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Section: Basics

Ten Basic Questions & Answers

If you're relatively new to the topic, what follows are short answers to ten common but practical questions.

Aren't most cosmetic surgeons good at double eyelid surgery?
Isn't an Asian surgeon better for an Asian patient?
What about traveling to Asia for eyelid surgery?
Which is the most requested crease height?
At how young an age can I undergo eyelid surgery?
Is there an upper age limit?
How different will I look afterwards?
Will I still look Asian?
Can other facial surgery be performed simultaneously?
How perfect is the final result?

Q: When it comes to double eyelid surgery, aren't most cosmetic surgeons more or less the same?

A: According to statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, there were more than 24,000 physicians likely to perform cosmetic surgery in 2012. During the year, just over 150,000 blepharoplasty operations were performed. Approximately 4% of patients undergoing cosmetic surgery were of Asian ethnicity.

Thus, the average cosmetic surgeon performs about one Asian eyelid operation every four years.

Q: Isn't an Asian surgeon better for an Asian patient?

A: Only if it is also true that women should have their surgery performed by female doctors, men by male doctors, Occidental patients by non-Asian surgeons, and younger patients by doctors fresh out of medical school.

Most "Asian" doctors in this country have been raised and trained in the United States. What matters far more than a family name or where the surgeon's parents were born are the quality of his or her training, skill, reputation, sense of aesthetics, interest in, and, most of all, experience with this highly demanding type of surgery.

Q: What about traveling to Asia for eyelid surgery?

A: While medical tourism is an option for the adventuresome, it comes with a number of significant challenges including finding a good doctor, marked language barriers, a different doctor-patient relationship, safety concerns, getting around in a strange place, lack of follow-up, and different standards of care.

While the price of the procedure itself may be less, the expense of traveling across the ocean and any number of hidden costs can more than eliminate any perceived savings. If problems develop after returning to the United States, you are likely to find yourself "on your own."

Q: Which is the most requested crease height?

A: For ladies, low or medium. For men, low. More

Q: At how young an age can one undergo cosmetic eyelid surgery?

A: In the Orient, it is not uncommon for young teenagers (or even pre-teens) to undergo double eyelid surgery. With rare exceptions, the minimum age at which we accept patients for cosmetic surgery is 18. Most of our patients are over age 20.

Q: Is there an upper age limit?

A: From a strictly medical standpoint, no; from an aesthetic standpoint, yes. Because double eyelid surgery is an operation based on the rearrangement of internal structure rather than simple tissue subtraction, it typically works best on younger people with good skin elasticity and stronger internal eyelid anatomy. In older patients, in those with sagging, thick, or damaged skin, or in those with noticeable facial aging, results after double eyelid surgery are less predictable and may appear less harmonious with the rest of the face.

Q: How different will I look afterwards?

A: That depends on how you look to start, how aggressive you wish to be, and how sensitive you are about your result. If you already possess a natural crease but want it to be higher and more defined, such a result may be achieved without most friends being able to tell you've had surgery. On the other hand, if you have a very thick eyelid and absolutely no crease at all, it may take a while to get used to your new look.

Q: Will I still look Asian?

A: Yes. The surgically-created crease more resembles the crease that occurs naturally in over half of the Asian population as opposed to mimicking the shape of the Occidental crease. Epicanthal folds will still be present, as will, of course, the rest of your facial features.

Q: Can Asian blepharoplasty be performed simultaneously with other plastic surgery such as rhinoplasty?

A: While the answer is technically "yes," the swelling from the rhinoplasty or other facial procedures may not be helpful during eyelid healing.

Q: How perfect is the final result?

A: Counting on perfection or near-perfection is not realistic. See How Precise Are the Results? From Bleparoplasty 101, see Patient Satisfaction and Psychological Considerations.

Next: Incisional "Cutting" Surgery

asian eyelid surgery 101
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Frank Meronk, Jr., M.D.
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