My experience consulting with the Doctors in SK for Revision Double Eyelid Surgery (DES)
This is pretty long, please bear with it. I hope this will be helpful to some. I am trying to give back to the PS community and to pay it forward.
Some background. This is my third DES. I had 2 previous DES in SK. I will not mention where I had my previous surgeries in this post. I wanted revision DES because my last surgery had left my crease too high, asymmetric, unnatural looking and scars. My last surgeon had removed too much skin, so it left my eyelids with very skin and also sunken looking. The fact that I had very little eyelid skin and fat left, would make Revision DES & Lowering my crease even more difficult to do.
Each person’s eyes and issues are probably different than mine, so please take note that these issues are specific to my eyes. I was looking for a Doctor that could best correct these specific issues.
I contacted most of these clinics with photos before I arrived in Korea to narrow down my choices and see if the Doctor: 1-could lower my crease without excising (removing) any skin/fat or very little, if absolutely necessary. 2- I also asked whether I would be left with scarring, and if my existing scars could be improved and 3- improve the asymmetry.
Most of the consultants said that I would need to come in person for a face to face (FTF) consultation with the doctor, to determine the surgical method and whether I had enough skin to lower my current eyelid crease.
A couple of clinics told me straight out that my scarring would be worse or the existing scars could not be removed. I immediately crossed those clinics off my list.
So it left me with the following clinics that I consulted with in SK:, Duhan - Dr Shin, Naturalism Dr Jung, Bio - Dr. Hong, SoonPlus, Dr. Kim, Shinseung- Dr. Shin, IVE - Dr. Jang, IOU - Dr. Kang, JW* - Dr. Hong Dae Kang, Garuso* - Dr. Jang. *These clinics I added to my list after I arrived in SK.
This was my first appointment (9:30am) and I was hopeful since their website had a lot of photos similar to my case. However, soon after I walked in and met with the consultant and Doctor, I immediately crossed Duhan off my list. Dr. Shin had a very fierce look on his face and almost looked mad after I walked in. He looked upset that I was there. I honestly wanted to walk out almost as soon as I met him. But since I was there, I asked him some basic questions: if he could lower my crease, fix the asymmetry and scars. Dr. Shin said he couldn’t do much and I felt he wasn’t very confident or that interested in me as a potential patient. I left as soon as I could. On my way out, the consultant tried to charge me 10,000 won for the consultation. I said it was never mentioned to me during the kakao messages, so the consultant checked with Dr. Shin and let it go. I felt like they wanted to charge me something just because I walked out fairly quickly. I think my entire visit/consultation took less than 10-15 minutes. I left Duhan with a bad taste in my mouth.
The consultant confirmed in a Kakao message, that Dr. Shin is not PS Board Certified. Despite this fact, I still decided to consult with Dr Shin, because their website with all the Epi revision pictures looked promising. Also,the kakao consultant asked me to do a FTF consultation for an accurate assessment of my Revision DES. Upon meeting Dr. Shin, he was very friendly and I immediately liked him. Dr. Shin proceeded to examine my eyelids. He said I needed ptosis, but said that he couldn’t lower my eyelids or remove my current scars because of lack of skin. So Dr. Shin said he couldn’t recommend surgery for me since it wouldn’t address the main issues I wanted corrected. Dr. Shin told me I should wait a few more years until my eyelid skin stretched and sagged and at that time consider revision. But there was no way, I was going to live with these high, asymmetric creases for a few more years. I left Shinseung thanking Dr. Shin and the consultant for the Doctor’s honesty.
I arrived on time for my appointment. The waiting room was pretty busy and I waited for over 40 minutes, even though I had an appointment and the consultant told me not to be late because I may not be able to meet Dr. Jung. I had other appointments lined up that day, so I had to ask the front desk when I can see Dr. Jung.
When Dr. Jung finally walked in, he looked like he was in his early 20’s. I honestly thought he looked like he just finished MD residency. After examining my eyes and feeling my eyelid skin, he said he needed to excise the skin to lower my eyelids and to remove the scar, but he wouldn’t be able to lower the crease by much. Also, Dr. Jung said I needed ptosis and regular botox to fix my eyebrow asymmetry and to prevent using my eyebrows to open my eyes. Dr. Jung said there was no way for him to improve the existing scar without cutting it out. The consultant didn’t have any photos similar to my case to show me. There are hardly any photos on their website either. I don’t think Dr Jung had too much experience with lowering high crease DES revision, similar to mine. I ruled out Naturalism.
As a side note, when I initially contacted Naturalism, I really wanted to consult with Dr. Go more, but the consultant said he does mostly noses and was not available to consult for eyes.
