Approximately half of all Asian people are born with an upper eyelid crease that helps define the shape of the eye. This makes it easier to apply eye makeup and makes experiencing saggy or drooping upper eyelids less likely as you age. If half of all Eastern Asian people have an eyelid crease, of course, that means half do not and many people prefer the look of a creased, or double, eyelid. Luckily, eyelid surgery is now a viable option.
The two main types of Asian double eyelid surgery are the incision, and non-incision varieties. The names of these procedures explain the fundamental difference between the two fairly clearly — one uses an incision to create a crease in the upper eyelid, the other doesn’t — but do little to explain the subtler differences with regards to the suitability of either procedure for a particular patient or situation.
Incision-based eyelid surgery is mostly suitable for patients with fatty tissue in and around the eyelid, or who have particularly thick eyelid skin. The incision allows your surgeon to remove some of the fatty tissue, allowing for more flexibility in contouring your eyelid crease and, in the case of excessive or thicker than normal skin, allows for the removal of some of that tissue as well.
The ability to remove tissue that might otherwise interfere with the formation of the crease allows for more reliable results when compared to the suture methods, and those results are permanent, which is not the case for purely suture-based methods. This increased reliability and level of permanence is at the expense of longer recovery times and a slightly greater chance of visible scarring.
Suture-based methods of Asian double eyelid surgery are suitable for patients with thinner skin at the eyelid, and who do not have noticeable fatty deposits. With this method, the crease is formed by folding the skin of the eyelid and then, effectively, sewing the folds together with sutures. There are a number of variations on the suture technique, some even using micro-incisions, but they all share this same basic process.
If you’ve had a non-incision-based procedure you can expect the results to last several years, but not permanently. For many people this impermanence, as well as the ability to reverse the procedure, makes it the more attractive option. It also generally requires less time for recovery – patients are often comfortable going back to work in one to two weeks — which is important to many people.
Ultimately, the type of procedure that will best suit your needs and goals is something that can only be determined in a consultation with your surgeon. Call Dr. Liu to book that consultation, and find out what your options are.
Dr. Perry Liu is a board certified plastic surgeon. His skills embody the convergence of art and medicine that is the essence of aesthetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. Dr. Liu is graduate of Duke University, and continued on to medical school at Emory University in Atlanta You can find Dr. Perry Liu on Google+.