Question: I'm a 28 year old Chinese female and dislike my eyelids. My eyelids have always had a flap of skin that hangs down to my lashes. I would like to have the extra skin removed from my lids but am afraid of not looking Chinese to my family. Can you do eyelid plastic surgery and still have a patient look Oriental?
Answer: You ask some very good questions about Oriental eyelids. Please read below and contact me at Orange County Plastic Surgery if you have any further questions concerning this, or any other cosmetic surgery procedure.
First of all, Oriental patients do have different eyelid anatomy than most Caucasian patients. In the typical Oriental type of eyelid patient, the superior palpebral fold (the upper lid fold between the lashes and brow) is absent. This occurs in approximately 50% of Oriental patients and is a genetic feature that is passed on from parents to their children with a dominant gene. The Oriental eyelid without a palpebral fold is often referred to as a "single eyelid", while an eyelid with a fold is called a "double eyelid".
Operations designed to construct a superior palpebral fold are becoming more popular in Oriental patients around the globe. This surgery has become commonplace in large cities in the Orient as well as in the United States areas, especially in areas like Orange County containing large Oriental populations. The "single eyelid" occurs because a muscle called the levator palpebrae ends within the substance of the lid, instead of attaching to the top of the cartilage plate in the lid, and is not caused by a skin excess! In such procedures, every attempt is made to create the desired fold but not to alter the general shape of the eye or to destroy the web that many Oriental patients have medially, near the nose. Destroying this epicanthal fold would make a lid look more Caucasian and destroy this important Oriental feature of an eyelid and give the patients and eyelid version of Michael Jackson's nose - this is to be avoided!
As mentioned, 50% of Orientals lack the palpebral fold, but the other 50% do have such a fold - the Oriental eyelid procedure is designed to create such a fold and still leave the patient looking Oriental. A surgeon doing such surgery should be familiar with the differences between Oriental and Caucasian anatomy. It is possible to get a very good result with this plastic surgery procedure, but as with any cosmetic procedure, it is important to research the options and all potential outcomes. It is also important to communicate with your surgeon about how you would like to look after the surgery and obtain comprehensive pre-procedure and post-procedure information.
If you have any specific questions about the Oriental eyelid, plastic surgery procedure, or any other cosmetic procedure, your best bet would be to see a qualified, board certified plastic surgeon to review your options. A plastic surgeon should be able to work with you to get a result with which you are satisfied!