At the end of the consultation, I remarked how young he looked and Dr. Jung told me he was 40 and had 2 kids of his own. He said he was flattered that I thought he was young. So I’m glad that Dr. Jung didn’t take it the wrong way. Dr. Jung was smiling during most of the consultation and seemed pretty easy to talk to.
I met with Dr. Hong, one of the principal partners of BIO Plastic surgery. I had a 9:30am appointment. The BIO waiting room had a few patients already waiting when I arrived. There are several drs at BIO. Dr Hong was the oldest of all the doctors that I consulted with. Dr Hong examined my eyes and said I definitely need ptosis and that would be the main method to fix my eyelid asymmetry as I use my right eyebrow more than the left side to open up my eyes. Dr Hong said he would excise very little skin, and my old scars would fade after a few months -to a year. Dr Hong also told me I need to do eyebrow exercises after surgery to train my eyes to open them without using my eyebrows. He said he didn’t want me to do botox anymore to correct my eyebrow assymetry. Botox, in his opinion should be the last resort if I still used my eyebrows (esp RS) to open my eyes. Dr. Hong performed some eye tests with me covering one eye. He said my right eye is my dominant eye. Dr. Hong also said he would reposition the existing fat in my eyelids to improve the sunken areas.
At times, Dr Hong, interrupted me when I was asking questions and didn’t fully answer my questions. I found this to be a little rude. Probably due to his old age..lol. Dr. Hong said my case was difficult, but he would try his best. He said my eyes would look better than now, but just not perfect. The fact that Dr. Hong did some different eye tests than other doctors, stressed ptosis correction and said botox should only be used as the last resort, made me want to consider Dr. Hong for my surgery. I really didn't want to do botox every few months to correct my asymmetrical eyebrows and higher RS eyelid crease.
Dr Kim recommended non- incisional ptosis. Dr Kim said he cannot lower the crease or remove the scar without cutting out skin, so he didn’t really recommend revision DES for me. Non-incisional ptosis is Dr. Kim’s specialty. I decided to pass on Soon Plus. There were no patients waiting, but one did walk in as I was leaving. This eerily reminded me of the last clinic where I did my failed revision DES. There were hardly any patients at that clinic either. Soonplus was the only clinic who told me in advance that there would be a 10,000 won charge for the consultation.
I arrived 15 min late to my appointment. I did message the consultant and let her know I was running 15 minutes late. When I arrived Dr. Jang was consulting with another patient. Dr Jang recommended non-incisional ptosis, but said it could loosen. Dr Jang agreed that I didn’t have enough eyelid skin left to do incision and excision to lower my crease and remove my scars. Dr. Jang said there was not much he could do to improve my current scars.
I noticed Dr Jang repeatedly looking at the clock behind me, after my 5-10 minute consultation with him. I found this kind of rude and I think he was signaling his consultant to rush the consultation. The consultant led me out of the room and gave me the quote. I left feeling unsatisfied with the consultation and rushed feeling.
I added this clinic and Dr. Jang to my list, because I heard he was popular among locals for eyes.Dr. Jang was nice and friendly to talk to and ask questions. He Recommended 2 options. Option #1 Nonincisional ptosis and leave my current scar and line where it is. Nonincisional ptosis will lower the eyelid crease, but not significantly.
Option # 2 Incisional and small excision for lowering the crease and removing the scars. But because I didn't have much skin to cut out, Dr. Jang said he cannot lower the crease too much.
Dr. Jang said I need to continue to do botox and train my eyebrows not to use them for opening my eyes. Although, I liked Dr. Jang, he seemed rushed at the end. A nurse beckoned him and he abruptly left the consultation. My consultant and I were left waiting in the consultation room for him to come back, but he didn’t return even after 30 min or so. So I guess that was the end of the consultation. In the end it felt rushed and I didnt get a chance to have a final conclusion with meeting Dr. Jang. I asked the consultant and she told me he can do up to 10 eye surgeries a day. I found that number to be too many Even though some are minor eye surgeries, like lateral or epi only, which the consultant said only takes 30 minutes. I thought the doctor may rush during my surgery as well, since he has so many on his schedule that day. I had to rule out Dr. Jang/Garuso for this reason.
A couple days later,I decided to consult with JW at the last minute, because I know they are popular with locals and I still wasn’t sure of the other drs and clinics that I had consulted with so far. I really wanted to consult with Dr. Hong Lim Choi, but as usual, this doctor’s consultations were booked out for weeks. I had tried to consult with Dr. Hong Lim Choi in 2016, but back then, the JW consultant canceled my appointment with him because I didn’t leave a deposit for surgery. The consultant said that without a deposit, I would not be able to have surgery with him during my short trip to Korea (~14 days) during their peak season. The consultant recommended Dr. Hong Dae Kang (Hong “DK”) for this time around. I was able to get an appointment with him the very next day. Dr Hong DK recommended ptosis with incisional DES. Dr. Hong DK said I didn’t have enough skin to lower my crease by much. When I asked Dr. Hong DK, he said he would try his best, but he didn’t know how well my eyelids would turn out. I could tell that Dr Hong DK was not very confident with my case and he definitely didn’t know how well my revision surgery would turn out. JW quoted me the most out of all the clinics coming in at a little over 7 million won. I took that as a sign that he didn’t really want my case, as it was a little complicated.
