The first thing you should do if you’re worrying about the results of a blepharoplasty is take a deep breath and ask yourself if you’ve had enough time to heal. It is common for people to feel anxious for the first few weeks after surgery and wonder if they made the right decision. This can lead to excessive worrying which is often unnecessary.
If performed by a skilled and experienced surgeon, eyelid surgery almost always leads to satisfactory results, but it does take several weeks to heal and for the swelling to go away. Most people who worry that their blepharoplasty was a mistake do so before their eyes have had time to heal and before the final results can be seen.
Your surgery should be socially passable after about two weeks, while you may personally be aware of some swelling for two or even three months. After this, you are in the advanced stages of healing, and final results can be seen after six to twelve months.
Three Reasons to Express Concern
There are three general answers to this question. First, your surgeon will be happy to address all your concerns as they arise and will urge you to keep communication open. Usually your concerns can be eased by an explanation of the normal, natural healing process. Before and after surgery, you should openly and honestly discuss your questions with your surgeon to get a good idea of what to expect from the surgery. In this regard, it is appropriate to bring up all your concerns with your surgeon as they arise, noting that it’s important to trust his or her explanations about the healing process, especially if your experiences align with what you’re told to expect. You need time for the tissues to heal and swelling to go down before you can see the full benefits of your blepharoplasty. In the meantime, keep communication open. First and foremost, do not be afraid to tell your doctor what’s on your mind, even if your concern is nothing to worry about, which is most likely. Remember that you have a responsibility to educate yourself and keep your doctor informed about your condition. If you hide the truth from a doctor, how can you expect to be helped? We always encourage you to talk about your experiences and ask questions, even if you suspect your concerns are unwarranted.
These next two instances reflect time when there may be some cause for concern. The second time you should express concern is if you are experiencing excessively dry eyes or trouble closing your eyes, which may not be cause for alarm, but it’s important to tell your doctor about these symptoms. It’s common after any eye surgery, including cataract surgery, to experience dry eyes, which usually return to normal within six weeks. If your eyes are uncomfortably dry, you can treat them with artificial tear drops available at the pharmacy. Talk to your doctor about this to keep the both of you informed. In extremely rare cases, over-aggressive surgery may make it difficult to completely open or close the eye if too much tissue has been removed, in which case revisional surgery may be needed soon.
You can see the final results of your blepharoplasty after six to twelve months. After this time is the third instance when it is appropriate to express concern. Now that you have finished or almost finished healing, you can reasonably think about the outcome of your surgery. Do you like it? Is it what you’d hoped for? What do your closest friends think of the outcome? If you are dissatisfied with the results or hope for more improvement, it is now appropriate to bring these concerns to your doctor.
I’m considering reconstructive surgery. What now?
It’s not obvious to everyone, but the first thing you should do is contact the surgeon who performed the original surgery. A lack of 100% satisfaction does not mean that your doctor can’t address your needs or isn’t skilled enough to solve your problem. There may have been a miscommunication, a rare outcome, or you may be misinterpreting your results. There is probably no one more invested in ensuring that you’re happy with the outcome than the surgeon who originally performed the procedure. Your operative surgeon will be highly motivated to improve your results. This is a mutually beneficial option.
Occasionally, eyelid surgery patients experience a breakdown in the doctor-patient relationship. This can happen in any relationship and, like in any other kind of relationship, the degradation may not always be resolvable or one you are willing to repair. If this is the case, it’s entirely reasonable to seek a second opinion. He or she will be able to continue your follow-up care, monitor your progress, and perform reconstructive surgery if necessary. When appropriate, this new doctor may also facilitate communication with your original surgeon, in some cases restoring a diminished professional relationship back to one of mutual confidence and functionality.
When you are not confident returning to your formal surgeon for whatever reason, seek a fellowship-trained oculoplastic surgeon and member of the American Society for Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ASOPRS). These doctors have the most comprehensive training in eyelid surgery and complication management.
The Difference of a Second Opinion
A second opinion can work wonders in resolving problems with an old surgeon or establishing confidence in a new surgeon who can completely resolve the issues lingering from prior surgery. It’s important to recognize that doctor-patient relationship breakdowns are rare and can usually be resolved. However, if you are experiencing a lack of confidence, a second opinion consultation is appropriate. Dr. Steinsapir is happy to provide second opinion consultations. Dr. Steinsapir’s philosophy is to keep communication clear and ongoing while providing close follow-up post surgery to monitor the healing progress. Occasionally, individuals wish to transfer care and not communicate with their original surgeon. This of course is your right. Simply communicate your desire at the time of your consultation with Dr. Steinsapir. Contact us today to find out how Dr. Steinsapir can address your concerns and improve your blepharoplasty experience.