A couple weeks ago I had the asian double eyelid surgery and a lower fat-repositioning blepharoplasty. Here is a brief series of photos before & after the surgery: two weeks' progress

My lids used to be so heavy they covered half my pupils, as you can see in the very first photo in the series above. Interestingly enough, I never actually looked like the first photo, because I always kept my brows lifted up high. This is what I used to look like, with brows raised 24/7: http://imgur.com/c4YnIj0 (Not a head-on shot, but this was the best photo that showed my eyes close up with minimal makeup). Keeping my brows lifted like that gave me some intense tension headaches.

The lower bleph, which does not have as familiar a name, is to remove the bags under your eyes that make you look tired even when you're not. Unlike dark circles, the bags can't be hidden with concealer, which is why I decided to get them removed once and for all!

Ask me anything!

My Proof: http://imgur.com/elX4NAp


People have asked for what my eye look like closed, here it is http://imgur.com/a/qCH4w

Some people have asked for what lower blepharoplasty is like. My doctor offered me two choices: fat removal, or fat repositioning. Fat removal is just removing the fat in the bags under your eyes. Fat repositioning is taking the fat from the bags and then pushing it toward your tear trough to make the underside of your lids have more volume.

Self-diagnosis for a good candidate that I found online involves pressing your cheeks upwards, sort of like how your cheeks become more prominent when you laugh. If that alleviates shadows under your eyes, it's likely you'll benefit from lower blepharoplasty.

From other reviews of the procedure on the Internet, I learned the fat repositioning is better, since fat goes away with age anyway, and without volume under your eyes, you can have a sunken look. IMO the sunken look is pretty wasted-looking, whereas eyebags just look tired.

Edit 2: Some have asked how it feels compared to before the surgery. Well, it's like working out with 5lb weights for a while and then letting go. Suddenly it feels like your arms are weightless. Exactly this, but for my eyelids.

Comments: 1972 • Responses: 32  • Date: 

penguinpug1242 karma

/u/Differently-Aged, who commented thus in the same post on /r/ama that I deleted:

  • Was this done in the US?
  • How much did it cost, and did insurance cover any portion of it?
  • How do you feel this will impact your self-identity?

My reply:

  • Yes, in California

  • The upper lid surgery, by itself, was $2000. The lower lid, which is more involved and takes much longer, was $4000. Combined with nurse fees, consultation fees, and cost of IV and local anesthesia, it amounted up to $8000. I tried to have insurance cover the surgery; the eyelid surgeon was willing to vouch for me, but I needed to go through my primary care physician. She was skeptical about the eyelid surgeon's diagnosis and wanted me to go through physical therapy for the headaches. When I talked to her, I got the vibe that she was against cosmetic surgery, and she tried to talk me into admitting I just wanted to be prettier. So I gave up on getting through her and just paid everything up front instead.

  • I don't think I've had enough time to get used to my new eyelids yet, my face still looks unfamiliar when I look in the mirror. But to most of my friends, I look the same, just more alert. In fact, the first before picture is more alien to me and my friends than my post-surgery photos are. I definitely do look as alert as I feel, which has boosted my self confidence when interacting with people when I don't have concealer caked on my lower lids. The absence of the tension headaches has been heavenly :)

sheepdoc676 karma

You should have taken a nice holiday to Korea and have the procedure done there and still save enough for another two holidays!

mintmarshall30 karma

Is there a reason you didn't do this OP?

penguinpug137 karma

I replied, but for some reason it got downvoted :/

I'm actually Korean, but student VISA expired - so until I get a new one, I can't get back into the states if I go outside. I have a valid status, so I'm staying here as a legal resident alien. I really want to go visit my family, but they'll just have to come to me instead!

DROpher78 karma

Hi /u/penguinpug I have a question for you!

Chinese here, full blooded, annnnd my aunt actually had this procedure done as well. I personally have the double eyelids and my mom would constantly tell me/remind me that I did and said my aunt was unlucky etc. Would you say to some degree there is a bit of a cultural influence as to what made you decide to have it done?

Thanks for taking the time to share with us!

penguinpug115 karma

Being Korean definitely made me warm up to the idea of facial surgery pretty quick - it's so common back home.

But my decision was mostly because of the headaches - I was actually pretty scared I'd look completely different, I sort of liked what I looked like (with brows raised)

VictorVanguard491 karma

What do your eyelids look like when your eyes are closed? Is there any visible scarring?

penguinpug324 karma

Here it is: http://imgur.com/JtwepoO

So there are several ways to go about the asian eyelid surgery. There's the suture method and there's the partial incision, and there's complete incision. For the first two, you don't actually take off any eyelid skin. But since in my case I needed to make my lids lighter, the doctor drew a crescent-moon-shape on each eye and cut them out.

