Wed. Dec 8th, 2021

Just a few evenings ago, my wife [K] and I visited an aesthetic clinic [S] for her regular post-surgery consultation for Ptosis. It has been about six months (November 2020) since her ptosis surgery in Singapore.

Over the span of this half a year, we have probably visited [S] over a dozen times. In the beginning, post-op consultations were frequent and we had to make a trip every couple of days.

Later on, weekly and then bi-weekly. From having to attend monthly consultation, we have since “graduated” and would only need a subsequent consultation next in August.

As with many medical conditions, things usually don’t happen overnight. This makes it very difficult to detect any anomaly, even for the affected persons themselves and their family members.

Tired-looking ‘Zoom’ eyes

What exactly did we visit the aesthetic clinic [S] for?

ptosis surgery in singapore - asiaone

To take one step back, I recently chanced upon this (obviously advertorial-ish) article on AsiaOne which illustrated the problem perfectly. I won’t link directly to it but you can easily Google it.

Google research : Ptosis

Yes – my wife looked tired, and she received comments from people telling her that. Perpetually. Regardless of the amount of rest or sleep she had.

She consulted Dr. Google and it seemed like she was checking off all the items for a medical condition known as ptosis i.e. droopy eyelids.

According to SingHealth, treatment required for ptosis depends on the cause of it and surgery is usually the recommended treatment for drooping eyelids.

The surgery is performed by an ophthalmologist on an outpatient basis, usually under a local anaesthetic. The main objective of surgery is to elevate the upper eyelid to permit better vision and attempt to achieve a reasonable amount of symmetry. Good to excellent results can be achieved although perfect symmetry may not always be obtained.

The randomized DNA short straw strikes again! I have my issues with cholesterol, and my wife has ptosis to deal with.

Like what Forrest Gump once said, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get”.

Shortlisting reputable clinics

Sure, government hospitals or medical institutions are an optioncan go for government

[K] ended up shortlisting a couple of options that are able to perform ptosis surgery in Singapore.

You see, the world of aesthetic clinics is not one we are familiar with, and this is the playground of the rich and wealthy who don’t necessarily have any medical conditions that needed to be corrected.

Hmmmm. You get what I mean, right?

For peasants like us, the number one priority is to get a good doctor and surgeon. Everything else is secondary, but yes – we were definitely trying to find someone who is an expert in his or her field and best able to obtain balanced results that straddle both medical AND aesthetics considerations.

At the “right” price, of course.

There is no easy way to say this – when a medical issues overlap with aesthetic concerns, we can throw everything we know about personal finance out the window.

At this stage, the single most important thing my wife needed was my support. All she needed to focus on, was to correct her condition and better.

She checked out the reviews and settled on this particular aesthetic clinic that had good reviews and didn’t look scary or scamm-ish. Not too sure which is the worse trait but never mind on that, not going into it.

Consultation with the doctor /surgeon

Our first visit to [S] was a no-obligations paid consultation with our doctor (let’s call him [N]). It was a very informative session, to say the least, and he gave us all the background knowledge we needed to make our decision.

There were also numerous case studies being shown to us that illustrated how different their patients looked before and after surgery.

Of course, we knew that managing expectations is a key part of the process, because success is never guaranteed.

Most importantly, financial consultation is provided regarding the estimated cost for surgery, add-ons, consumables, and post-op follow-ups so there aren’t any surprises along the way.

Add-ons in the sense that when you’re buying a McDonald’s value meal, you can always upsize it and add an apple pie plus a hot fudge sundae, right? Same thing here.

For ptosis correction, [K] can add-on by doing a fat graft from the belly area into her eyelid area to make it look more natural, which is arguably just as important.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we have officially gone from the medical domain to the aesthetics domain. By default, ptosis correction surgery grants double-eyelids as a positive side-effect. Yippee!

Well, fat grafting can also be done to inject it into areas of the face to enhance symmetry etc.

At the end of the day, we only opted for ptosis correction and fat graft into the eye area and we stopped at that. We didn’t let ourselves get distracted from our original goal.

In case you weren’t aware, the price is also going to be different depending on whether you had private insurance coverage.

We didn’t – I’m merely a frugal personal finance blogger, remember?

No big deal, that’s why we needed to have emergency funds. I told [K] that she didn’t need to worry about the financial part of the surgery. I’ll split the bill with her and subsidize 50% of the cost of the procedure.

Zero admin fee, interest-free installments over 36 months via credit cards are an option too! Well, at least we could use the free line of credit and put idle assets to work by earning extra interest/returns!

Eye specialist bonus info

If you have private insurance coverage, you could possibly get it to pay for a big portion of the surgery. Assuming you can prove that it is medical condition.

This means that you’ll have to do a test at the eye specialist. According to what my wife mentioned, it is basically a dark room and there is a series of lighted spots that appear. Ptosis basically means the eyelids droop downwards and begin to affect vision, right?

If you can’t see the lighted spot at the top-end of your vision, it means that the eyelid is sufficiently obstructing your vision and thus, would qualify as a medical condition i.e. can claim.

