Overall Happy but It Took More Time to Heal Than I Expected - Portland, OR

At 61, I had noticed my eyelids drooping, feeling...

At 61, I had noticed my eyelids drooping, feeling heavy, and interfering with my peripheral vision. I sometimes had headaches and wondered if the heavy lids contributed to the pain. I always looked tired and was feeling bad about myself and how aging had taken some of my unique facial characteristics and just made me look generic old. I went to an occuloplastic surgeon and asked about doing a bilateral blepharoplasty. Because my drooping lids affected my peripheral vision (I had a few close encounters with pedestrians entering crosswalks--how terrible that could have been!), my insurance covered the cost of the upper eyelid surgery. I was tempted to get the lower lids done as well but decided to wait and see how I felt about the upper eyelid surgery first, both because of the expense and because it was difficult finding an opening in the surgical schedule that worked for me.

On the day of surgery I was terrified and really appreciate how nice the RN was and how reassuring she was. The anesthesiologist was also very kind. Dr. PV explained everything and the surgery passed by while I was blissed out and without any stress or fear or problem. After, I was given clear instructions and ice packs and a prescription for pain (they said most people don't need much but I am hyper-sensitive to pain and I was terrified it would hurt).

I had a slight complication when a stitch burst. I think I should have asked to have it restitched, as my recovery on that side was a bit slower than I'd hoped for. I needed to ice and sleep with my head elevated (three cheers for the recliner) and I slept in a chair for a couple of weeks. There was pain for about 3 days and after that I was fine with acetaminophen. I did not bruise until the third day after surgery, and then my eyelids and face looked pretty scary for at least 3 weeks. I'm not sure I understood how awful I would look for the first couple of weeks. I recommend you keep to yourself as much as possible!

I was also not prepared for how long it took the incision to heal enough that I could wear makeup (about 5 weeks) and I did not understand in advance that the incision would be as red and raised as it still is about 6 weeks after surgery. But it is just starting to look good enough I'm not embarrassed to be seen without sunglasses. In fact, I think it looks good and I am very glad I had it done. Sorry I waited so long, in fact. Just want to warn folks that I think the doctors and some of the sites minimize the discomfort some might feel. It's important you know that you might feel pretty awful for a few days, look pretty awful for a few weeks, and it could take a month or two before you really start to feel you made the right decision.

I saw the NP the day after surgery and then again in a week and then at 4 weeks and she was very reassuring and competent. I noticed a slight disparity in size between my eyes and she pointed out this was unchanged from before my bleph. I just hadn't noticed they were different sizes and I also think that I still have a bit of healing to do and the results will get even better in a couple more months. If I had it to do over again I might have done the lower bleph--I don't see myself going through this again and why not do everything while you're under the knife? On the other hand, I'm the type of person who is content to leave well enough alone. I wasn't aiming for perfection. Just better, and I totally got that. I am very pleased.
Wanderfull!!
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Looking good! How are you feeling about the whole improvements?
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Happy I had it done

I can see why women get more and more corrective surgery, though I'll probably leave things as they are. I am very pleased with the look and also with my increased peripheral vision. The swelling is gone and the scarring is much reduced (still feels a bit weird on one eyelid).

One thing that was a bit of a shock was that when the bills came there were several charges included I didn't know about in advance (anesthesia and facility charges). I am fortunate that I had budgeted the full estimated amount in advance, since I didn't know how much my insurance would cover, but it would have been difficult to come up with the money if I'd been responsible for the full amount.

It's often hard to get an accurate estimate about medical procedures. I know there are variables, like how much time it takes and if there are complications, but it would be helpful and fair to give an accurate estimate and point out there will be other charges the physician doesn't control (but he/she can give a ballpark figure based on prior surgeries).

Thanks so much for sharing on RealSelf!

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5 weeks before makeup? Yikes! I am having mine done on the 21st and will be back to work 2 wks later.
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My incisions were not fully closed and I was advised not to wear makeup because that greatly increased the chance of infection. I'm sure people heal at different rates, but check with your surgeon to ask when it's reasonable to expect to be able to wear makeup. Good luck with your procedure. I'm very pleased and have no regrets.
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All Good

I'm very pleased and would not hesitate to recommend this procedure and my surgeon. It took longer to heal than I expected but by now there's only a faint scar on the incision of one eye and the other has almost completely disappeared. The faint scar doesn't show unless someone is staring at me with my eyes closed--you don't notice it when I blink. There was some down time for me but I have a lot more time with my new look. Very glad I had this done.

How are you doing now?  Any changes since your last post?

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Thanks! I have no regrets and feel much more positive about how I look. Hate to be so self-involved and I don't think any woman should feel bad about aging, since, as they say, the alternative would be worse. My doctor was a bit conservative ( his usual practice) in how much tissue he removed and I think it's a very natural and attractive result. Nobody has said anything to me like OMG, YOUR EYES! and that's fine. I wanted a bit of privacy about this and am content to hear the YOU LOOK GOOD in general remarks. I have better peripheral vision and look younger and feel so much better. Two thumbs up.
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Prashanth Vallabhanath

I chose an occuloplastic surgeon instead of a plastic surgeon after talking to a woman whose plastic surgeon had given her such a wide-eyed Mary Tyler Moore look she was having some issues with dry eyes and was thinking of seeing an occuloplastic surgeon to correct her surgery. This scared me and I talked to nurses and my optometrist and felt confident about Dr. PV--Dr. Prashanth Vallabhanath. (I am a nurse and I always trust a working nurse's recommendation over a physician's.) I think he's very skilled, very realistic about expectations, not into heavy sales or shaming or frightening you, and it is clear that everyone who works with him respects his ability. I certainly do. I am lucky this procedure was covered by insurance, but it has made enough of a difference in my feelings about myself I would try to get the money to pay for it otherwise.

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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