Considering, it's pretty incredible the incisions have healed that much over the last couple weeks!

TheBigBadPanda78 karma

Will they stay pretty much like that or will they keep receding/healing?

penguinpug171 karma

It will eventually fade almost completely, the nurse told me. But that would take about a year.

dripdroponmytiptop108 karma

make sure you rub your eyes with lots of buttery lotion, it won't get rid of the scars but it will help get rid of the redness which is half the battle.

source: family members had facial surgery

penguinpug37 karma

Thanks for the tip!

AshurFelyen420 karma

Were the eyelids restricting vision at all?

penguinpug722 karma

Yes, definitely, if I didn't raise my brows. I suspected I had ptosis, but my surgeon correctly diagnosed that it was the excessive heaviness of my lids that was obstructing my vision.

In real life, though, I kept my eyebrows raised all the time, so I had no problem seeing.

deteugma371 karma

I kept my eyebrows raised all the time, so I had no problem seeing.

Jesus, that sounds exhausting. It's no wonder you had headaches.

penguinpug228 karma

I know!! The thing is, the wrinkles on my forehead were so fine and I didn't even realize I was doing it! Whereas when I ask my bf to try raising his brows to the extent I was used to doing it, he has 10 very deep wrinkles on his forehead and looks incredibly surprised.

AshurFelyen144 karma

How come you waited so long to get the operation? Were the lids always a problem or did it just come with age?

penguinpug349 karma

I think they started becoming a problem in high school - I'm not exactly sure. I have a bad jaw, so I thought the headaches were just TMJ pain. It turns out the TMJ was only responsible for the neck pain and my jaw fatigue. I never associated the headaches with my eyelids until earlier this year.

I don't remember what I was searching for, but I came across a phrase like "Ptosis self-diagnosis: 1. Do you find yourself constantly raising your brows to see better? 2. ..." and then I was like, YES! YES I DO! So I started researching ptosis, and self-diagnosed myself as having ptosis, and decided to go in for a consultation.

AshurFelyen78 karma

Well, thanks for the answers. I wish you the best in your future endeavors.

penguinpug75 karma

Thank you!

TheFunkSoulBrother17 karma

Are you getting surgery for the TMJ, too? I recently just opted out of having it done

robodrew36 karma

Just might want to rethink that. I've ignored my dentists for decades with regards to TMJ and teeth grinding, but then last year I developed tinnitus in one ear that has yet to go away. After finally going to an otologist last month and getting an MRI that was clear, he informed me that the tinnitus (due to being in one ear only) is most likely being caused by teeth clenching. I have since been fitted for a biteguard that I should be getting next week. I'm hoping beyond hope that this helps with the ringing. tl;dr TMJ ain't no joke son.

penguinpug11 karma

I'm thinking of getting botox on my chewing muscles to see if that helps - maybe you should look into it, too!

penguinpug8 karma

I don't think my TMJ is surgery-level fucked up. My right jaw clicks and my left jaw grinds when I open my mouth, but no pain directly associated with that. Sometimes I yawn too loud and I have no idea what's happening but end up clutching my jaw in a sudden pang of pain, but that's about it.

I had a suspicion that it was my old orthodontist who fucked it up - I had braces for three years when I was a teenager and for some reason my orthodontist would only take cash. One day he ground my canines flat without my permission. Another day he accidentally dripped some chemical on my cheeks that left a long burn that needed to be treated by a dermatologist.

So I have invisalign right now, to see if getting my slight overbite fixed would help things. I'm also planning to get botox on my chewing muscles to ease nighttime grinding and clenching. Fingers crossed!

Rorkimaru395 karma

Have you found it difficult breaking the habit of raising your brows? Do you still find yourself doing it subconsciously?

penguinpug466 karma

So I was worried about that when I went through with the surgery. Fortunately, I don't really! Except when I'm talking to people, which I'm trying to consciously fix. Instead of looking alert, now I just look really surprised when I raise my brows. As I should!

acid_wash_farts112 karma

Instead of looking alert, now I just look really surprised when I raise my brows. As I should!

