Oculoplastic surgeons spend 1-2 years on training devoted exclusively to the face, focused mainly on the eyelids, brows and eye-sockets. They will perform hundreds of eyelid surgeries in training and this will be their main emphasis in surgery afterward. They have more experience with treating ptosis (droopy eyelids). General plastic surgeons have varied experience with eyelids. Some do a lot of eyelid cases and are very adept at the surgery. Others focus more on the body, such as breasts and liposuction and do fewer eyelid procedures. It is just important to find a surgeon who has done a lot of the procedures that you want done and has good results. The degree is less important than the results. Do your homework.
Yours is a valid and common question. Dr. Weber's answer below makes a great point about inter-specialty rivalries based mainly on ego and economics. Choosing your surgeon based purely on his specialty is a good place to start, but too limited an approach.
Blepharoplasty is performed by many specialties. It is the most commonly performed facial plastic surgical procedure. Yet within each specialty, there can be a spectrum of abilities and outcomes.
To select your surgeon, it is is a good idea to know their field of training. But other factors to consider are:
*Years of experience.
*Photos of numerous actual patients.
*Conversations with other patients in person or by phone.
*Talks with staff members have had the procedure (it is hard to imagine an office where at least one staff member has not had the procedure)
*Does the physician address all factors involved in your aging eyelid (extra skin, bulging fat, sagging brow position, sun induced wrinkling, cheek volume loss, frown muscle hyperactivity, crows feet) and spend time helping you understand the influence of each of these factors)
Though I am a facial plastic surgeon and am very confident of my blepharoplasty outcomes, I do refer to selected to (not just any!) an oculoplastic colleague when there is a significant issue with vision such as severe dry eye, glaucoma, severe preexisting lower lid sagging and laxity, etc.
Oculoplastics surgeons are ophthalmologists with special extensive additional training in performing plastic surgery around the eyes. That is what they focus on in the practice. There are always exceptions but general plastic surgeons operate on the whole body, rather than focus on the eyes.
Plastic surgeons certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and ideally members of the American Society for Aesthetic plastic Surgery, facial plastic surgeons, and oculoplastic surgeons are all trained and qualified to perform eyelid surgery.
Find a plastic surgeon that you are
comfortable with and one that you trust and listen to his or her advice.
You should discuss your concerns with that surgeon in person.
Robert Singer, MD FACS
La Jolla, California
Facial plastic surgeons, oculoplastic surgeons and general plastic surgeons are trained in blepharoplasty. Schedule an in person consultation with a board certified surgeon in your area who has expertise and experience in blepharoplasty surgery.
Oculoplastic surgeons are also board certified ophthalmologists. This mean they have the training, skills, and experience to actually examine your eyes to determine if there are health issues related to the eyes that need to be managed or make it advisable not to have surgery. Now having said that, in a given community, you need to look past the credentials and really look at what individual surgeons are doing in your community. If the oculoplastic surgeon in town only does functional reconstructive surgery and basically very little aesthetic eyelid surgery but the general plastic surgeon and the facial plastic surgeon do the bulk of the cosmetic eyelid surgery, then the choice is straight forward. Do your home work and find a surgeon who makes sense to you.
This is a great question. Facial Plastic Surgeons, Plastic Surgeons, Oculoplastic Surgeons all perform blepharoplasty. Many in our fields will also claim that "you should only consult with a ___ surgeon for this procedure." This is usually self-serving a reflects a bias that only a member of a certain subspecialty academy should perform certain procedures. The fact is that most members of the above three specialties will perform good blepharoplasty surgery if that is a focus of their practice. If you consult with a Surgeon from one of these three disciplines and they focus on the eyes and they create great results you are likely in very good hands. I hope this information is helpful for you.
Stephen Weber MD, FACS
Denver Facial Plastic Surgeon
Plastic surgeons, facial plastic surgeons, and oculoplastic surgeons all perform eyelid surgery. More importantly look at the surgical results( Photo gallery) and make sure that you're perspective surgeon is performing lots of eyelid surgery for exactly the type of problem that you have. Some doctors specialize in functional eyelid surgery while others specialize in cosmetic eyelid surgery.