Write a review

Blepharoplasty+Fat Graft = Disaster - Los Angeles, CA

Surgery to remove embedded eyelash strip at end of...

Surgery to remove embedded eyelash strip at end of right lid junction + refinements to eyes, resulted in more problems with eyes & eyelids, e.g. lids that don't descend fully, an enlarged pupil. W/o my consent, added fat graft strips to under-eye areas, resulting in puffy fat asymmetrical fat lumps.

Dr. Robert E. Levine is a caring doctor who is...

Dr. Robert E. Levine is a caring doctor who is generous with his time, but my surgery with him taught me that Surgical Judgment and Skill are the most important qualities. Unfortunately, my surgery with him ended in severe disfigurement. The entire purpose of the surgery was to remove lashes that were buried at the end corner of my right eye. Dr. Levine removed them, but failed twice to close my eye, leaving me with recessed red exposed tissue at the end of my eye. We also added surgery to refine my eyes. Without my knowledge or consent, he added and removed fat. This resulted in two eyes not even looking like they belonged to the same person! Everything from the height of each eyebrow, to the size, slant, and shape of each eye differed! My eyelids no longer fully descended and had folds, wrinkles, and puckers. The worst disfigurment was that he added unequal amounts of fat under each eye. I hadn't even had abnormal under-eye hollows, but after his surgery, I had big bulky fat pouches under each eye, the kind you pay an oculoplastic surgeon to remove! One of the fat lumps is 3 times the size of the other and has another lump on top of it. On his own and without any discussion or even listing it as a procedure, Dr. Levine had used fat grafts from my abdomen to all the areas above and below my my eyes, but none of the fat added to one eye, matched the other eye. This using of bulky fat graft strips to my eye areas was all the more egregious because he had recruited a stem cell specialist to add fat at the same surgery. Any areas that needed fat should have been addressed by the plastic surgeon who used autologous stem cell fat. Lumpy fat graft strips are never used for facial contouring or eye refinements. Stem cell fat is used because it results in areas,
such as the under-eyes, to gently meld with the cheeks.

AFTER PHOTO - Dr. Levine's office photo. Fat graft...

AFTER PHOTO - Dr. Levine's office photo. Fat graft strips create lumps such as the smaller lump on top of the left under-eye fat pouch. Fat graft strips placed unequally resulting in unequal fat lumps above and below both eyes. The addition of fat to upper eyes created folds, puckers, creases and asymmetry.
Los Angeles Oculoplastic Surgeon

Because of paralysis to right side of my face, had 11 eye surgeries & pain due to corneal sryness. Ocular specialists kept referring me to other specialists. Dr. Jonathan Hoenig referred me to Dr. Robert Levine.

1 out of 5 stars Overall rating
4 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
1 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
3 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
3 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
1 out of 5 stars Wait tmes
Was this review helpful? 7 others found this helpful

Comments (19)

