42 Year Old Male: Upper Blepharoplasty, Facial Fat Grafting, and Chin Liposuction - San Diego, CA

I found RealSelf by chance a couple of months...

I found RealSelf by chance a couple of months prior to my procedures and have found it to be an invaluable resource both before and after my surgery. Reviews by both patients and doctors on one site is extremely helpful and educational. I would say 99% of the time if I have a question or concern, I can find the answer on this site. I appreciate all of you who have been brave enough to post your experience with elective surgery and for posting your before and after photos. You have helped me educate myself and I hope by sharing my story, other people can make the right choice for their unique situation. Do your research and don’t stop looking for the perfect doctor until you are totally satisfied that you are in the best hands possible. Good luck in your search!

What I Had Done:

(Date of procedure: April 26, 2012) Today I am three days post op after having upper blepharoplasty, fat grafting to the face, and chin liposuction. The price listed above was for all of my procedures and all were performed at the same time.

My Motivation:

My journey started over three years ago when I was concerned with a hollowing below my eyes that made me appear tired. I am 42 years old and I am often told I look a few years younger. I started noticing my aging face whenever I would get down to my goal weight. I would be in great shape and I still didn’t look how I felt inside. I would work out 3-4 times a week and I noticed that the more I worked out, my face actually started looking older due to the loss of volume (fat) and the hollowing under my eyes.

Three years ago I went to a well known plastic surgeon and was told I would have the best results with the three procedures I ended up doing this week. At the time, I was new to the world of elective procedures/surgery and choose to start by having Juevederm injected below my eyes to fill in the hollowing. I spent around $1500 and the results were ok for a while, but not what I expected. I got busy and never did the required follow up with the doctor. I gave up on my search for the right solution.

My Decision To Have My Surgery:

Fast forward three years... A few months ago I was ready to start my search for the perfect solution to my aging face. While visiting my primary care physician I mentioned my goal of getting rid of my tired appearance and asked how he felt about injectables. He suggested I go to La Jolla to see one of his college friends who is a cosmetic dermatologist. When I met with the cosmetic dermatologist in La Jolla he said he didn’t recommend injectables for my situation and suggested I visit with a plastic surgeon. He recommend I meet with an ophthalmologist who also performed blepharoplasty.

I set an appointment and had a bad impression from the minute I walked in the office and had to wait for the receptionist to stop arguing with her boyfriend on the phone. I had a good consult with the doctor, but still wasn’t totally comfortable moving forward.

A few months later I went back to the cosmetic dermatologist in La Jolla and decided to get my feet wet with a few laser treatments. After successfully doing three different laser treatments, I noticed my tired look disappeared when my face was still swollen. I looked great and got lots of compliments on this usually undesirable side effect!

How I Found My Doctor:

At this point I was motivated to find the doctor to perform my surgery. I had been reading and educating myself for the last three years about how to find the perfect doctor. Sites like this one were very helpful to me. There’s nothing better than hearing about other peoples experiences good and bad from the patients themselves. My search for the perfect doctor was jump started when San Diego Magazine put out its annual Top Doctors issue in October 2011. I read every article about every doctor that was listed as a plastic surgeon. Then I went to each doctors website and read the entire site. Next I Googled and Yelped each doctors name to see what reviews were posted and the type of surgeries they performed.

When you start this journey ask everyone you know if they have any knowledge of great doctors in your area. If you told your friends you were remodeling your 42 year old home, you would likely get a handful of names for great contractors in your area. Approach your search for a doctor with the same openness. Lets face it, at some point everyone thinks about elective surgery even if they don’t do it! When I found my doctor about a month and a half ago, I knew all my research had paid off! He was knowledgeable, personable, and took as much time as I needed to get my questions answered.

After meeting with him, I told a few friends that I had finally found my doctor! It got even better when my friend told me that the same doctor had done both her and her mothers breast augmentation! She had a great experience with him and highly recommended him. Her results look totally natural! It turns out that Dr. K was voted Best Cosmetic Surgeon in The San Diego Union-Tribune Reader's Poll.

My goal was to look refreshed and natural and I knew Dr. K was the doctor for me.

My Photos:

I will post my photos after my text is approved by RealSelf. Unfortunately, I tried to post a couple of days ago and my text was lost while uploading.

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Hello. I am uploading a few of my many photos....

Hello. I am uploading a few of my many photos. Once I confirm the first photos have uploaded properly, I will post more.

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Yesterday I noticed that the stitch/thread on my...

