Frequently Asked Questions

When prospective patients express interest in exploring surgical intervention of the face and eyes provided by Dr. Harold Lee, our primary goal is to deliver the highest standard of customer care. During initial consultations, individuals share questions that may closely align with your own. Check out our frequently asked questions or send us a message about your concerns.

If you have not received a New Patient Packet via mail or email, you can access the New Patient Packet here or please arrive 15 minutes ahead of your appointment time to complete the necessary paperwork. Additionally, please remember to bring the following items with you:

  • health insurance card (if applicable)
  • driver’s license or identification
  • any relevant medical reports or imaging, such as CT or MRI scans

We offer various payment options, including cash, checks, wire transfers, and major credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover). For those seeking financing options, we collaborate with Care Credit, which is accessible to eligible individuals. You can pre-qualify on their website or contact them directly for further information. Please note that there may be a surcharge associated with certain payment methods.

There are three primary types of anesthesia commonly employed during oculoplastic or eyelid surgery, each with varying degrees of invasiveness:

  1. Local Anesthesia: This involves the administration of a numbing injection to the eyelid and its surroundings. The surgery is conducted while the patient remains fully awake, akin to procedures in dentistry.

  2. MAC Anesthesia (Monitored Anesthesia Care): MAC anesthesia combines local anesthesia with intravenous sedation. Under MAC anesthesia, patients are in a state of “twilight sleep,” characterized by relaxation and reduced awareness during the surgery. This approach resembles the sedation used during a colonoscopy. 

  3. General Anesthesia: Generally reserved for more extensive procedures such as orbital surgery or for pediatric patients, general anesthesia entails placing the patient into a complete state of unconsciousness with the use of an endotracheal tube for assisted breathing.

The choice of anesthesia type is determined through discussions involving the patient, surgeon, and anesthesiologist. Several factors come into play, including the nature of the surgery, the patient’s age and health condition, patient preferences, and the surgeon’s recommendations.

There are several important steps to take in preparation for your surgery:

  1. Preoperative Clearance: Patients with certain medical conditions may require preoperative clearance. Our office will work with you to obtain this clearance.

  2. Medication Adjustments: Refrain from taking medications that can thin the blood for a minimum of two weeks prior to the surgery. You will be provided with a list of medications to avoid. Patients who are on daily doses of prescription blood thinners such as Coumadin, Eliquis, and Plavix will need clearance from their appropriate physician to hold these medications. Our office will work with you to will obtain this clearance.

  3. Postoperative Support: Ensure that you make arrangements for someone to bring you on the day of your surgery. If you are having a general anesthesia, someone must stay with you 24 hours following the procedure.

Taking these steps will help ensure a smooth and safe surgical experience.

After surgery, it’s important for patients to observe the following guidelines:

  1. Initial Rest and Activity: On the day of surgery, it’s advisable to rest. However, patients should aim to get up and move around within a day. Strenuous activities, such as vigorous exercise, bending, and heavy lifting should be avoided for approximately one week after surgery. 

  2. Pain Control: Take Extra Strength Tylenol or prescribed medication following surgery for pain control. Avoid aspirin products, Aleve, Advil/Ibuprofen, and Motrin.

  3. Sleeping Position: It’s recommended to keep your head elevated when lying down or sleeping the first week following surgery. 

  4. Patching: If a patch is placed over the surgical site, you will be instructed when to remove it. If you have been instructed to NOT remove it, leave the patch in place. Do NOT apply cold compresses, ointment or drops.  Leave the patch undisturbed.  A physician will remove the patch at your post-operative appointment. Do not get patch wet.

  5. Swelling: Apply cold compresses to the surgical site for 20 minutes per hour (when awake) for 3-4 days following surgery. Do not apply ice directly to the skin.

  6. Showering: You may shower 24 hours after surgery. Wash your hair in the shower with your back to the water. Try to keep stitches as dry as possible. Pat dry. If you have a patch that must stay in place, do not get patch wet. 

  7. Ointment: A small tube of ointment will be provided after surgery. This is to be applied to the stitches twice daily. If you have a patch that must stay in place, you will not use ointment.

  8. Nose Blowing: If your surgery involves fracture repair or orbital decompression you CANNOT blow your nose for 6 weeks following surgery.

  9. Return to Normal Activities: Typically, most patients feel comfortable returning to work and resuming their social activities within 7-10 days following surgery. However, this timeline may vary based on the specific procedure and individual healing rates. It’s important to note that the majority of bruising and swelling usually subsides within one to two weeks.

The following problems should be reported to the office as soon as possible:
  • Continuous bleeding – Please note that some oozing or drainage is common.
  • Persistent nausea or vomiting.
  • Temperature (fever) over 101 degrees.
  • Excessive pain at the surgical site not relieved by pain medications, especially if associated with protrusion of the eyeball.
  • Sudden loss of vision. Please note some blurriness is expected after surgery.
  • New double vision.

These guidelines will help promote a smooth and successful recovery process.

Usually, the first post-operative visit is scheduled one to two weeks after surgery. However, the specific timing of this appointment will be determined by your surgeon.

It’s important to adhere to the following recommendations during your recovery:

  1. Sleep Position: Sleep in a reclined (not flat) position for one week after surgery. This helps reduce the accumulation of fluids in the face and eyelids.

  2. Compress Application: Follow the specific instructions provided to you for preparing and applying cold compresses as directed.

These measures will contribute to a smoother and more comfortable recovery process.

Eye or eyelid plastic surgery is most effectively and safely carried out by a seasoned MD specializing in oculoplastic surgery. An oculoplastic surgeon is an ophthalmologist who has undergone an additional 2-year fellowship focused on cosmetic and reconstructive eye plastic surgery, which encompasses procedures involving eyelids, eye sockets (orbits), the tear drainage system (lacrimal system), and the adjacent facial structures. These specialists employ minimally invasive techniques to achieve rapid, natural-looking outcomes while minimizing the risk of complications and the undesirable surgical look.

Tearing, also referred to as epiphora, is a condition characterized by excessive tear overflow. According to Medicalnewstoday, it is described as “an excess of tears spilling onto the cheek due to inadequate drainage through the tear-conducting passages.”

The causes of tearing can include:

  1. Overproduction of Tears: This can be triggered by eye irritants.
  2. Blocked Tear Ducts: Obstructions in the tear ducts can lead to increased tear production.
  3. Eyelid Conditions: Ectropion (outwardly turned eyelid) and entropion (inwardly turned eyelid) can contribute to tearing.
  4. Eye Injury: Trauma to the eye may result in tearing.
  5. Dry Eyes: Paradoxically, dry eyes can lead to excessive tearing as the tears produced do not adequately lubricate the eye.

Once the underlying cause is identified, appropriate treatment measures can be implemented.

Eyelid issues, like heaviness and drooping, often develop with age, stemming from three primary factors. Firstly, the levator muscle or tendon responsible for lifting the upper eyelids can weaken, resulting in a condition known as Ptosis. While mild cases are primarily cosmetic concerns, severe Ptosis can obstruct vision and lead to discomfort. Eyelid Ptosis Surgery is the solution.

Secondly, upper eyelid Dermatochalasis occurs when the eyelid skin loses elasticity and stretches, unrelated to the position of the eyelids. Upper Blepharoplasty effectively addresses this concern.

Thirdly, Brow Ptosis, or the descent of the brows and forehead, can exacerbate upper eyelid heaviness. Brow Lift surgery is recommended when this factor comes into play.

Patients may experience one, two, or all three of these factors, each necessitating its specific surgery. Recovery for any or all of these procedures combined is similar, involving about 7-10 days of temporary bruising.

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