Sort by

Oh I am so sorry, reading about your story, make me understand that I don't have to complain too much about mine, I am not happy with my eye lid surgeon. I wish that you can handle and all the luck!
  • Reply
I'm sorry to hear what you've been through, but I sued for malpractice in L.A. (lived there at the time) about 10 years ago and won. They do like those big money class action lawsuits, but there should be attorneys that still take the smaller cases. I wish you luck.
  • Reply
!0 years ago, the $250,000. cap equalled over $500,000 since money's value doubles every 7 years. 10 years ago, lawyers didn't charge $500 hr. I saw or spoke to over 20 attorneys, sometimes with my ophthalmologist accompanying me -- God bless him. Medical malpractice also has nothing to do w/ class action lawsuits. These are separate areas, and if lawyers take PI or medical malpractice suits, they are looking for loss of income or else they lose $. I don't want to argue w/ someone who is so obviously sympathetic and my experience is not everyone's, but every single time I heard the same refrain about it costing them too much time and the fact they lost $ on these cases due to the insurance cap. One lawyer told me, "I'd rather go to Las Vegas and lose money shooting Craps." The only person I know who found a lawyer for medical malpractice and won, had to eventually agree to drop her lawsuit and switch to arbitration because it was "quicker." Contrary to mandated regulations, her arbitration verdict does not even show up on his records, and he has injured others. All I can conclude is that you were lucky to find a lawyer and I'm happy that you won. I hope you're now as whole as possible and well.
  • Reply
My uncle sued for medical malpractice and won. The surgeon left a surgical instrument inside his leg. It eventually caused a staph infection and the leg had to be amputated.
  • Reply
Thank you for sharing, we're here for each other and hopefully your experience will save someone else from pain. I agree with the other posts, you should sue. It's a matter of right and wrong, not being greedy. You had a right to expect a decent result from your surgery,, not more pain and grief. There are a lot of good attorneys in L.A., you should not have to suffer with this forever.
  • Reply
Thank you for your email and your support. I know that all those who recommend suing mean well, but they don't know what's involved. Suing is not an option for many reasons. In CA, there is a cap of $250,000. Finding a lawyer is impossible unless you're a head of household cut down in the prime of life or a public figure whose ability to earn a living is impaired or destroyed due to malpractice. Attorneys lose $ on malpractice suits, so the att'y. needs to make $ on loss of earnings. The medical malpractice insurance industry and drs. pushed this MICRA cap through in 1975 and it has not even been adjusted for cost of living! It has been enacted in most states. There are many articles about this, including newspapers, if you or anyone cares to research. Even if you should find a lawyer, they want you to front the costs. In L.A., just consulting a possible expert witness costs $2,000 - $3,000 and they charge approximately $1,000 an hr. to be in court. It takes 3+ years to go to trial. It is difficult to find expert witnesses in the same city because they close ranks. Expert witnesses need to have better credentials than the dr. you're alleging committed malpractice. Medical costs are often impossible to ascertain, unless you're so damaged you need full-time care. In my case, part of my face was paralyzed and I was disfigured over 6 years ago by Dr. Dennis Bang, a plastic surgeon who has injured several former patients I'm in contact with. I have undergone 13 eye surgeries. This surgery by Dr. Levine was necessitated by a prior reconstructive surgeon who left hidden embedded lashes at the corner junction. I never could have forseen what I would have gone through and accepted the fact I would not ever be close to whole, either functionally or aesthetically. The general population reads about huge monetary malpractice verdicts. What they don't realize is that unless loss of earnings is part of the equation, these big figure awards are cut down to each state's MICRA cap. If someone loses a baby or child, is a housewife or retiree, $250,000 max for pain and suffering... On top of all that, there is the emotional trauma of having to re-live it repeatedly through subpoenas, depositions, and court. My entire reason for posting was to make sure prospective patients take extra steps before choosing their drs., especially for elective plastic surgery. Medicine and legal remedires are no different than many other areas of American life that have been corrupted by greed, incompetence, and self-serving conspiracies of silence and cover-ups. I am hoping that my posting will serve as a warning and wake-up call to others.
  • Reply
Yes, I learn that years ago. Most people don't know about the justice system is protecting unethical doctors that do surgery without informed consent. I could have warned people any better than you. My eyes are aged over 40+ my real age. People can tell I had horrible eyelid surgery with dog ears, cuts, pleats, dent/divots, zig zag stitch marks, several huge stitch marks, smaller stitch marks, and cuts all over my eyelids, to the laternal and inner sides of both of my eyelids. That doc out in Orange County, Ca made pucker/pleats from above my forehead,eyebrows down to my eyelid creases. This shameless doctor even tried to defend himself by stating he never had any judgement against him. Thank so much for pointing out about suing to other people that read your review. It is a lesson that we only learnt about only after botched surgery with or without consent.
  • Reply
Some doctors write their own positive reviews. The one that made a big mess on my face is not even a plastic surgeon, but he did lied on some ads on the internet to misrepresent himself. I wonder if he took it down or not. I have '11's" between my brows very young and thanks to this unethical eye doctor that done this to me. Why would I ask him to age me. I have a lot of pleats and ugly cuts all over my upper part of my face. Where he tied knots look like a neuron cell. I have different shape and size of eyes with my right brow droop 1/4" . I gone to real facial plastic surgeons and they all agreed that Dr. W. doesn't know what he is doing. None of them understand what he was trying to do. Why would someone want scars, pleats, divots, very noticeable scars and stitch marks all over the place. Dr. W. Calls it lies, but my photos posted on the internet clearly shows the truth.
