Lower Lid Blepharoplasty with Fat Transfer (No Sutures) - New York, NY

I literally had this done about 6 hours ago, so I...

I literally had this done about 6 hours ago, so I figured I'd document as I went so I don't forget anything. Sorry in advance if you find this long-winded, but these were the kinds of details I was looking for when I was digging around on this website.

Title says it all. My bags were definitely hereditary. I've been getting various fillers for the past 3 years (since I was 28) to minimize the appearance (Juvederm under the eyes, Resylane in the cheeks). When I went in for a touchup in April because I was really unhappy with the way my eyes looked, my Dr. told me that doing any more fillers was probably not going to give me the results I wanted. As I consider my eyes one of my best features, I was heartbroken! He then suggested this procedure, and after about a month of deliberation, I decided to go for it.

Pre-Surgery (about 2 weeks before):
Had to get a medical clearance (EKG, some bloodwork, general physical stuff). Stop taking blood thinners (Advil, etc.). Stop smoking (that definitely wasn't going to happen).

Since I was more afraid of the aftermath of recovery than I was of the actual procedure, I did some research on minimizing/speeding up recovery from bruising. Not wanting to try some random home remedies (dried parsley under the eyes, a bajillion different homeopathic oils, etc.), I picked up some some Arnica Gel from CVS (the gel is easier to apply than is the cream. http://www.amazon.com/Boiron-Arnicare-Gel-2-6-2-5/dp/B000LD529K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339105705&sr=8-1). You can find it behind the pharmacy counter, so don't waste your time scanning the aisles. I had read that some people were using Traumeel, but as my chiropractor recommends that stuff for my back, I didn't really feel like putting it on my face. I also read that Bromelain was supposed to help with bruising, so I'm glad I'm already stocked up on it (http://www.vitaminshoppe.com/store/en/browse/sku_detail.jsp?id=VS-1210). Side note: You can also just eat a bunch of pineapple, but as I'm on a low-sugar diet, bromelain is the way to go for me. It's great for regulating blood sugar, thereby preventing sugar spikes and suppressing cravings (cinnamon works well, too!).

The Night Before:
No fluids/food 8 hours before surgery (they originally told me after midnight, but I'm a night owl, so I wanted them to be more specific). Went to bed kind of late and got up kind of early so that I'd be tired enough to sleep after the surgery.

Before the Surgery (at the office):
Signed some release forms. They gave me some things to help after the surgery (medicated eye drops - 1 drop 4x daily), saline eye drops (as needed...DEFINITELY needed!), and some other drops that I can't remember what they're for (1 drop 2x daily). They gave me some cream for sutures, but I ended up not needing any. One last picture of the bags for posterity. Pop out the contacts (see you in a week or so!).

Surgery:
The anesthesiologist attached a heart rate monitor to my thumb and a blood pressure cuff. After finding a vein, she injected a small needle to administer the necessary drugs. First: antibiotics and steroids (the anesthesia comes later). Dr. and his assistant come in, and his assistant straps me down to the bed. Uhhh...what? It's really just for my own protection so I don't fall off or anything. Whatever you say, guys. Dr. puts some drops in each eye to numb them (it tingles a little but doesn't really hurt at all...nowhere near as bad as getting soap in your eyes!).

So now we're all set. Anesthesiologist administers the good stuff. Dr. puts a little disc in my right eye first to protect the eye during the surgery. Didn't hurt; it just felt strange. I have no idea about the left eye because I was totally out by then. Zzzzzzzz....

Post-Op:
I shot straight up as soon as the anesthesia wore off (that's happened before). Dr.'s assistant informed me that I was a fighter during surgery. Excuse me? Well, basically, it was a good thing I was strapped down. She said that's fairly common, and we all had a good chuckle over that.

Stumble my way (with help) to the recovery room. My eyes were on fire! The burning was pretty annoying (painful, yes, this time about the same as getting soap in your eyes...soap that never goes away). I am trying to be a good patient and keep ice packs on my eyes, but they BURN!! It also feels a little like when you have goop (eye boogers as I like to call them) in your eyes, and you're not allowed to pick! Not painful, but it is annoying. Another assistant comes and flushes my eyes with the same stuff they recommend after LASIK surgery (I'd guess it's a saline rinse or something similar). Ahhhhh...much better. Back on with the ice packs. This rinsing/ice pack dance occurs for about 30 minutes until I decide I am just done and ready to go home (Yes, Mr. Assistant, I promise to ice like it's my job once I get home).

