Cosmetic surgery can make a dramatic difference in the facial appearance. It can make the face look rejuvenated, fresh, and young. However, there may be other reasons patients opt for cosmetic surgery on the facial features. In the case of ethnic cosmetic surgery, patients may be seeking to de-emphasize certain ethnic facial features without dramatically changing the overall appearance of the face. This type of cosmetic surgery requires a fine touch so as not to make the ethnic face look unnatural. Ethnic cosmetic facial surgery can include reshaping the nose, changing the shape and appearance of the eyelids, and re-sculpting the entire face.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, more than 3.2 million ethnic cosmetic surgeries were performed in 2010, which represents an increase of 243 percent since 2000. At total of 25 percent of those patients were Asian. Double eyelid blepharoplasty, or Asian eyelid surgery, is one of the most commonly requested ethnic cosmetic surgeries among Asian patients, along with rhinoplasty (nose job) and the placement of breast implants. In 2010, 761,000 Asian eyelid surgeries were performed.
Asian Eyelids versus Caucasian Eyelids
The main difference between some Asian eyes and Caucasian eyes is in the shape of the actual eyelid itself. Approximately half of all Asian people do not have a second eyelid crease. This second crease runs closely parallel to the eyelash line. By comparison, Caucasians have a second eyelid crease that tapers, creating an upside down U shape. The Asian eye is also about 20 percent smaller than the Caucasian eye.
Asian Eyelid Surgery Techniques
Suture technique: In the suture technique, sutures are used create the eyelid fold or to make it deeper. The advantage to this procedure is that it is less invasive than the incision technique, so there will be minimal bruising and swelling, along with a faster healing time. The main disadvantage is that the sutures may loosen over time, resulting in a loss of the deeper eyelid fold. Newer techniques use one continuous suture and more anchoring to reduce the possibility of sutures coming loose. In most cases, the procedure takes about 30 minutes. Recovery time is minimal, and patients can generally return to normal activities within 72 hours after the procedure.
Incision technique: The incision technique is used for patients with excess or thick upper eyelid skin. Excess skin and soft tissue is removed, and the lid is then affixed to either the levator muscles (which lift and lower the eyelids) or the tarsus (cartilage between levator muscles and upper eyelid. The main advantage to this procedure is that the fold is more likely to stay in place than with the suture technique. The main disadvantage is that the procedure is more invasive, which may mean more bruising and swelling, as well as a longer healing time than with the suture technique. Healing usually takes from seven to 10 days.
With ethnic cosmetic surgery, surgeons must achieve a delicate balance between enhancing features and removing entirely what makes those features unique. In the hands of a skilled cosmetic surgeon, Asian patients can have the best possible features, but with a natural look.
Contact Dr. Paul Pin to schedule an eyelid surgery consultation.