Yesterday I noticed that the stitch/thread on my left eye had moved. I won't go into detail unless you want more info. I just wanted to mention it in case you had the same problem.

When I called my doctor he said it wasn't a big deal. I was just concerned since this was my first surgery. If he's not worried, I'm not. Totally trust him.

2 Comments


Thanks for sharing, hang in there.

 

You are similar to me, lots of research.  I did the samething when I jumped into surgery. 

 

I strongly recommend Hulu.com  while recoverying.  Catch up on some old movies, watch a old tv series or 2 for free.
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Thanks for writing such a helpful review, SD. Good luck with the rest of your recovery!

I look forward to seeing your pics; drop me an email if you need any help posting them.

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Less Than 24 to Go! Less than 24 hours until I...

Less Than 24 to Go!
Less than 24 hours until I get my stitches out! I can't wait. I'm not going to post photos until tomorrow afternoon.

I notice my eyes are a little tight in the am and tend to "relax" through out the day. I haven't been sleeping through the night, so this may be part of the problem.

I bought eye drops last night and it has helped with the dryness and rare but occasional burning of the eyes. I noticed that if my stitches itch, I find relief if I ice them a few minutes.

Frozen Peas:
On that note... I was going to buy expensive eye masks for my post op and my doctor told me to save my money. He said frozen baby peas from the grocery store where the best defense for cooling the eyes. He was so right! The peas are perfect because they tend to move with the shape of your face. Buy 3 or 4 bags before your surgery and rotate them as needed.

Your 24 Hour Nurse:
The last post op item I wanted mention was your buddy nurse. You want to make sure you have a buddy or partner who is wiling to be your nurse the first 24 hours post op. I had full anesthesia and I am so grateful my friend Lauren (future LVN) was by my side.

I slept like a baby during the surgery. Probable the best nap I have had in years. But when I woke up I had lots of anxiety around my sleepy lungs starting to function again. Besides my amazing nurse, Becky it was nice to know Lauren would be there for the next 24 hours.

By the next day I felt comfortable being on my own.

Correction:
In my first post I stated that I had Juevederm injected below my eyes three years ago. I believe it was actually Restylane. I couldn't edit my first post, so I wanted to make the correction here.

2 Comments

I love how you attached photos for us to see.  Your bruising isn't really that bad!  Can't wait to see the final after pics. :)

Kate

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Thanks Robert

I have read some really interesting information about Fat
Grafting... Sometimes people will lose volume after the first three months and then notice it comes back later.

Something to do with the fat trying to establish itself. It can be between 1-2 years before one sees the final results.

What's your feedback on fat grafting?

Thanks,
Joshua
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I got my stitches out less than an hour ago!...

I got my stitches out less than an hour ago!
Once they were removed I could feel my eyes "relax" and now they feel more natural. They are starting to loosen and everyday I feel the "life" coming back.

The nurse and doctor said my bruising from the fat grafting was minimal and looked good. Once it starts to turn the yellow color that I have now, it's going to heal faster.

I stopped to get my hair buzzed after my appointment. Besides the obvious bruising, the guy who cuts my hair asked me what I had done. He sees me almost every week, so his statement confirmed that my doctors conservative approach works.

Speaking of natural...my eyes are slightly asymmetric. If you look at my before photos you will notice that I had more hooding on the left eye. Maybe my left brow just sits lower. When you look at my after photos you will notice that my right eye seem a little more open. I am fine with this, I was born this way.

I just wanted to point out the asymmetry so when you consider bleph surgery you'll know that you don't always get perfect balance and that's ok.

I will post a new photo soon. I was so excited to get my stitches out today, I didn't sleep last night. So, maybe tomorrow..

5 Comments

I agree that fat tansfer is the magic finishing touch in most rejuvenation. My ex had his baggy under eyes done and although I thought they tooked a little tight at the outer corners, overall it was a very nice freshener of his looks.
At one year, if my results are not where I want them, I will seriously consider doing more fat transfer and likely with the same surgeon. I just hope he gives me a really nice discount. I originally payed $5500 for his less than 2 hours of work. (like printing money, huh?)
Again, it is interesting that my doc (Amir Karam) talks about 6 or 7 month period before the fat cells start to plump up and fill out. In my estimation, it sounds like a type of transplant shock which makes sense to me. I don't know if there is much objective and published research on the viability of of these fat cells, but clearly some of my doc's many patients look better. Also, I want to add that it is better to compare before and afters with the same photographic lighting. My guy tends to do the before picture in a room with sunlight and the after photo seems to be in the non sunlit room. Close, but the artificial lighting does seem to decrease resolution. But even adjusting for this factor, his afters still look pretty darn good.
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On fat grafting I'm overall for it, it just depends on the doctor.