Well, my face has two levels of raised brows. There's alert, and there's surprised. Alert is about half way as high as surprised.

penguinpug15 karma

Yeah, the previous level of brow-raising was definitely the surprised level!

buzzedaldrine382 karma

Did anyone of your friends or relatives raised an eyebrow after the surgery?

penguinpug616 karma

A couple coworkers jokingly talked about me becoming more white (before surgery), but that was it! I went back to work a week after the surgery, and everyone was very interested in what my eyes looked like. The general reactions were - "You look good!", "You still look like you disappointed face", "You definitely look more alert."

I didn't tell my parents about it until my eyes didn't look so freaky anymore (read: sutures, bruising). I brought it up very carefully, because somehow it seemed disrespectful to change a face they gave me. They were sad that I had to go through this far away from home, and my mom actually apologized for giving me heavy eyelid genes, although her own eyes have a natural crease :P But overall they were happy my headaches disappeared and that I liked the new look.

Edit: forgot to add - my boyfriend always told me I have a thousand different faces, so according to him this is just another new face. He was happy that the surgery turned out well. He was a little bit saddened that I didn't resemble a terracotta warrior anymore

buzzedaldrine182 karma

Yeah. You look good. Did your boyfriend get weird stares when you two would go out when you still had the bruises?

penguinpug317 karma

Thanks! While the bruises lasted, I was mostly in bed, recovering and listening to audiobooks.

For two days after surgery, I needed to put frozen peas in a zip-lock bag and put it on my eyes for 30 minutes, then off for 30 minutes. All day long for two days. Afterwards, until the sutures came out, I had to put on the prescribed ointment on my lids, which seeped into my eyes and made everything really blurry - no driving, no walking alone.

I did go watch the World Cup final with my boyfriend at a bar (I didn't drink, tho, wasn't allowed to), and even though I wore plain prescription glasses to mask the bandages (http://imgur.com/a1w3wUj), we did get some stares. But the bandages looked pretty professional, so no scandalized stares, haha. When the bandages came off, the bruises had become yellow, and I'm sort of yellow in the face naturally, so they weren't as apparent :)

midwestprotest201 karma

If you had a child and he/she inherited your (original) facial features, would you recommend or support plastic surgery?

penguinpug248 karma

Definitely. I wouldn't want him/her having tension headaches for life.

It's funny tho - my parents and my sister don't have this problem. They have natural double eyelids too. Hopefully my problem skips a generation!

SnapHook167 karma

Was there any medical reason for this or was it purely aesthetic?

penguinpug359 karma

The lower bleph was purely aesthetic. My upper lid, however, blocked my vision when I didn't have my brows raised. I had no problem seeing properly when I raised my brows, which was always, but keeping them raised created a constant headache I was anxious to get rid of.

bearlegion137 karma

Whats you favourite type of bread?

penguinpug30 karma

Cinnamon raisin bagels from Philz! I also like their blueberry bagels, but those run out fast :(

xietty80 karma


penguinpug41 karma

For sure!

On the day of surgery, the surgeon sat with me and marked my eyelids. He drew crescent moon shapes on both my upper lids where the incision would take place. We both looked at what the crease would look like in the mirror and adjusted the markings a couple times before he was satisfied.

The anesthesiologist also sat me down to ask me several questions about my health. I'd never done anything more than local anesthesia and was scared about being hooked to an IV, but the anesthesia went down without a hitch and I slept very well for about 3 hours. If I had just the upper eyelid surgery, I would have had local anesthesia, but the lower eyelid surgery required that I have sleep anesthesia. Judging from the fact that my cheeks were numb and rubbery afterwards, I probably had local anesthetics in addition to that.

When I woke up there was no pain or soreness, and the creases looked perfect, albeit freaky and bumpy with sutures and swollen.

For the first three days I used frozen peas & ziplock bags every 30 minutes for 20 - 30 minutes at a time to lesson the swelling. I had minimal bruising around the sutures, and had around 1200mg of tylenol (2 pills in the morning, 2 before bed), which helped a lot, albeit making me a bit constipated.

On Monday (surgery was the Wednesday before that) I had my first set of sutures taken out, and it stung a little, but felt marvelous. Dr. Levin also took out the suture on my cheek that held the repositioned fat down while it grafted.

Two weeks after the surgery, I went in again to take the second set of sutures out. These were done with a type of thread that melts, but it takes a very long time to actually melt and people were asking me if I had crusty eyes (the white thread ends were sticking out). It stung, too, but after taking them out my crease looked so much finer, less deep, and more even.

