Asian Eyelid Surgery
A single eyelid is a common characteristic among individuals of East Asian descent. It is a natural and attractive feature and, in most cases, does not impair the function of the eye or cause vision problems. A “monolid,” as it is sometimes called, results from the absence of a “supratarsal” or upper eyelid crease. However, without this crease, the upper eyelid can sometimes look puffy or droopy and make the eye look smaller.
Although many famous Asian celebrities have a monolid, many Asian men and women would prefer to have a “double eyelid” rather than a monolid since it more closely matches their own, individual standards of beauty. A double eyelid can be achieved, for those who desire this look, through an Asian blepharoplasty or eyelid surgery. This surgery is designed to create a soft, very natural looking and attractive crease in the upper eyelid, producing a double eyelid.
If you have an Asian eyelid surgery, it will change the appearance of your eye in several ways. After surgery, your upper eyelid will have a visible and functional crease and also your eye will appear larger as a result. With more of the eye now visible, you will now have an eye which appears much brighter in comparison to your former look. This change to your eyes can also have a positive and enhancing effect on the rest of our face, as well.
While you will be able to enjoy all these noticeable and desired changes after treatment, in the hands of a skilled board-certified plastic surgeon, the unique features of your eyes, which help define your identity, will still be preserved. In other words, after surgery, you will not look like “someone else” but rather like a more attractive version of yourself.
Exquisite and beautiful results are possible when you have your treatment performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon with a profound understanding of Asian features and facial anatomy and expert knowledge of Asian blepharoplasty surgery. If you live in the East Bay area, you have a surgeon with these qualifications available to you in Dr. Haena Kim of HK Facial Plastic Surgery. In Dr. Kim’s hands, you can enjoy results which celebrate the beauty of the Asian double eyelid as well as your unique facial features.
What is an Asian blepharoplasty?
Over 50 percent of the East Asian population have a monolid, an eyelid without the supratarsal fold. As a result, Asian eyelid surgery has become a widely-requested and often-performed procedure. The surgery can safely and reliably produce an upper eyelid crease which can enhance your eyes and precisely realize the look you desire after surgery. After Asian blepharoplasty, patients enjoy a more open eye devoid of puffiness, a brighter eye area and greater symmetry, which can enhance the entire face while preserving the details which make you recognizably you.
An Asian blepharoplasty, or "double eyelid" surgery, creates an upper eyelid crease in an individual who either has a pre-existing low or non-visible crease. There are a few limitations to this surgery. For example, how high your crease can be made is dictated by each your peri-orbital anatomy, soft-tissue thickness, the amount of upper eyelid fat and your overall skin quality and thickness. These factors cannot be controlled by surgery and may limit what Dr. Kim can achieve, in some cases.
Many Asians also have a weakened levator muscle attachment, which results in a lowered upper eyelid and a "sleepy" look. This condition also referred to as “ptosis,” is often unwanted. If ptosis is present, this can be corrected at the time of your procedure. Correcting this issue will add some time to your procedure and difficulty to your recovery but most patients who desire this improvement are pleased with the time investment and results.
The Benefits an Asian Eyelid Surgery Can Provide
Asian eyelid surgery does not create a more “Western-looking” eyelid. Instead, it creates an upper eyelid crease that improves the definition of the upper eyelid in Asian patients while preserving and celebrating the eyes’ unique and beautiful Asian characteristics. The surgery is complex and, for this reason, you will want to select a board-certified facial plastic surgeon who not only has expertise in eyelid surgery but also specifically in Asian eyelid surgery. Your surgeon should have and be able to demonstrate a deep understanding of and respect for the anatomy of Asian eyes. Selecting such a surgeon can secure many benefits.
A highly-qualified board-certified facial plastic surgeon can enhance your appearance while preserving your look and cultural heritage and also keeping you completely safe throughout treatment. The benefits patients enjoy from Asian blepharoplasty are numerous.
- You will have eyes that appear larger and also more expressive
- You will enjoy improved facial symmetry and harmony among your facial features
- You will have raised and better defined upper eyelids
- You will have reduced puffiness with trimmer-looking eyelids
- You can have better results from eye makeup if you wear it
- You will have minimized eyelid laxity (ptosis) and an improved line of sight
Methods Used in Asian Blepharoplasty
There are two common methods used to achieve your results in an Asian blepharoplasty procedure. The two methods are referred to as the incisional method and the suture method. There are several key differences between the procedures and, depending on your needs, you may derive more benefit from one technique rather than the other. So that you understand the distinctions between the two techniques before your consultation, information on each is provided below.
