Traveling for Eyelid Plastic Surgery
Hello and thanks for your interest in traveling to Boston for your surgery. Read this document carefully, as it contains many of the commonly asked questions by patients who wish to travel for procedures. Feel free to call the office or email me directly at [email protected] if you have additional questions.
Our office takes care of many patients who choose to travel for surgery from across the US and overseas. I want to start by saying that traveling for surgery is not ideal, as it is hard to pop back into the office if any issues arise. That being said, many patients are not able to find someone locally who they feel confident with and decide to travel. I always recommend patients obtain at least one consultation locally before deciding to travel for treatment. Feel free to email me to see if I know anyone local to you or at least within driving distance. If you end up really liking that person and feel comfortable with them, you should go for it. If you decide you still want to travel, keep reading.
The process starts when I examine photos that are sent by email to [email protected]. Please also send a description of what bothers you. If the photos aren’t adequate, I will let ask you to send additional photos. It’s much better to ask someone else to take photos instead of taking selfies, which often have weird angles. For evaluating the upper eyelids, the lighting is less crucial, but it’s important to be looking straight ahead and not up or down so I can determine how much hooding is present. To evaluate the lower eyelids, its important to take photos without a camera flash using overhead lighting. Ideally I like photos looking straight ahead as well as looking upward with your head straight. If I think you are a candidate for surgery, I will usually ask you to schedule a telephone or video consult so I can discuss your specific case with you on the phone and answer questions. If additional questions come up, we can always communicate by email or with a second call.
Surgery isn’t a 100% go until I examine you in person. If you decide to schedule surgery, a non-refundable deposit is required to hold your spot. I have never had this happen thus far but there is always a chance that I find something on examination which would require cancelling your surgery. If this happens, your deposit will be refunded, but we are not responsible for any of your travel expenses.
I usually set up an in person consultation the day prior to surgery so I can examine you. If we are scheduling upper eyelid surgery only, the surgery can usually be performed as an office procedure under local anesthesia (if you want to be fully awake for the surgery) or with intravenous sedation. Lower eyelid surgery is usually performed under general anesthesia, but this can be discussed at the time of your video consultation.
I have two offices. My primary office is my private practice in Wellesley, MA. I also have an office at Tufts Medical Center in downtown Boston. Surgery can be performed at both locations.
I recommend out of town patients schedule surgery in whichever location works best for their schedule. Wellesley office surgery can be done on Mondays, Tuesdays or Fridays and Boston surgeries are done on Wednesdays. Surgeries in the Wellesley office surgery suite are done on Thursdays. Note that the Wellesley office is about 15 miles (a $50ish Uber ride) from Boston each way. Please check with us on times available for consultations and surgery prior to booking your flights.
There are several hotels within driving distance of the Wellesley office. We recommend the Westin hotel in Waltham or the Mariott Courtyard in Natick. You will really need a car if you are staying in the suburbs.
There are several hotels within 1-2 blocks of Tufts Medical Center including a Marriott Courtyard, a Moxy hotel and a W hotel. Many other options are available slightly further away. Note that Boston hotels often fill early when there are conferences in town, so its best to book hotels well in advance. Boston is often more convenient for patients flying in for surgery, especially when scheduled way in advance. If you are driving from out of town, Wellesley is often a better option as there is more availability.
If you are having surgery with intravenous sedation or with general anesthesia. Someone will need to take you to your hotel after surgery and stay with you for 12 hours. There are several visiting nurse services in the area which can help with this requirement if you are travelling alone. If you are having upper eyelid surgery only under local anesthesia (without sedation), you can take an Uber or taxi back to your hotel and do not need anyone with you.
Patients having upper eyelid surgery only can fly home 3 days after surgery if dissolvable sutures are used or 7 days after if non-dissolvable sutures are used. The advantages and disadvantages of each can be discussed at the time of your consultation. Patients having lower eyelid surgery can fly home 5 days after surgery. I usually check you myself or have an assistant or colleague check you before you go home.
For upper eyelid surgery, the remaining post-op checks can usually be done by email and its not always necessary to return to Boston. Filler injections are sometimes needed to optimize the results of lower eyelid surgery. If needed, we would discuss an optimal time to return to Boston by email, but this would be at least 6-8 weeks prior to surgery. One vial of under eye filler is included with your lower eyelid surgery if needed.
If I think additional filler may be needed, we will usually discuss this during your consultation. Of course, if there are any surgery related issues, additional trips to Boston may be required. This is not usually the case, but its important to keep this in mind before traveling for surgery.
Surgery takes time to heal. Here are my general guidelines - everyone heals at their own pace and one side often heals faster than the other. I recommend at least two full weeks off of work due to bruising and swelling if you need to go in to an office or meet with other people. If you can work from home, you should be fine to work within a few days after surgery. Most patients look acceptable to go to work two weeks after surgery or earlier. Makeup may be needed to cover residual bruising. It takes 3-6 months to see the full results of surgery and about 18-24 months to mature any incisions.
Patients having upper eyelid surgery will usually have an incision across the entire eyelid crease. The crease is hidden when your eyes are open but will look bumpy when your eyes are closed. By 18 months, the incision is barely visible in most patients. Most patients having lower eyelid surgery will only have an incision on the back of their eyelid, so there is no visible scar to heal. If skin removal is required, an incision under the eyelash line may also be required, which will also take time to heal. If you are having surgery prior to a big event such as a wedding, I recommend having surgery at least three months prior, but the longer the better to give your eyes time to heal.
There is always a chance a revision (usually minor) will be needed to optimize the results. If needed, revisions are usually performed at no cost to the you, but may require additional trips to Boston.
Eyelid surgery is usually easy to cover with large sunglasses. Patients often feel comfortable seeing sights around Boston and going to restaurants with sunglasses on within a few days after surgery. Boston is a beautiful city and you should explore New England while you are in town. Please email me directly at d[email protected] or call the office if you have questions.