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When should I consider getting a second opinion after eyelid surgery complications?

Published on December 16, 2013

As you recover from an eyelid surgery, you’ll likely have a sense pretty quickly of how your recovery is going. You will most likely know if you are experiencing a complication. After going over what to expect with your doctor ahead of time, you should have a solid understanding of the healing process and how things should progress.

It is possible that your results might not be optimal or a complication could arise. Both you and your surgeon should be watching closely to make sure everything goes well. Most find that their recovery goes smoothly and they are very satisfied with their ultimate results. This is true even if there are a few bumps in the road to healing. Unfortunately situations do arise when things seem far from all right: not a bump, more like major turbulence.

Eyelid Surgery Complications

In these cases, many patients know within a day or two of their surgery there is a problem. They will see or feel that something isn’t right. It is essential to consult the surgeon right away. When there is a complication after a surgery, very few surgeons are able to fully hide their concern. Trying to hide that concern or pretending that the problem does not exist is corrosive to the doctor/patient relationship.

Your feelings about what is going on will rarely be wrong. Your surgeon needs to explain what is going on, why it is happening, and what steps are needed to make the situation better. Dr. Steinsapir has observed that when a surgeon is open and honest and voices concern, patients are very understanding and are willing to hang in there to see if a particular complication will settle down. If a revisional surgery is needed, openness and honesty smooth the way to accepting this revisional surgery to fix a complication.

Honesty and openness are essential ingredients in the chemistry of confidence that carries one through the healing process even if there are unexpected turns in the road including complications. When surgeons pretend that nothing is going on and are unwilling to acknowledge issues, or when patients do not communicate their concerns, this can lead to a brake down in the relationship. The essential bonds needed for healing can be damaged.

Should You Get a Second Opinion?

Faced with such a circumstance, it is appropriate to seek a second opinion regarding what is going on. To be clear, a second opinion is not needed if your are comfortable with your surgeons management. A second opinion makes sense when there is doubt or distrust. The surgeon at your new consultation should give you honest feedback without inflaming the situation, and will most likely encourage you to return to your original surgeon. If the surgeon seems to be too deferential to the first surgeon, ask yourself if this is affecting the objectivity of the consulting surgeon? The consultation may reinforce that the correct clinical course is being followed to manage the complication, or the it may create a necessary pathway to identify a new surgeon capable of taking over the management after the initial surgery and ultimately correct the complication.

Provided that you have confidence in and a positive relationship with your surgeon, characterized by honest communication, and his or her recommendations resonate with you, it is sensible to continue in his or her care. The doctor should validate your concerns and know what steps to next follow. If you have doubts about this process, or if your doctor denies a problem, then it is sensible to ask a second surgeon specializing in oculoplastic surgery for an evaluation. They can provide reassurance and peace of mind, or they can confirm your feelings and open your options to the next best step in your continued care.

If you feel you need a second opinion after eyelid surgery, we invite you to meet with Dr. Steinsapir, a caring leader in eyelid surgery and Associate Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at the Jules Stein Eye Institute, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He is glad to help and provide honest recommendations you can trust.

About Dr. Steinsapir

Dr. Steinsapir is a board certified eye surgeon and fellowship-trained in oculoplastic surgery and cosmetic surgery in Los Angeles where he specializes in balanced facial cosmetic surgery for natural results, with an emphasis on minimally invasive techniques, fast recovery time, and leadership in medical technology. Dr. Steinsapir has a private practice and also serves as an Associate Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology at the Jules Stein Eye Institute, at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Contact us today to learn how Dr. Steinsapir’s experience and training make him an expert in cosmetic surgery, which can be a vital part of your evidence-based treatment plan.

Services described may be “off-label” and lack FDA approval. This article is informational and does not constitute an advertisement for off-label treatment. No services should be provided without a good faith examination by a licensed physician or surgeon and an informed consent with a discussion of risks, benefits, alternatives, and the likelihood of treatment success. Only you and your treating physician or surgeon can determine if a treatment is right for you.

To learn more about procedures and treatments performed by Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Kenneth Steinsapir, contact us at 310-274-7422.

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