The Incisional Method
If the incisional method is used, Dr. Kim will create a full-length incision at the desired height of the upper eyelid fold. This will require a dissection to the levator aponeurosis; this is the sheet of pearl-colored, fibrous tissue which functions as a tendon for the eyelid’s levator muscle. After any necessary excision of skin and fatty tissue is performed, Dr. Kim will fix the upper layers of the dermis to this structure or the upper portion of the tarsal plate. While this technique uses a full incision and has a longer recovery time, the method offers patients the most comprehensive results post-surgery.
However, this method is not the ideal method for all patients. In Asians, there is frequently an extra fatty layer prohibiting the attachment of the dermis to the tarsal plate and levator. The thickness of this fatty layer varies from person to person (and even from the right to the left eye) and the amount of excess tissue can affect the sharpness of the crease and a patient’s ultimate results. Since this fatty layer is necessary to create a smooth glide plane for the layers of the upper eyelid, too much removal can lead to a build-up of scar tissue and change both the appearance and function of the eyelid.
Additionally, some patients may have visible, excess fat in the upper eyelid area. This peri-orbital fat can be removed safely during surgery without impeding the overall upper eyelid mechanics. This form of treatment is often requested when there is significant fat protrusion which is posing cosmetic or functional concerns. However, excision of peri-orbital fat should be performed cautiously and conservatively in younger patients to prevent a pre-mature hollowing and aging of the upper eyelid. A healthy amount of facial fat is crucial to maintaining a youthful and attractive look.
The Suture Method
Some patients can have the results they desire using an alternate but equally effective surgical technique referred to as the suture method. This approach has some advantages over the incisional method. For one, the suture method is slightly less invasive. In addition, the suture method can be performed using only a local anesthesia, making the procedure less involved overall. Rather than make a broad incision across the eyelid, Dr. Kim will instead make much smaller incisions across the eyelid crease, through which she will pass the sutures that will anchor the overlying skin to the muscle layer, creating your crease.
This alternate treatment method can achieve the same results as the incisional method, for some patients, while taking less time to perform. Typically, patients electing this form of surgery can have their treatment completed in about 30 minutes. Downtime is also reduced, on average, to about 48 hours and recovery is also somewhat shorter.
Results from both procedures, however, are extremely long-lasting and are not a factor in the decision-making process for the majority of patients. It is important to note that each patient is unique and they will have their own results despite having the same technique used as another patient. The goal of both treatments is to produce a look that is individual and beautiful.
Which technique is right for me?
Regardless of which form of treatment you select, you will have an attractive eyelid crease and many improvements to the eye and face as a whole after surgery. However, there are distinct advantages and drawbacks to each surgical technique. Also, your unique anatomy and goals will play a major factor in determining which form of treatment will produce the best results for you. This is where Dr. Kim’s in-depth knowledge of Asian facial anatomy, beauty standards and Asian eyelid surgery techniques will benefit you.
In your consultation, Dr. Kim will review your anatomy to determine what crease height will be natural, reasonable and attractive and harmonize well with your other features. She will also help you fully understand the outcome of your surgery as well as the recovery process afterward. Also, some patients may require an additional procedure, an epicanthoplasty, at the inner corner of the eye to help with crease formation. This aspect of your treatment can be done under local anesthesia or with sedation. Dr. Kim will help determine which option would be most beneficial.
Dr. Kim will also review any medications you are currently taking and will help you determine which vitamins and supplements are safe to continue using prior to surgery. However, all non-essential supplements and vitamins should be discontinued at least two weeks prior to your surgery, for your safety. Many herbal supplements and even continued NSAID usage can lead to prolonged bruising and bleeding during the procedure and are discouraged pre-operatively to promote a smooth recovery.
During your consultation, you will receive a thoughtful and comprehensive recommendation, based on Dr. Kim’s expertise and years of experience. You will also have all of the information you will need made available to you to reach a fully informed decision about how to proceed. Dr. Kim will ensure you have ample time during and after your consultation to ask any questions you may have about your proposed treatment plan and to have any concerns directly addressed. You will never be rushed into making a decision as important as altering the appearance of, perhaps, the most expressive aspect of your face, your eyes.
However, so that you enter your consultation with Dr. Kim fully prepared, here is some information on when each technique may be worth considering. The incisional method is often a better option for patients who have needs which are more complex and wish to have the longest-lasting results. On the other hand, the suture method often makes more sense for younger patients who will not require the excision of either skin tissue or fat to achieve their results. Also, patients more concerned about having a speedy recovery with less downtime may want to select the suture method to achieve those goals. Regardless of which option you choose, you can rely on Dr. Kim to get you the results you want, as she has with countless previous patients.
