Opthamologist or Plastic Surgeon for Eyelid Surgery?

I am turning 60 soon and have asked a number of people for recommendations on who to perform upper and lower eyelid surgery. Some recommend a plastic surgeon and some recommend an opthamologist. I am confused as to which is better. I am very nervous about having this surgery and will have to return to work 5 days post op. Thanks for advice in advance!

Doctor Answers 17

Who should do my eyelid surgery

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I agree with Dr. Amadi. Be sure to check the credentials of your surgeon regardless of who they say they are and use only those that have a true fellowship based plastic, facial plastic or oculo-plastic surgery training. This is important in that your surgeon's technical and aesthetic training is appropriate as they are more acutely aware of the things to treat and those to avoid. Lower eyelid surgery is more technically demanding with more recent advances and this requires a skilled and experienced surgeon.  As a plastic surgeon, I do not put in lenses for catraracts and your opthomologist shouldn't do eyelid surgery without additional plastic fellowship training. Look for results of your surgeon too. I think that 5 days may be too soon to return to work but this is dependent on the complexity of the surgery. 

Plastic Surgery of the Eyelid

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Plastic surgeons and ophthalmic surgeons have surgical training in eyelid surgery. Of course, not all training is the same. It is wise for a prospective patient to be informed about the training, experience, expertise and record of safety of any surgeon you are considering. It is also important to carefully check out the facility where the surgery will be performed and the medical team who will be working with your surgeon.

Looking at many, many before and after images of work the surgeon has performed is very important. Some surgeons, in my opinion remove too much skin and leave the upper and or lower lids with a pulled or hollowed look. In my opinion, great surgery gives people a beautiful result, but does not make people as though they have had surgery.

Michael Law, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

Eyelid Surgery

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It is the quality of work by the surgeon, not just the specialty. Ophthalmic plastic surgeons have specialized in eyelid surgery with advanced training. That being said, ask people in the community and certainly look at before and after pictures from the physicians that you may consult with during the visit. The end result is what you are looking for and clearly state what expectations you may have after the surgery.

David S. Felder, MD
Fort Lauderdale Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 91 reviews

Opthamologist or Plastic Surgeon for Eyelid Surgery?

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 Both are well qualified as are Facial Plastic Surgeons and Cosmetic Surgeons. It's far more important that, the surgeon you choose, understands and follows the proper aesthetics of facial beauty including the importance of the eyebrows and eyelids.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Experience matters more than the type of surgeon.

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There are three types of surgeons that perform eyelid surgery:  plastic surgeons, facial plastic surgeon, and oculoplastic surgeons.

Experience matters more than the type of surgeon. It is important to ask your surgeon how many eyelid surgeries they perform per year, and ask for before and after photos to evaluate their results.

If you decide to see an Ophthalmologist, make sure that he/she is an ASOPRS trained Oculoplastic surgeon, and not an general Ophthalmologist, as they would not have enough experience with eyelid plastic surgery.

You can find one using the link provided below.

A.J. Amadi, MD
Seattle Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Eyelid surgery specialist

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You pay a lot of money, you take time off work, you look bruised for a while;  of course you want the best surgeon to do the work!  It's important that you do some homework before you undergo this type of surgery.  Friends and colleagues may steer you toward one or two surgeons.  Your primary care physician may have some recommendations.  Ultimately I think it's best that women visit with two or three surgeons before undergoing eyelid surgery.  Whether an ophthalmologist who specializes in eyelid surgery does your surgery or a plastic surgeon does your surgery may not be as important as you think.  What IS important is that your surgeon is knowledgeable about eyelid surgery, is thoughtful and skillful in performing the surgery, listens to what you want from the surgery, and explains everything to you before the surgery.  You absolutely need to feel comfortable with the surgeon you choose.  Some women are able to return to work in 5 days if they don't mind answering a lot of questions about why they look the way they do, including having some bruising and maybe some stitches.  If you're not comfortable with that, you might need to delay returning to work beyond 5 days.

Kelly R. Kunkel, MD
Fort Worth Plastic Surgeon

Unrealistic Expectations

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The question of which specialty is less relevant than your expectations.  Well trained and experienced Plastic Surgeons and Oculoplastic Surgeons can perform the procedure.  Return to work 5 days postop is unrealistic.  You will be swollen, bruised and have difficulty focusing, not to mention the unwanted attention due to your appearance or the sunglasses you are wearing indoors.  Consider delaying the procedure until you have more time for recovery. All the best.

Selecting a surgeon for eyelid surgery

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You should research perspective surgeons and ask for recommendation from trusted individuals such as your personal physician.   Pick a surgeon who you are comfortable with.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Eyelid surgery by which doctor?

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I think that a well qualified plastic surgeon or oculoplastic can do a fine job. Ask around and look at their work.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Plastic Surgeons and Ophtalmologist Perform Eyelid Surgery

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I agree with Dr. Stephenson, both plastic surgeons and ophthalmologists are trained in eyelid surgery.  Eyelid surgery is also the most frequently performed cosmetic proceure so surgeons in both specialties tend to do eyelid surgery fairly regularly.  I would suggest you select a specialist with whom you feel comfortable.  Returning to work at day 5 after surgery is a reasonable goal.  However, swelling and bruising are very common after eyelid surgery and usually lasts for about a week.  If you return to work after 5 days, this swelling and bruising may not have fully subsided.  Glasses and makeup can be helpful for camouflage.

Jonathan Sonne, MD
Naples Facial Plastic Surgeon

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.