Confusing recommendations regarding lower bleph technique that is right for me. Any suggestions?
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Doctor Answers 9
Because of the quality of your lower eyelid skin, I would recommend under eye filler.
Lower lid blepharoplasty
I don't see laxity in your pictures to indicate treatment beyond transconjunctival blepharoplasty and skin quality improvement
Thank you for your question. You’re 52-years-old with olive skin, and you have submitted several photos while asking about clarification about eye bag surgery. You got four opinions from doctors, with two recommending transconjunctival blepharoplasty alone, and two others recommend transconjunctival blepharoplasty with skin/muscle tightening, so naturally, you are confused about what to do. You also state you want to get upper eyelid blepharoplasty.
I can certainly give you some guidance on how I make decisions in my practice for patients like yourself. A little background: I’m a Board-certified cosmetic surgeon and Fellowship-trained oculofacial plastic and reconstructive surgeon. I’ve been practicing in Manhattan and Long Island for over 20 years. Transconjunctival blepharoplasty and eyelid rejuvenation in general are a core part of my practice, along with complex revision surgeries for people who have complications due to eyelid surgery.
It is understandable you are a little confused, but it is important to understand why the doctors recommended skin muscle tightening. When someone like yourself comes to my practice, and this is in the absence of a physical examination, if you have decent skin with no redundant skin in the lower eyelid, which is the case most of the time, then transconjunctival blepharoplasty alone is typically recommended. I do often combine that with skin quality improvement with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) which is derived from your own blood to stimulate collagen and improve skin quality for very thin eyelid skin. For someone with more olive complexion, I will use a thermal energy device like Pelleve to improve the skin quality and tighten the skin to help improve the fine lines and wrinkles. With olive skin, generally good skin, and being only 52, you are not in a terrible situation.
A doctor may recommend skin/muscle tightening because they are concerned about the risk of eyelid retraction with the eyelid being pulled down, or they feel the tendon that supports your lower eyelid is a little loose. This is a judgment call, and I think that one of the things you have to factor in is just understanding how experienced and comfortable the doctors are with doing the procedure as they recommended.
When I consider a procedure to reinforce the corner of the eyelid or the lateral canthal tendon, or do something to change the shape, or deal with some laxity, I always show the patient what would happen if there is a little tightening. From what I can see in your photos, I would be concerned about a little narrowing of the overall shape of the eye with a skin/muscle tightening, or a procedure to support the lower eyelid. I think if you like the shape of your eyes, and you want just to deal with the puffiness, again in the absence of a physical examination, it is likely I would address your situation with transconjunctival blepharoplasty alone.
I always explain to my patients that cosmetic surgery is an art, and we are dealing with the human body in a way that it has to deal with elasticity. From that perspective, if for any reason there is a need for any type of enhancement, then the enhancement can be done later.
In our practice, we have our own facilities approved by the Joint Commission, the same people that inspect hospitals, so for us there is no disincentive to bring a patient back for enhancement. My general tendency is to be conservative first. I would have to agree that the upper eyelid blepharoplasty can certainly help define the shape of your eyes, and a transconjunctival blepharoplasty alone without some kind of skin muscle flap will probably be adequate. I think it is possible that the colleagues who want to do the skin muscle tightening want to do a more external approach, or a blended approach, but I would also caution that in lighter skin people with type 1 or type 2 skin that is very fair, with light eyes, the incisional line just outside the corner can easily blend; however, with people with olive skin, it sometimes can get a little dark. Even though it’s not terrible and a small area, you have to balance if it is worth it, and does it justify that type of procedure. Again, in the absence of a physical exam, I say that often a skin muscle flap may not be needed to support the lower eyelid or improve the shape, but a procedure like a lateral tarsal strip. This is part of the art of cosmetic surgery, so every doctor you meet will bring to the table their experience and artistic perspective.
I think you need to meditate on this and see who you are comfortable with, and trust in their judgment and move forward. If this is a question of whether or not to do the additional procedure, I don’t see any harm doing the transconjunctival blepharoplasty alone, and if necessary doing some kind of support procedure later. I can tell you that 99.9% of the time in my practice, I don’t have to do any additional procedures to enhance a procedure based on my initial evaluation. If someone has a loose tendon or laxity, then I recommend it from the word go. I think you had enough consultations, and you might benefit from having one more to get some perspective on this information I provided. I hope that was helpful, I wish you the best of luck and thank you for your question.
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While an in-person exam is needed to fully assess your eyelids, including testing the strength of your lower lids, based on your skin tone and complexion I think a transconjunctival approach would suit you well. This way you can avoid an incision line below your lashes that could potentially hyperpigment, given your skin color. Also, if your lids are not lax, no canthopexy should be necessary.
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To ensure you are receiving the highest level of care, seek out a modernly trained, new-school dermatologic surgeon, oculoplastic surgeon, facial plastic surgeon or plastic surgeon who is board certified and fellowship trained in one of these "core four" cosmetic specialties.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.