other two are from four years ago on a very puffy day.

I just took the rest of the pictures.  Today I feel like I have no bags.  I'm not sure when, but I feel like at some point in the last few weeks the small bags went away.  I still think I get a little puffy from time to time but I'm starting to realize that maybe they are the kind of bags "normal" people have- the ones that are a result of too much salt, not enough sleep, etc.  I've been drinking a TON of water the last few weeks for a RealSelf experiment (I'll post info about that later) and I think this might be a part of why the bags seem to be totally gone.  I've ordered this eye cream I use to use that has arnica and vitamin k in it so I'm eager for it to arrive to see if it helps at all on the puffy days.  All those products made for eye bags that never worked before probably work now! 

One year later

I just put this in the one year anniversary forum and thought I'd add it to my review too- I can't believe how fast time flies!

I just realized I'm over a year post-op. Overall I am happy with my results. They are honestly not what I expected. I still have smallish bags, or maybe just a really visible tear trough. Either way, I feel like my expectations were off as to what I'd look like post-op. Having said that, I know I look so much better than I did pre-op. I have to remind myself sometimes because I'm so critical of the outcome. If I could do it over I'm not sure if I would change anything since I had zero complications. I'm worried about the bags coming back, I have heard that over time more fat bulges under your eyes. Only time will tell I guess!

Year post-op pic

Here is the picture I was waiting for on the cloud.  To me it still looks like I have small bags because of the tear trough.  I broke down and bought some dermablend brand concealer so I'm trying that out to see if that makes a difference at all.  I normally don't wear makeup but I guess I'm at that age where makeup is more for just trying to look human again- LOL.

Denver Plastic Surgeon

I did extensive research on surgeons in Colorado with advanced facial surgery training and certifications. I was very impressed by this medical group (The Center for Cosmetic Surgery).

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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U r welcome ... You look awesome with or without makeup but I totally understood how you feel , maybe it will eventually go away ... I'm so happy for you
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Thank you for documenting your experience! I'm your age and have struggled with the same under eye bags since childhood. It's nice to read about a fellow "younger" person experiencing this annoying problem. Your results look fantastic and I feel/hope mine will be similar! I'm still confused as to what contributed to your sometimes existent bags: troughs vs. excess fat. If you had it to do over again, would you have more or less fat removed during the initial surgery?
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I can completely empathize with you- eyebags when you are young seem so obvious because no one else has them!  My tear trough is solely responsible for the post-op "bag".  My tear trough is really thin and close to the bone so it is like an indentation.  The fat above and below the trough are completely level- there is no longer a big saggy bag of fat.  Going into surgery I didn't know that this was the case so I didn't realize I'd still have that dark line- I assumed everything would be perfect.  But if I could do it over again I absolutely would- although I might have looked into having some fat grafted to the tear trough.  Hope that helps.
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Facial exercises are the best option you can find to keep your eye bags under control. Comitment is key but for sure, within weeks/ months, you'll see great results!
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Can you elaborate on what kinds of movements for the eye bag area? At this point Im willing to add it to my ice packs/elevated pillows/lots of water routine!
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There are many different eye exercises to tighten up the skin and soften/erase wrinkles and remove the puffiness. the exercise will work as long as it targets the muscles around the eye. For example, one exercise: Hold the skin on the lower eyelid with your middle and/or index fingers and pull it just a bit downwards. Now try to move upward your bottom eyelid, that is againt the resistance created with your fingers. Tapping is another technique which is quite effective too. Another exercise which would help reducing crow's feet as well: place your fingers on your temples/ over the crow's feet and tighten the skin, squeeze your eyes closed as tightly as you can. hold a few seconds and open your eye again as wide as you can. and Repeat. You can perfom these exercises in the morning or night, whenever you want, but be careful, not to overdo the exercises, the muscles need time to recover as well. There are many free exercises on the net, google it, and you'll find many different options. Face exercises, if performed correctly, do really wonders over the time. Deborah Crowley, Eva Fraser, Tom Hagerty, Carole Maggio, Caroline from Facial Fitness, and many more... Check them out. On their website, you'll find a lot of info, exercises and many testimonials with before and after pictures of their journey with amazing results.
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My surgery is scheduled for August 26, 2014. I am going to take all of your advice on setting up my recovery area at home preop. Fingers crossed hoping to have an outcome as good as yours:) Thanks for posting!!
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I can't wait to hear how it goes!  Are you going to write a review (say yes!)? 