I consulted with IOU on my first day of consultations. I had very high hopes for IOU, since a few other girls in the chat group also went there. A couple of them also went there for high crease lowering and were mostly satisfied with their results. Caveat a couple of them have not updated me with their results recently, so I’m not sure how satisfied they are now. I had already emailed Dr. Kang my pictures, so he already knew what to expect. Upon the FTF consultation, Dr Kang was very confident and said he could improve my scars, lower my high crease and make my eyes look better overall by 70-80%. Dr Kang was the only doctor who actually provided %’s on his own, without me even asking. Dr. Kang said he would not excise the scar, but would do scar revision inside the eyelid. I’m not familiar with his surgical method and couldn't really understand this method. But he assured me that after 6 months to 1 year post-op, the scar would look much better than my existing scar. Please see the attachment below which describes his method. Dr. Kang emailed me this. The consultant showed me several before and after photos similar to my case. There were several monitors in the waiting room, with before and after pictures of Dr. Kang’s eye surgeries. Dr. Kang said he didn’t really think I needed ptosis, but would do ptosis adjustment only if necessary during the actual surgery. Dr. Kang said he would reposition the fat in my eyelids and do additional fat grafting , if necessary to address my sunken eyelids. Dr. Kang also said he could do medial canthoplasty. This is lowering of the middle of my eyes. I was very skeptical, as all the other clinics which I asked said I was not a good candidate for any canthoplasty procedure because my eyes were already weakened. In the end, I decided to rule out medial canthoplasty as I felt it would be risky in my case.
One thing which also made me very hopeful for IOU, was that whenever I visited IOU before my surgery ( which was a few times), the waiting room was always busy and full of locals. There were patients there for treatment, and new prospective patients consulting. On average, I saw 6 or more patients daily at any given time. IOU seemed very busy and popular for a one doctor clinic.The consultant said the current month was much slower than January. I wondered how much busier the busy months could be. Although, I was leaning towards IOU, I hesitated choosing them for a few days, because Dr. Kang was the only doctor (besides Duhan) that didn’t really recommend ptosis correction, which I thought could fix my eye asymmetry, esp the right side overuse of my eyebrows.
I asked for a second consultation with Dr. Kang to ask him about ptosis. I wanted ptosis to definitely be corrected as part of the surgery and not decided on during surgery, which was Dr. Kang’s original proposal.
After the second consultation with Dr. Kang,, the consultant wanted to charge me more for definite ptosis procedure. I was very discouraged hearing about the upcharge. I thought about choosing Dr. Hong of BIO instead. I asked the IOU consultant again and she finally agreed that Dr. Kang would do the surgery at my original quote, and include ptosis.
My decision came down to either Dr. Hong at BIO or Dr. Kang at IOU, because those were the only two doctors who could do my surgery without cutting out much skin or fat.
Pricewise, the highest was JW at 7.1 million won and second highest was IOU (4-5 million). The other clinics charges were generally between 3.5 - 4.5 million. Price was not my motivating factor. I would gladly pay a little more for a confident doctor than go for the cheapest quote.
I decided on Dr. Kang at IOU, because he had the most confidence, in his words “70%-80% improvement” in my case. Also, I saw many patients before and after photos at IOU. Some had high creases like mine and were lowered nicely.
I asked the consultant and Dr. Kang a couple times after my surgery if I needed a ptosis or other adjustment before I left. (Dr. Hong of BIO said he would do an adjustment if necessary) But whenever I saw Dr Kang after surgery, for a brief checkup, he was very confident that my results would turn out well. He told me I need to allow enough time to see my results, at least 6 months - 1 year. I am currently almost 3 weeks post-op. Right now, my eyes are still swollen and bruised. my crease is still slightly asymmetrical and a little too high for my liking. As IOU requested, I messaged them my pictures at 2 weeks post-op, and Dr Kang said my eyes would take much longer to see the final result and I need to be patient. I really hope this will be my last DES surgery!
I encourage anyone reading this to do your own research and due diligence. Do Face to face consultations with the Doctor. Don’t rely too much on the consultant or other patients results only. Feel how confident the doctor is with your case. Ask a lot of questions. My case was complicated compared to most revision DES, so the doctor that was not confident in my case, May still be confident with your DES. Please Do NOT read my experience with any doctor I mention above as an indicator that particular doctor is not skilled. Each person's case is different. Good luck with your research and your DES surgery.