Theoretically, this part isn’t mandatory or required although it can give you a thorough diagnosis of how serious the ptosis condition is. The primary goal is actually to obtain the set of test results that indicate that the ptosis condition is serious enough to be considered a medical issue.

Medical insurance coverage

Like what I’ve mentioned, claiming insurance for ptosis is pretty much a hit-and-miss experience from what we’ve learned from the clinic [S].

The general rule is that there are certain insurers which are easier to claim from, but never guaranteed. You can get all these information from the clinic (if it is a competent one).

Surgery day

Before the ptosis surgery, there was a blood test done one month prior.

The night before surgery, the usual fasting needed to be done too.

On surgery day, I accompanied [K] to the clinic. Despite calling it a clinic, it actually has a full-fledge operation theatre.

The operation itself easily took up half a day. By my estimation, it started roughly noon time and completed around 8pm at night.

I won’t go into too much details about the surgery but it is delicate work as it involved the eyes. Basically, removal of excess skin and tightening of muscles around the eye area with stitches etc.

Before I forget, in the middle of the surgery, the doctor would have to wake [K] up to open her eyes and check if she is satisfied with the size of the eye openings.

If this is too scary and gross for you, you can stop reading now.

Obviously, this is easier said than done, considering the effects of anesthesia. The clinic shared stories of people who were very difficult to “wake up” and those who exhibit behavior similar to that of being drunk or even worse – violence.

I hung out at a nearby mall and did my work on my laptop in cafes and bistros, because I wouldn’t know exactly when the surgery would be done.

While I was having dinner, I received a call that I can make my way to the clinic in about an hour’s time. No points for guessing – I quickly finished up and walked over to wait for my wife to be “released” by the doctor.

Turns out that the anesthetic made my wife groggy and nauseous, although she was already conscious. Considering that she had been fasting prior to surgery, this meant that her body has been deprived of precious food and nutrients for a prolonged period of time.

I guess [K] was feeling too groggy and in no condition to understand or remember the incredibly long list of instructions for her post-surgery medication and after-care routine. Thankfully, her husband i.e. me happens to be a ex-medic (everything happened for a reason in life, maybe) and so, I took down detailed instructions on what needed to be done and followed-up upon.

Since she was too weak to walk, the nurse from the clinic was nice enough to provide a wheelchair and helped push her down to the lobby while I carried our bags. Hopped into a Grab car that I had booked and we were home in no time.

Later conversations revealed that my wife doesn’t remember much of what happened that night.

I took care of her and helped her get ready to rest for the night. Contrary to what you might think, there is no need to consume any food yet due to the medications that is still in her system.

Food can wait until the morning – just water would do for now.

Ptosis surgery in Singapore : Financial matters

The juiciest part of this blog post with a full breakdown of all the money matters –

Item Cost
Pre-Surgery Consultation $374.50
Pre-Surgery Blood Test $192.60
Ptosis (Main Surgery) plus consumable $14,126.60
Double Eye Lid (Sub Surgery) $3210.00
Fat Graft (Sub Surgery) $3210.00
Post Op Review #1 plus consumables $410.10
Post Op Review #2 $107.00
Post Op Review #3 $86.50
Eye Specialist Visits 1511.92

This comes up to a grand total of $23,229.22 excluding misc. expenses incurred such as Grab rides to/from medical consultations as well as consumables that we have purchased separately from pharmacies.

Only the first three post-surgery consultations are chargeable; the rest are free.

All in all, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to have spent more than S$25,000 in total. Phew!

After the first consultation, we had decided to proceed with the ptosis surgery after discussing over it. A deposit of S$21,000 was paid – after which subsequent expenses would be deducted from this deposit.

The deposit can be split across multiple credit cards (by a particular partner bank) and spread over a max. of 36 months, interest-free. We ended up splitting the bill between the two of us.

I think we were really lucky (shit still happened, but yeah – all things considered, we’re thankful) throughout this arduous process, and having a good doctor helped a lot with the stress and uncertainty. I would also like to compliment the nurses at this clinic for being super friendly and professional throughout this tough journey.

If you’re thinking that’s it – I’m afraid the best and toughest snippets are in part two of my blog post, if you’re interested in reading! Unfortunately, the recovery process isn’t just a matter of sleeping it off and being as good as new the next day.

Orally taken medication, externally applied gel and non-stop eye-drops for a start. The list of medication lined up along my kitchen counter from one end to another, with written instructions on the frequency and amount to take/use!

The most important word of all – symmetry. Unfortunately, the one thing that we cannot control.

2,000 words and I’m not even done yet! In the second part, I will be touching on –

  • Post-Surgery Medications & Consumables
  • Post-Surgery Routine (Ouch)
  • Post-Surgery Consultations
  • Eye Specialist Visits
  • Family Support

If there are any questions that you would like to ask me in private, you can direct message me or drop a comment (just mention not to publish it). I will try my best to share what I know.

This was exactly type of information that would have helped us in a million ways while doing our homework and research, and so this is my little effort in paying it forward and helping folks out there who are affected by ptosis. We understand your pain.

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