  • Reply
I thought the statute of limitations (for doctors) began and ended if and when the patient awakened? HIPA was created by doctors for doctors. The AMA is equivalent to the NRA. ETC!
  • Reply
I am so sorry for what you've gone through. I hope things get a little better with time.
  • Reply
Thank you for taking the time to write and for your good wishes. I appreciate your kindness and concern. Unfortunately, it's now close to a year since the surgery and my eye is still healing. Dr. Levine's surgery so disfigured me and I'm in so much pain, I never leave my house for anything. After 13 eye surgeries, I have given up all hope. I only posted to warn others against eye surgeries with Dr. Levine.
  • Reply
My closet friend Suzanne had 11 prior eye surgeries that failed and left her in a great deal of pain. Dr. Robert E. Levine sourced the pain, discovering it was caused by a hidden strip of eyelashes buried there, a result of a previous eye surgery. Dr. Levine scheduled a surgery to remove the lashes. He may have removed the lashes, but failed twice to close the corner of her eye. Her right eye now ends with recessed red tissue, instead of at the white of the eye, like her other eye. In addition, she has told me she has as much pain there now as she had before his lash removal surgery. I also understand from my friend that Dr. Levine performed a procedure on her without her knowledge or consent that caused her further disfigurement. Despite the fact that Dr. Levine offered revisions, she told me that she would never consider letting him operate on her again. I know from a number of conversations that prior to the surgery my friend had the greatest respect for Dr. Levine, and his caring approach to work with her. She even wanted to help Dr. Levine, in whatever way she could, to commercialize one of his ocular based inventions. Unfortunately, it appears to my friend that Dr. Levine’s surgical skills did not match his patient relationship skills.
  • Reply
One of my closest friends had 11 eye surgeries by a very famous ocular surgeon. Unfortunately, following these surgeries, she had cactus-like stringing pains at the far right corner juncture of her eye. Dr. Robert E. Levine sourced the pain, discovering it was caused by a hidden strip of eyelashes buried there, a result of a previous eye surgery. Dr. Levine scheduled a surgery to remove the lashes. He may have removed the lashes, but failed twice to close the corner of her eye. Her right eye now ends with recessed red tissue, instead of at the white of the eye, like her other eye. In addition, she has told me she has as much pain there now as she had before his lash removal surgery. He added further disfigurement by doing a procedure without her knowledge or consent that was not even listed as a surgical procedure. He made an incision on her abdomen and used lumpy fat grafts from there and placed them above and below her eyes. Besides the unequal pouches of fat below her eyes, the fat added above her eyes distorted the entire eye area, from the lids to the height of her eyebrows. Her eyes no longer match in size, shape, or slant. Her lids have folds, wrinkles, puckers, and don't descend properly. One eye has double the space between the lid-crease and the eyebrow, resulting in an eyebrow that is significantly higher than the other. I have seen the Before and After photos taken at his office and by her personal assistant, and they tell the story. My friend liked Dr. Levine immenselhy due to the fact he seemed ethical, caring, and spent so much time with his patients. I don't know that her opinion of him has changed, but she has learned that a doctor's bedside manner has no relationship to his skills as a surgeon. Despite the fact he offered revisions, she told me she would never consider letting him operate on her again.
  • Reply
my friend suze is a wonderful, very honest person who unfortunately became a recluse after a cosmetic surgery performed on her some years ago. she used to be so outgoing. but because of the constant pain about which she tells me and how she says she was disfigured, she won't even let me see her. i can't even to take her to her seemingly unending reconstructive surgery attempts as well as her many doctors' appointments. it is so hard to hear her despair and hear how much pain she is suffering, and know that her active social life ended while her quality of life completely disappeared. late last year she was very excited, even happy, when she thought she would be getting a new surgery that would alleviate much of her pain. i was excited and happy for her and looked forward to her getting better. suze told me the surgery went poorly and even made things worse. she did not deserve this and i wish i could turn the clock back for her so none of this would ever have happened.
  • Reply
you should sue him
  • Reply
Thank you for take the time to respond. Yes, I should, but lawsuits difficult, especially w/ plastic surgery -- almost impossible.
  • Reply
not in your case. i read about this woman who had a botched blepharoplasty that left her with eye that were unable to close all the way. the courts awarded her 112k. if you have "incomplete closure"and can establish the damages from your surgeries, and put a big price ticket on those costs/ harms, then i'm sure you can find a lawyer willing to take you case. plus, when you sue a surgeon, he's wont end up paying for damages out of his pocket. his insurance company will. so really, surgeons dont care if you sue them because it doesn't cost them anything, it just makes them look bad. here's the article about the woman http://www.today.com/id/42374009/ns/today-today_health/t/woman-cant-close-her-eyes-after-plastic-surgery/#.UU7Gm7u3AlY
  • Reply
after reading everything you write, i think you have legitimate grounds for a lawsuit: if you had 11 surgeries... the costs for those alone would be really significant (and enough to get a contingency lawyer's attention.) and if you have paralysis and corneal damage... those are irreversible damages that were directly caused by the negligence of your surgeon. and if he injected/ removed fat without your consent that is malpractice because he deviated from the terms of the surgical agreement.
  • Reply

I'm so sorry to hear what you've been through, Los Angeles4830, but thank you for sharing your story and pictures.

  • Reply