Throw on the Jackie O glasses and with the help of a friend, stumble out to a car. I'm pretty sure the stumbling was due to the fact that my eyes were way more sensitive to light (do NOT forget your sunglasses even if you're getting this done on a cloudy day or at midnight). I also didn't have my regular glasses on, and I am pretty blind without them. Decide I need some Starbucks Iced Black Tea, so we stop by there first, and I walk 2 blocks back to my apartment (Yes, I was that jerk who wears sunglasses inside, but for once, I DON'T CARE! I was just happy to be functioning much more than I thought would be possible).

Recovery - Day 1:
Bruising started almost instantly (see picture below), and swelling started a couple of hours later. My swelling so far is no worse than the bags were under my eyes to begin with, it's just a little closer to my cheeks. My eyes were still REALLY dry, but the saline drops they sent me home with are really helpful. Once the initial dryness wears off (after 3-4 hours), when you blink, it just feels like when you've spent a little too much time in a chlorine pool. I'm using gel ice packs for 30 minutes every hour or so (I like these because they already come with a wrap. Again, CVS: http://www.amazon.com/ACE-Hot-Cold-Compression-Wrap/dp/B001ACOS78/ref=pd_sim_hpc_4). I'd definitely recommend gel over those disposable instant packs or ice cubes. Also applying the Arnicare Gel when I'm done icing. I don't know if you're supposed to apply it that frequently, but the directions say "3x a day or as needed." I'm going with the "as needed" part of that. Also popping the bromelain 2x a day. Oh, and you're not supposed to take blood thinners, so if you need it, stock up on Tylenol.

One thing I didn't expect or prepare for: My never-ending drippy nose from the anesthesia. FYI, nasal spray will not help. So since you're supposed to keep your head elevated and elevation enhances a dripping nose, stock up on tissues! Also, my eyes are a little watery, but I'll take that (keeps the eyes from drying out!).

So far, I've been up and just as productive as any other day when I don't leave my apartment (albeit with tissues in my nose). There isn't really any pain (which was a fear of mine). The only time it sort of hurts is if I squint my eyes (I don't have a good comparison for this one, so let me just say that it's no kind of pain to worry about. It would hurt more if someone playfully punched you in the arm). Basically, the overall pain is less than I expected, and the bruising/swelling is about what I expected.

More tomorrow...

Recovery - Day 2 First off...NO MORE RUNNY...

Recovery - Day 2
First off...NO MORE RUNNY NOSE!!! Thank God because that was just really gross. And now back to my eyes...

I spent the night propped up with a bunch of pillows on my couch. I normally sleep on my stomach, so I thought that if I hopped into bed, I'd probably end up in this position at some point in the night (a big no-no when trying to reduce bruising!). It actually wasn't so bad. And I woke myself up every 3ish hours or so to put a new ice pack and some Arnica Gel on my eyes. I read somewhere about a woman who rented a reclining chair while recovering from a face lift. What a brilliant idea! It's too late for me to consider that, but if you have a Rent-a-Center or something similar to you, I'd recommend looking into it as sleeping on a couch can put you in some awkward positions. I worked out the kinks in my neck by spending some quality time with my shiatsu massager. I am so treating myself to a massage when this recovering process is over.

Anyway, my eyes have been a bit crusty today (similar to pink eye). Kind of gross, but I've been using cleansing wipes to remove the gunk (I like these because they smell great, but any cleansing wipe would do: http://www.sephora.com/truth-to-go-wipes-P271703?skuId=1280015). My bruising has reduced dramatically!! The bruising under my right eye is already a lovely yellow hue. I can't say the same for my left eye, but that eye's getting better already, too (see pictures below). I could probably cover up the right eye with some makeup, but I'm pretty sure I'm not allowed to attempt that yet. The bruises are a little sore, but, again, it's only when I try to squint my eyes. They're not sore to the touch or anything. As you can probably see, my right eye is lazy. It's usually only this bad when I'm really tired or really drunk. I'm hoping this drastic, constant drifting is a short-term side effect from the surgery or possibly from the waking up every 3 hours last night. It's usually not this bad.