Spending the time to get organized for your recovery makes everything so much easier.  Even having food already cooked and ready to go- just less stuff to deal with so you can rest and recover.

Good luck next week :)
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Thanks:) yes.. I plan on doing a review!! I have been researching for a year. Scheduled surgery then cancelled. FINALLY decided to just do it.Preparing my 3 sons for school now.So that all I have to do is focus on me for at least a week!!
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OOPS...I just realized that I have two user names!! nofakees1 and Lila 77. Ok.I created one on my laptop forgot user name then created one on my phone! ! Silly me
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You can email contactus@realself.com and they can merge them for you :)
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Are you doing a lower bleph?  The nice thing is that you can be out and about pretty quick with some oversized sunglasses, but it is totally worth taking a week off from life to recover!
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You look so young, don't be so hard on yourself!!!
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You look gorg- the surgery came out great and you're still young so it looks totally natural. Gear job and decision! Hope mine comes out as well!!!
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Thanks, Liza.  I'm really glad I did it.  I think it just takes time to get use to your results because deep down we expect perfection but the reality is that we will just look like a slightly different version of ourselves (in my case a well rested version of myself).  I'm happy with it!  When is your surgery?
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I think there is a dramatic difference and that you look amazing. My mom is quick to point out flaws in the work I've had done, and I keep reminding her that my goal was not perfection, but to look better and therefore feel better.
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Thank you so much, that is really sweet.  My mom always does the same thing and I hate it!
Yeah at the end of the day if you feel better then mission accomplished :)  I'm glad I did it and have one less thing to obsess over.
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OMG, how did I miss your surgiversary?! Congrats on being 1 year post-op. I think you look great and the improvement is definitely there. It's so hard to get a perfect result (from eye bags to a smooth, bumpless surface post-op).

Thanks for the update. :)
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:) 
Thanks!  Yes, despite my nitpicking and over-analyzation it was definitely worth it overall.  And I'll always be grateful for not having any complications.  Woot woot!
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Hi Jill! It has been so helpful reading your review. I'm going to have lower eye surgery on July 24th to remove my bags, and it is reassuring seeing how successful your surgery has been - as you mentioned, there aren't a lot of reviews on it. I think my surgery is a little different to yours - mine will be 'transconjunctival orbital reposition'. They're not going to actually remove the fat, but instead move it to my sunken areas. Have you heard of it? Lucy
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I think you will have better results than me because your tear trough will have some fat added, and a fatless tear trough is my only complaint from my surgery.  I've seen a few fat reposition reviews here, here is a somewhat recent one you can click through to and see.  I just did a search for "eyelid fat repositioning" and a bunch of stuff came up.

I hope you write a review!
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I see a huge difference, and you look great!! The ultimate validation is having a friend see you, after time has passed! You experienced that!!
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Thanks so much, triathlyn- I appreciate it :)
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You bet!! It's like that precious 2nd opinion! We never see ourselves as other do!
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I think you look great! Yes, you have a prominent trough. But it definitely doesn't look like under eye bags to me. Your eyes appear bright and rested. We are always so damned hypercritical of ourselves! I wish I could borrow someone else's eyes for a two minute look at myself as others see me. THAT to me would be invaluable! Thank you for taking the time to document your experience! I found it very interesting, and this isn't even a surgery I am considering!
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