Am I a good candidate for Asian eyelid surgery?
Your decision to have Asian eyelid surgery is a highly personal choice and, as with all cosmetic procedures, there is no single answer about whether to proceed with treatment. It is critical to note that if you do choose to have Asian eyelid surgery, both your unique, individual look and cultural heritage will be preserved, enhanced and celebrated. You will simply have the benefit of an additional feature which provides increased definition to the eye area. For individuals who care deeply about having this feature as a part of their look, the benefits of Asian eyelid surgery are readily apparent.
Further, any candidate for cosmetic surgery — whether they are considering an Asian eyelid surgery or another treatment — should have reasonable expectations about the results which surgery can achieve. Dr. Kim will carefully explain what look treatment can provide in your case and provide examples of prior patients, who she has treated and have shared similar concerns to yours. Provided with this information, you will have the best possible understanding of the outcome you can expect from your surgery. As a direct result, you will be much more likely to be pleased with your result afterward.
One of the primary benefits of Asian eyelid surgery, and of cosmetic procedures in general, is their ability to remedy or enhance a feature of the face or body which has caused the prospective patient undue concern, adversely affecting their mood, confidence or overall wellbeing. If the appearance of your eyes as they are now is a source of self-consciousness and has contributed to emotional or psychological distress, you are a very good candidate for the procedure and should fully explore your options, without hesitation. The benefits of surgery extend much further than an altered appearance. They can be completely life-changing as well.
What should I look for when choosing a surgeon to perform my Asian eyelid surgery?
If you are considering having an Asian blepharoplasty, you will want to assess your surgeon carefully, using many of the same criteria you would to vet any board-certified facial plastic surgeon. Your surgeon will have the largest sole impact on the safety and quality of your surgery and your ultimate results. When selecting your surgeon, you will want to consider each of the following factors, obtaining satisfactory evidence wherever possible.
- How many Asian eyelid procedures have you performed this month or in the past year? Were you the primary surgeon during these treatments?
- Have you been board certified by either the American Board of Otolaryngology in Head and Neck Surgery, the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, or both?
- Have you experienced complications during an Asian blepharoplasty procedure, and if you have, how did you resolve those issues? Was the patient pleased with their results?
- Can you offer referrals from past patients who can discuss their experience with you as their surgeon?
- Can you share before and after photos of past patients who have recently had an Asian blepharoplasty procedure with you?
If you are searching for a board-certified facial plastic surgeon who meets all of these criteria and qualifications, you can schedule your consultation now with Dr. Haena Kim at HK Facial Plastic Surgery. Dr. Kim can quickly give you the assurance you need to plan your course of treatment and have your surgery with complete confidence, so you can quickly enjoy the results you expect.
What will happen when I arrive for my Asian blepharoplasty procedure?
Asian blepharoplasty follows much the same surgical procedure as an upper or lower blepharoplasty does. It is performed as an outpatient procedure and typically will take two hours or less of surgery. You will be able to return home after a brief period of observation post-surgery.
Before you can have your surgery, however, you must arrange for transportation to and from the surgical center, since you will be unable to drive yourself after surgery. Your vision will be temporarily impaired and, also, you will still be under the influence of anesthesia.
After arriving at the surgical center, you will be prepared for your procedure by first receiving sedation with local anesthesia or general anesthesia. Dr. Kim will recommend the best option for you, depending on the extent of your surgery. However, either option will keep you comfortable during treatment and assure your safety.
Subsequently, your treatment areas will be cleansed and Dr. Kim will mark the skin where your incisions will be made. After verifying these markings, Dr. Kim will begin the process of creating your desired crease in the appropriate location, using the method agreed upon during your consultation. After augmentation has been completed, the surgeon will close your incision with sutures.
After surgery, Dr. Kim will require that you remain in the surgical center for a brief period of time for monitoring to ensure your safety. You will be able to return home a short time later. Complications from surgery are very rare, so this measure is primarily a precaution.
What can I expect during recovery from my Asian eyelid surgery?
While the eyes can heal very quickly, they also can swell considerably. This is especially true of recovery from an Asian blepharoplasty, which is a complicated procedure that takes place in a very small space, having a much more significant impact on the skin. To aid the recovery process, Dr. Kim will apply a pressure dressing that she will recommend you wear for the first 24 hours. You will also benefit from icing the area over the next two to three days, which will further minimize swelling and increase your comfort.
Also, it is best to relax in the days immediately following surgery, avoiding any heavy activity which could potentially stress your sutures, pose complications and harm your results. You will experience some tightness in your eyes, especially while squinting, due to your sutures. This is completely natural and temporary. Your sutures will be removed between five and seven days after surgery, which will alleviate this problem, however. You can also minimize any inconvenience and maximize your comfort by avoiding bright areas and wearing dark glasses throughout recovery.
