Epicanthoplasty Eyelid Surgery: What to Know

by Wendy Travis

Epicanthoplasty Eyelid Surgery: What to Know

Epicanthoplasty is an eyelid surgery that is performed much more frequently in Asian countries than it is in the United States. However, as the demand for epicanthoplasty procedures has increased in the U.S., more doctors have begun to offer the service as well. This surgery is used to reduce the epicanthal fold (also known as the Mongolian fold) in the corners of the eyes of Asian women. A patient may require this procedure to obtain a more “Westernized” look or to simply open up the eyes and make them appear less tired. PlasticSurgeryPortal has the lowdown on epicanthoplasty, including how the procedure is performed, the risks associated with the surgery and the potential costs for the procedure.

Who is a Candidate for Epicanthoplasty?
Epicanthoplasty is primarily performed on women of Asian descent, since this feature is nearly exclusive to the Asian population. It may be requested if the epicanthal fold is so large that it negatively impacts the shape or appearance of the eye. The procedure makes the eye appear wider and in better proportion to the rest of the face. The best candidates for epicanthoplasty are:

  • Patients who are in relatively good health and have realistic expectations about the outcome of the procedure
  • Women who have well-developed epicanthal folds that interfere with the shape or appearance of the eye
  • Patients who want to improve their appearance without sacrificing their ethnicity
  • Individuals who are comfortable with a mild degree of scarring after the procedure
  • Patients who are interested in double eyelid surgery and would like to add the epicanthoplasty procedure to their treatment

Because the beauty of the Asian eye lies in the natural almond shape, most doctors refrain from performing a full epicanthoplasty because this would completely change the shape of the eye. Instead, a small portion of the epicanthal fold may be left to retain the almond shape, while making the eye appear larger and more open.

Types of Epicanthoplasty Procedures
There are two main types of epicanthoplasty procedures, which include:

  • Medial Epicanthoplasty – This procedure focuses on the inner corner of the eye, removing the excess fold to reveal the medial portion of the eyes. Medial epicanthoplasty is designed to make the eye appear larger and more open, and may straighten slanted eyes.
  • Lateral Epicanthoplasty – In addition to focusing on the fold at the inner eye, this procedure also addresses the outer portion of the eye. Lateral epicanthoplasty is done to lengthen the eye and correct a slant that makes an eye appear droopy or tired.

A patient and doctor should work together to determine the best procedure for the patient’s specific needs. It is important to choose a doctor who is experienced in both epicanthoplasty procedures to ensure you get the best outcome from your surgery.

What is the Procedure Like?
Like other types of eyelid surgery, epicanthoplasty may be done in an outpatient clinic or hospital under local anesthesia. The procedure involved multiple incisions around the corner of the eye that allow the doctor to create tiny flaps to restructure the shape of the inner eyelid and remove excess skin. Some doctors have also developed techniques that involve incisions inside the eyelid, further reducing the risk of visible scarring after the procedure.

After surgery, the patient will have a recovery period of around two weeks, while the eyelids return to normal after some swelling and bruising occur. During that time, patients are encouraged to take time off work and strenuous activities, and are given a prescription pain medication to keep them comfortable while in the recovery phase. Sutures that were used to close incisions made during surgery are usually removed after one week, and at that time, the patient may be allowed to wear some eye makeup once again. However, positive results may take longer to see, with some patients requiring a full year before all traces of swelling are gone.

What does Epicanthoplasty Cost?
The price of an epicanthoplasty can vary greatly, depending on the surgeon performing the procedure, the area where the surgeon is located and the amount of work begin done during the procedure. Most epicantholplasty treatments can run anywhere from $1,200 to $3,500 or more. Because there are not many U.S. doctors currently performing this procedure, the cost of epicanthoplasty may run more than other types of eyelid surgery.

Epicanthoplasty can offer a more attractive shape and appearance to eyes hidden by a pronounced epicanthal fold. If an epicanthoplasty sounds like the right procedure for you, contact us today to set up a private consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon near you.

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