Anesthesia & Eyelid Surgery Questions

Below are a few of our commonly asked questions about eyelid surgery and Dr. Kim’s advanced anesthesia technique.

Is Eyelid Surgery Painful?

When considering the double eyelid surgery, patients often ask: is eyelid surgery painful? The simple answer is no, but it is strongly recommended that you speak with a board-certified and experienced specialist to ensure the best result.

To explain the eyelid procedure recovery further, we have to define double eyelid surgery. Double eyelid surgery, also commonly known as “Korean eyelid surgery,” is a procedure that creates a double lid from a monolid. Korean eyelids tend to have either a monolid or a double eyelid.  Many patients of Asian descent find it more desirable to have a double eyelid fold. In the hands of a board-certified and experienced expert, this procedure is not painful at all.

When performing blepharoplasty for patients of Asian descent and patients of other ethnicities, local anesthesia is used to deliver the anesthetic to the eyelid. Once the local anesthesia is in the eyelid, the anesthetic blocks the nerve’s pain receptors. There is no pain whatsoever during surgery.

Double eyelid surgery, also known as blepharoplasty for the Asian eyelid, is not a painful surgery. Converting a monolid to a double eyelid sometimes involves the removal of fat and creating a double eyelid fold or a crease. Some patients have excess upper eyelid skin that needs to be removed in order to create the desired result. The excess eyelid skin means the patient has a condition described as eyelid ptosis. Traditionally, in cases where eyelid ptosis surgery is performed, there can be minimal discomfort. However, with newer, advanced surgical techniques, even eyelid surgery that treats ptosis can be performed with zero pain for the patient. With modern techniques, a strong local anesthetic will completely numb up the nerves in the eyelid and prevent pain during eyelid surgery.

About the Procedure

Dr. Kim is pleased to offer patients advanced techniques where there is no pain whatsoever. The patient is awake and  comfortable during the entire double fold eyelid procedure. Some patients wish to talk while other patients may sleep during the procedure. Dr. Kim may ask the patient to open their eyes if needed. In all cases, the double-fold eyelid procedure will be completed without any pain or discomfort. This procedure can take anywhere from 30 minutes to one and a half hours.


There are three types of anesthesia that can be used in eyelid surgery: general anesthesia, intravenous sedation anesthesia, and local anesthesia. So what kind of anesthesia is used in double eyelid surgery and Asian eyelid surgery? Although there are three different types of anesthesia, the best type of anesthesia is local anesthesia. Local anesthesia has been determined to be the safest method of delivering anesthesia to any patient.

When converting a monolid to a double fold eyelid, local anesthesia has many advantages. One primary benefit is that the patient does not have to be asleep. Sleeping by the method of general anesthesia or intravenous sedation anesthesia has many negative side effects such as nausea, vomiting, blood clots, and potential memory loss. In Korea, Korean eyelid surgeries are performed with either local anesthesia or intravenous sedation anesthesia. If a  plastic surgeon is more proficient at blepharoplasty Asian eyelids, he or she will use more local anesthesia rather than IV sedation anesthesia.

One of the dangers of IV sedation anesthesia is that the patient can move during surgery. When performing double eyelid surgery or blepharoplasty Asian eyelids to create double-lidded eyes, the patient should not suddenly move accidentally. This sudden unintentional movement can injure the eyelid and even impair vision. In addition, the double eyelid fold creation would not be an optimal smooth double eyelid fold.

Dr. Kenneth Kim specializes in performing plastic and cosmetic surgery with local anesthesia. Dr. Kim also specializes in Korean eyelid surgery and double eyelid surgery. Dr. Kenneth Kim will only use local anesthesia to convert monolid to double lid in blepharoplasty Asian eyelids. Dr. Kenneth Kim understands the natural and beautiful Korean eyelid aesthetics and therefore creates the most ideal and natural double-fold eyelids and Asian eyelids.

Dr. Kim, of course, operates on all races as well. Dr. Kenneth Kim has a special method monolid surgery where he changes the monolid to double lid without leaving a noticeable scar.


Patients often wonder whether they would be put to sleep during eyelid surgery. In the past, patients were put to sleep during double eyelid surgery or Korean eyelid surgery. However, more recently blepharoplasty Asian eyes, where monolid is changed to a double eyelid, can be performed while the patient is awake.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of being asleep or being awake? Being put to sleep during blepharoplasty or double eyelid surgery has the advantage of not knowing what is going on. Plus, there is no pain during the double eyelid surgery. However, the downside of being asleep is that the patient cannot open their eyes during double eyelid surgery. Why is opening the eyes important during double eyelid surgery or Korean eyelid surgery? During double eyelid surgery, eyelid ptosis surgery is often performed at the same time. By patients opening the eyes, the plastic surgeon can gauge and determine how much eyelid should be lifted during eyelid ptosis surgery and Asian eyelid surgery. However, when the patient is put to sleep the surgeon cannot make an intraoperative decision. Thus, the accuracy is lacking when the patient is put to sleep during blepharoplasty Asian eyes.

The advantage of not being put to sleep is that the plastic surgeon can see the actual movement of the monolid and double eyelid. By having the patients open their eyes, the plastic surgeon can see how much the eyelashes flip or evert after the double eyelid fold is created. Therefore, the plastic surgeon can adjust the double eyelid fold strength in order for perfect eversion to occur. During the conversion of the monolid to double eyelid, an ideal eyelash eversion must occur. In addition, the double eyelid fold must not be too deep nor too shallow.

Dr. Kenneth Kim

Dr. Kenneth Kim performs all his Korean eyelid surgery and Asian eyelid surgery under local anesthesia while the patient is awake. Therefore, patients are never put to sleep. As mentioned, the advantage is that Dr. Kenneth Kim can make sure that the double eyelid fold is symmetrical and smooth. Dr. Kim’s unique method of applying a local anesthetic to the eyelid will ensure that patients do not feel any pain during double eyelid surgery and the patients can cooperate during the monolid surgery conversion to double lidded eyes.

Dr. Kim is a board-certified plastic surgeon that has presented on eyelid surgery to both the Korean Plastic Surgery Society and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

During a consultation, Dr. Kenneth Kim will determine if the patient is a good candidate for the suture technique double eyelid surgery. Dr. Kim is also available to discuss other Asian eyelid surgery techniques and Korean eyelid surgery methods.