The surgery takes several months to heal, so my crease will be getting more subtle as it heals!

dethonapalehorse77 karma

How detailed where the doctors about how it would look afterwards? I would imagine there is a fear of changing your face too much. (BTW, they did a great job keeping the "essence" of your face the same, if that makes any sense.)

penguinpug82 karma

I picked a surgeon who was very conservative about it. I looked at his before-afters, and every surgery he did was customized for the patient, and the patients looked just like themselves, just with wider eyes.

Yes, I was very worried about ending up looking totally different, but the surgeon and the nurse assured me I would look like myself.


I'm aware that there are two kinds of double eyelid surgeries. One that actually cuts your eyelids and one that doesn't. Which procedure did you have? If you close your eyes, are there scars? If so, will they be permanent?

penguinpug23 karma

Yes! I got the incision method done, because I actually needed to get rid of some eyelid. The suture method is for people who don't have heavy lids.

Here is a picture with my eyes closed, two weeks after surgery: http://imgur.com/JtwepoO

The nurse told me they would eventually fade in the course of a year.

neoliberalconvict30 karma


penguinpug29 karma

I'm extremely happy :)

happywhendrunk25 karma

OP, congrats, this seems like it really went well for you.

  • do you have any trouble closing your eyes now? What about sleeping? If they remove some skin, I'm thinking it could create too much tension when the eyes are shut.

-did you shop around much, either for a lower price or a surgeon with more expertise? Or did you just pick the first or second closest location? Is be curious how much variation there is in price and quality.

penguinpug36 karma

  • On the first night after surgery, my eyes wouldn't close all the way. This scared me: http://imgur.com/sGSRFQo But the doctor assured me it was just because of the swelling. I could close them completely after two days :)

  • I searched on Yelp for 'asian eyelid' in the bay area and picked a list of doctors that had good reviews. I only looked at the reviews where the reviewer actually had gone through surgery. Some were just for the consultation, which isn't very indicative of the doctor's skills, and I dismissed those reviews. If there were ANY reviews about how the surgery result was unsatisfactory, I moved on to the next doctor

From the list of doctors with glowing reviews, I went to their websites and went through all the before & afters for the asian eyelid surgery. I'd self-diagnosed myself with ptosis, so I made sure to look at before & afters for ptosis correction as well, after reading on the Internet that it was a delicate procedure and you needed an experienced doctor for ptosis repair.

My doctor had a lot of before & afters for both asian eyelid surgery and ptosis repair, and besides his office was a ten minute drive away from where I live. Also, he was an eyelid specialist, and I was very keen about that. I'm sure there are many well-rounded doctors out there, but personally I was more comfortable in the hands of a doctor who solely focused on eyelids rather than excelling in breast implants and doing eyelids on the side, etc.

I actually contacted other doctors on the list I'd gathered as well, but I went to a consultation with Dr. Levin first because he could fit me in for the next day right away; someone else had canceled.

During the consultation he was very thorough and I had a chance to see the before & afters that weren't on the website. One thing that I liked was that he tended to be very conservative with his surgeries, and none of the after pictures looked the same - they were all custom tailored to look best for each person, and looked completely natural.

The thing that actually sold me was that during the consultation, there happened to be another patient who'd had the same EXACT surgery two weeks prior (both the upper and lower eyelid surgeries), and I got to talk to the patient face to face. He was really satisfied with the results and he looked great! So I ended up ditching the other doctors and booking a date for the surgery on the spot.

ecbremner23 karma

I see in another comment you say the eyelid blocked your vision. Was this a conscious thing where you literally at all times could see your eyelids on the top of your vision? OR just a general blurriness?

penguinpug26 karma

I never had a problem with vision because I kept my eyebrows raised. But when I consciously held my brows in place, I couldn't see anything above the horizon. It was a flesh-colored gradation.

emicath313 karma

Do you live in the US? Did you feel a social pressure to have this done?

penguinpug26 karma

I live in California. There was no social pressure whatsoever - I didn't feel ugly or anything, and my boyfriend tells me every day that I'm beautiful :) I do feel prettier with wider eyes, though!

Section378 karma

Do you think you can knock Obama off the top AMA spot?

penguinpug4 karma

Wat of course not! They had to have like 100 dedicated servers for him I think haha

CoolCheech7 karma

You did this for strictly cosmetic reasons?

penguinpug56 karma

The lower blepharoplasty was strictly cosmetic. The upper lid was both, but mostly functional - it made it so that I could see properly without having to raise my eyebrows all the time, which made the constant headaches go away like magic!