Your eyes will tend to swell again after your sutures are removed, so do not be surprised if you leave your surgeon’s offices more swollen again, at this stage of treatment. However, the vast majority of swelling resolves by week two, to the point that many people would not be able to tell you have recently had surgery. You should expect small amounts of residual swelling above and below the incision for several months after, as well.
These smaller areas of swelling are due to the placement of anchor sutures deeper in the eyelid. They can prolong excess swelling and also affect the appearance of the upper eyelid. As a result, you may experience some minor asymmetries for up to six months after your procedure. However, these changes will be virtually imperceptible to others. In time, these anomalies will fully resolve themselves, leaving you with a completely balanced and attractive look.
Dr. Kim will provide you with complete instructions to guide you through recovery prior to your surgery. This stage of treatment will also be discussed with you at length, pre-operatively, so you can prepare in advance. Recovering from an Asian blepharoplasty is extremely manageable and will be even easier if you take reasonable efforts to prepare for your recovery ahead of time. For example, arranging for help at home for the first two to three days after your surgery can significantly enhance your comfort, allow you to relax and help protect your results.
What results can I expect from Asian eyelid surgery?
Final results from your Asian eyelid procedure will appear within two to three weeks after your surgery. Initially, swelling will obscure your new eyelid crease but, as this symptom subsides, the new feature of your eyelids will become more readily apparent. Also, your new eyelid crease will likely look higher than you may have expected it to in the early part of recovery. This is a natural but temporary result of the healing process. As your eyelids heal, your eyelid skin will gradually become more supple and your creases will also lower to their intended position, which was agreed upon with your surgeon during your consultation.
Along with a new eyelid crease, you will also experience eyes which appear more open, less puffy and brighter, while preserving those aspects of your eyes and face that make you attractive and recognizably you. When you have your surgery performed by an experienced board-certified facial plastic surgeon, like Dr. Haena Kim, you can also enjoy eyes which harmonize with and enhance your entire facial appearance. You will not look like you had a cosmetic procedure. Instead, you will look delicately refreshed and more attractive.
Your results will also be long-lasting. The outcome of your surgery can easily last many years, giving you ample time to enjoy your results, worry-free. Of course, aging is inevitable and will affect the delicate skin of your eyes, eventually, and this may impact your results in the coming years. However, these changes will occur gradually and are not an immediate cause for concern.
An Asian Eyelid Surgery Performed by Leading Eye Surgeon Dr. Haena Kim Can Give You the Beautiful Look You Deserve
Your eyes say more about you than almost any other feature. This is one but not the only reason you deserve to have the eye appearance you want. If you have a single-lidded eye but have longed for an upper eyelid crease, you can now achieve this beautiful and highly-desirable feature safely with a surgery performed by Asian blepharoplasty expert, Dr. Haena Kim, at HK Facial Plastic Surgery. Call HK Facial Plastic Surgery today at (925) 891-4135 to schedule your in-person consultation with Dr. Kim and get started with a procedure that can change your look and your life. Dr. Kim looks forward to helping you achieve and surpass your aesthetic goals now.
Frequently Asked Questions
The simple answer to this is everyone’s eye anatomy is different. For example, the shape of the globe (eyeball) may protrude or be deep-set. The thickness of excess fatty tissue beneath the muscle may also vary as well as the thickness of the skin itself. You are not a “cookie-cutter” replica of anyone else, and so your surgical result will be different from everyone else’s, as well. Your results will be uniquely you and attractive.
You will have visible sutures for five to seven days, as well as redness and bruising in your treatment areas. However, many people feel comfortable enough to go back to work after the first week and still others will return to work with their sutures still in place. Your comfort is the primary factor in determining when you can resume social and work engagements. Nonetheless, you should plan to remain at home for the first 48 to 72 hours to ensure your safety.
You should put your workouts on hold for about three weeks after surgery, especially if you usually partake in more strenuous activities, such as contact or high-intensity sports and weightlifting. These kinds of activities tend to increase your heart rate (that is why you do them!) and blood pressure. This can affect your healing incisions and there is a risk you may impair your results. Also, these activities will tend to prolong your swelling, which could encourage the build-up of scar tissue. This, too, could harm your results. Dr. Kim will recommend applying biocorneum to your incisions after your sutures have been removed, as this is a highly-effective, silicone-based scar tissue treatment that includes SPF. This can help minimize scar tissue and prevent unwanted discoloration of this extremely delicate tissue.