 

Girlfriend's had it done to her lower eyes.  Made a drastic good difference.

 

I have made an actual friend with my plastic surgeon and met quite a few of his patients who have had fat transfers later on due to it.  Majority really like it.

 

From how you are posting, it appears you'll be happy.

 

Robert
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Thanks Becky-
I appreciate getting feedback from people who have done their research!

I like that my doctor was very up front about the possibility that the fat may not "take". He never over promised what my results would be.

I hope we both have successful results! Keep each other posted.

I'm going to post photos after I get my stitches out and will also post when the swelling gos down.

Thanks,
Joshua
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So.. today was my first day back at work. Still...

So.. today was my first day back at work. Still have a bruise under my right eye, but I rocked it without any cover up.

Many people at work knew I was going in for a "remodel". Those that examined me very close wanted a reminder of what I had done. They said it looked so natural they couldn't tell the difference without seeing a before pic. Most of these people said I didn't need to do anything in the first place.

I am happy with my results, though I know my face will continue to change for the next six months to a year. My eyes may adjust a little, the success of the fat grafting is still be be determined, and my chin lipo results should show in six more weeks.

I hope this has been helpful.

1 Comments

The new pic looks great! I can definitely see the difference.

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It's been almost a year since I had my major...

It's been almost a year since I had my major surgery and I wanted to give you an update on my results. Overall I was extremely happy with my results.

After eleven month and allowing my face to "settle" there were a few things I wanted to discuss with Dr. Kearney. On my right eyelid I noticed that there was a little skin that could still be removed. Dr. K told me last year that this was a possibility and I knew to correct it would involve a simple office procedure. When he saw my concern, he agreed a touch up would help and we set up the procedure at no additional cost.

You have to love a PS that is there for you almost a year after your surgery!

I knew going into my original procedure that the success of my fat transfer to the face was not guaranteed. I really wanted to try doing something "natural" before I used fillers. Only a certain percentage of the fat was still in my face after eleven months. I think Dr. K guessed around 50-60%. Though I had improvement, I really felt it was time to use fillers.

After discussing my concerns with Dr. K, I decided to use fillers in three areas of my face.

I had Restylane injected in my under eye hollows. It turns out the left side of my face was much more hollow than my right. The left eye took one full syringe while the right only two or three injections.

We used a newer product called Expressions on my smile lines and my marionette lines.

Last I got botox around my eyes and forehead.

My results look totally natural and masculine. I can't express how much I like working with Dr. K!

Last Thoughts:
For the first few hours/days after you have fillers or surgery to the face, be aware that you will think something is wrong. I had convinced myself my eyes looked strange for three days and today I am very happy with my results. Dr. K was there to remind me that what I was thinking and seeing were normal during the healing process. Don't freak yourself out when your healing. Step away from the mirror and watch a movie or go out with friends!

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I forgot to add I spent about $1600 for the...

I forgot to add I spent about $1600 for the fillers and botox. The fillers should last one or two years depending on how much movement there is in each specific area of the face. The botox should last 3-4 months.

1 Comments

Thanks for the thorough explanation. I am planning to have the exact same thing done in about 2 weeks. Did you have "stem cell" fat transfer?
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La Jolla Plastic Surgeon

My Doctor: Dr. Robert Kearney La Jolla, CA From my first time meeting Dr. Kearney I really liked how he interacted with me and the time he took to answer my questions. He wanted to know what I wanted done and why. Together we decided which procedures would help me attain my goals. The team in the office was also I huge factor in my decision. Both Melissa and Katie are friendly and professional. If I had a question in between visits, I would get a quick response. If they didn’t know the answer, they would put Dr. Kearney on the phone! How many doctors do that while running a very busy practice? Everyone who took care of me during the day of my surgery was amazing too. After meeting the nurse (Becky) and anesthesiologist, I was totally comfortable during the surgery. It was comforting to know that the surgery was performed on the Scripps Memorial Hospital campus. The best part of picking Dr. Kearney was knowing he was there AFTER my surgery. The teams follow up has been great. Today alone, I had two concerns and after speaking with Melissa and Katie, Dr. Kearney called me back. Not within 24 hours, but within two hours of my call. I am less than a week out from surgery and I am totally confident that Dr. Kearney was the right doctor for me.

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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