I got a follow-up call from my Dr.'s assistant today. My concern was washing my face and showering because I was feeling kind of gross. She said I can return to my normal procedures. Yay! Although I was a little concerned about it, the shower was great! I don't usually let too much water run into my face to begin with, so that wasn't a huge concern of mine. But as far as washing my face, I actually used my Clarisonic (http://www.sephora.com/mia-skin-cleansing-system-P285163), wiped off the residue with a washcloth, and then followed up with my toner. I then completed my typical skincare regimen - minus the usual eye stuff. I wasn't sure if I could splash water in my eyes, and I didn't want to attempt it anyway.

A little note about the Clarisonic: I've actually used it several times today under my eyes and over the bruising. The Clarisonic promotes blood circulation which is supposed to speed up the bruising process. It didn't hurt at all (it was actually quite soothing). If you don't want to shell out the money for this device, they sell similar products in most drug stores that will achieve similar results.

Today I also decided that I needed a gel eye mask with some eye holes cut into it. Since I'm in no condition to be seen in public (actually, I don't really care, but I can't wear my glasses and sunglasses at the same time), I ordered one from Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000KEIR0G/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00). The key here is to make sure the eye holes are small enough to actually allow the gel to hit the bruises surrounding the eyes. I've been spending so much time with ice packs on my eyes, and I'm starting to get really bored. Once this thing arrives tomorrow, I'll at least be able to do something while I ice. I cannot wait to leave my apartment because I am starting to get REALLY antsy. Maybe I'll venture out blindly tomorrow.

My eyes themselves are still a little sensitive to light (although not as bad as yesterday), and they feel heavy. If you've ever had your eyes dilated for an eye exam, it basically feels like that. They're not watery or burning at all anymore, but they're still a little dry (nothing the saline drops can't fix, though). I've also had a little bit of blurred vision after removing my ice packs, but that quickly subsides. No double vision so far. Swelling has gone down in my eyes themselves, but there's still some swelling under my eyes (again, about the same size as the bags I just got rid of). The Arnica Gel is really helping with that, though (or at least it feels like it is).

I was kind of all over the place regarding what the Dr. gave me for recovery, so here are some better details:
Durezol - 1 drop 2x daily (for eye pain and swelling)
Zylet - 1 drop 4x daily (for eye inflammation)
Refresh Optive - As needed (for moisturizing)

Still taking bromelain with breakfast and dinner. Also applying Arnica Gel after every ice pack (as it tightens the skin, it feels like a mini eye lift!). Is doing all of this excessive? Maybe, but my eyes are healing much more rapidly than I had expected. I think the bruise on my arm from the IV is worse right now. Haha. I read somewhere that being active prior to surgery helps with the recovery process. I work out with a trainer 5x a week and run a couple of miles every day. I'm not saying that's what you need to do, but I think that increasing your activity level in any form would probably help (at the very least, it can't hurt!).

More tomorrow...
New York Oculoplastic Surgeon

First and foremost, Dr. Eviatar is a big believer in keeping one's look natural (no over-Botoxed candlefaces coming out of this office!). In fact, his assistant was just telling me how she got her lips done (normally a disaster), but I promise you that you would never know that. I really appreciated him telling me that fillers would no longer work for me rather than inject me with a bunch of stuff (and spend a bunch of money!) that would not give me the results that I was seeking. I have been coming to Dr. Eviatar and Chelsea Eye Associates for years, and I have recommended this place time and time again to numerous friends of mine. I even brought my mom in here! Everyone I know who has had a procedure here has been very satisfied with the results. I'm also a huge fan of his assistants. Friendly, knowledgeable, and really good with communication (emails, follow-up calls, etc.). The only problem I've had with this place is that sometimes the wait times are really annoying, but I know that's because Dr. Eviatar really takes his time with patients to make sure they're getting exactly what they want (well, as 'exact' as plastic surgery can be).

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
4 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
4 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
4 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
3 out of 5 stars Wait times
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