Eyelid Surgery: Nurse to Patient | Blepharoplasty in Melbourne

Case Study: Surgery Nurse having Surgery in Melbourne (Dr Benjamin Burt)

From NURSE to PATIENT at Cosmetic Surgery for Women and Men in Melbourne:   What’s it really like to have eyelid surgery with Dr Burt?  Read the FIRST PERSON CASE STUDY of St Vincent’s Theatre Nurse, Trish, as she moves from being a THEATRE NURSE to being an actual PATIENT of Oculoplastic Surgeon, Dr Benjamin Burt.


Disclosure:  Trish is part of the Team at Cosmetic Surgery for Women & Men. She is a Patient Care Team member and a Practice Ambassador. 

First Person Account: Eyelid Lift Surgery (Trish, Theatre Nurse)

My name is Trish, and I am a Nurse at Cosmetic Surgery for Women and Men. I have worked with the Principal Surgeon, Dr Craig Rubinstein (a Specialist Plastic Surgeon) for almost 20 years for cosmetic surgery operations as well as helping patients at his Hawthorn location.


My Role as a Surgical Nurse for Cosmetic Surgery for Women & Men

My roles at Cosmetic Surgery for Women and Men are primarily:

  • providing individualised post-operative care
  • assisting with minor procedures with our team of Surgeons
  • helping educate patients about what to expect and how to improve their recovery processes

At the hospital, I also assist our Melbourne Plastic Surgeons in Hospital Theatres – so if you’re a patient of ours, you may remember me from your surgery experience.

Upper Melbourne Eye Area Surgery procedure – What to expect

I had an advantage over new patients in that I had seen the surgery first-hand as a theatre nurse. Even so, it’s still somewhat daunting to have surgery, and I made sure I understood what was involved including risks. And all invasive surgery involves risks you need to be aware of.

  • As a Theatre Nurse, one of the surgeries I formerly assisted with frequently was Blepharoplasty procedures with Dr Burt.
  • Dr Benjamin Burt is a Oculoplastic Surgeon who performs an array of different surgeries including upper and lower Blepharoplasty, Corrective Eyelid Surgery for ptosis and ectropion repair as well as forehead lifts (brow lifts) and orbital, facial & ocular trauma surgery.
  • If you have an issue with your eyelids or the appearance of your eyes, chances are you’ll be recommended to see Dr Benjamin Burt – one of our highly respected Surgeons at our Hawthorn/Melbourne practice.

So I anticipated that the surgery would take about an hour and a half (or about that), that I’d have numbing injections, and that I’d be in a calm and best-practice care environment.

Dr Benjamin Burt is shown below (and that’s ME on the table)!

eyelid surgery: Nurse to Patient firsthand experience of eyelid surgery Upper Blepharoplasty

Facial Surgery can be performed in a Hospital or in our Melbourne Clinic for selected procedures and suitable patients

TRISH: I had my surgery in the Clinic as it was an upper eyelid procedure and I had this option. You can also have it performed in a hospital, and if you’re having upper and lower eyelid surgery or lower eyelid surgery, it often needs to be in a hospital setting versus the in-clinic operating theatre. But for upper eyelid surgery, sometimes you can request an in-clinic option.  Ask Dr Burt what he believes is going to be best for your specific eyelid scenario and eyelid surgery goals.

The majority of Eyelid Surgery is performed in a Hospital under a general anaesthetic.

However, some Upper Eyelid Surgery patients find they CAN choose to be operated on using local anaesthetic in our procedure room at Cosmetic Surgery for Women and Men in Melbourne.

Benefits of an in-clinic Theatre option (suitable candidates only):

  • For patients who are suitable for this type of in Clinic procedure, the overall cost is lower than a Hospital procedure;
  • From my personal experience and as a Theatre Nurse, some patients may feel a bit more relaxed and more comfortable in an environment that isn’t as intimidating as a large hospital.
  • Others prefer the hospital setting and sometimes this is definitely the right solution.
  • Ask your Surgeon for information about your options, as this can vary from patient to patient, and remember, all invasive procedures involve risk.

Each patient and surgery is unique.

What’s best for one patient for eyelid surgery may not be best for another.

  • So ask Dr Burt for more information about YOUR specific eyelid surgery options.
  • Or attend an Event where he’s presenting on his different surgeries and results.
  • Remember to verify it’s an event that Dr Burt will be attending, as he volunteers at times for overseas eye surgery for the Fred Hollows Foundation.

Event page for dates.

Knowing what to expect for eyelid surgery makes a big difference to your anxiety levels and your comfort vs discomfort levels.

That’s why your first consultation with Dr Burt is so important. Most patients feel very comfortable communication with Dr Burt as he has a very approachable, knowledgeable and down to earth communication style.

Trish’s words:

I have worked with Eyelid Surgeon & Oculoplastic Specialist, Dr Benjamin Burt, for several years prior to going from “Nurse to Patient” so I knew what to expect with Eyelid Surgery.

  • I had assisted Dr Burt with hundreds of these procedures both in the practice and in the operating theatre.
  • I knew he had my goal in mind – surgery results that are natural looking yet improve my puffy-looking eyes

Bepoke Cosmetic Surgery For Women & Men

(2017) – I finally decided I was ready to have an Upper Blepharoplasty, or eyelid lift surgery.

  • This is a procedure to remove a small amount of loose skin and excess fatty deposits in the upper lid that would eventually begin to overhang and possibly obscure vision.
  • Fortunately, my eyes were not quite at the stage of impeding my vision, but the lids were resting on my lashes and it was getting close. But my goals were primarily cosmetic in nature.
  • Basically, my upper lids had started drooping (see my BEFORE photos), and I wanted my upper eyelid platform restored so that I could apply eye shadow and mascara.

What I looked like BEFORE my Eyelid Surgery

eyes-photo-before-eyelid-surgery- by Dr Benjamin Burt Melbourne

As you can see in the BEFORE photo above, my eyelids had started to look ‘puffy.’

My eyelids were also starting to obscure my lashes as well as the part of the lid (called “the platform”) where I like to wear eye-shadow to accentuate my eyes.

My Surgery Results are Subtle but It’s been an Effective form of rejuvenation

  • In the AFTER Upper Blepharoplasty surgery photo (on the right), you can see how I am now able to wear shadow below the eyelid crease.
  • My eye lashes are also more visible now.

It’s a subtle and natural looking change, but it does make a huge overall difference in how I look.

My Reasons for Having Surgery (Eyelid reduction)

Whilst my vision was not impaired, I did, however, notice that I looked a little serious and tired in photos.

  • I also noticed when looking at older photos of five years earlier, I could see there was a definite deterioration.
  • Working in the cosmetic and plastic surgery industry, I was well aware this would gradually worsen over the next five years.

Plastic & Cosmetic Surgery “Nurse to Patient”

  • I was very much looking forward to the procedure, although I knew it would be strange suddenly being the patient instead of the nurse.
  • I wasn’t worried as I knew the Surgeon, Dr Benjamin Burt, well, including his reputation amongst his peers for excellence, advanced surgical expertise and best-practice sterilisation methods.
  • I understood the procedure well in advance and knew exactly what was going to happen.
  • Even so, it’s difficult not to be at least a little anxious.

My story: experience as a patient vs surgical support nurse

  • The procedure started by Dr Burt taking some preoperative photos
  • He then carefully surgical marked the area to be excised
  • Eye drops were applied to numb the area in the preparation for the local anaesthetic
  • The eye drops caused a mild sting for about 5 seconds and that was probably the worst thing about the entire procedure.
    • The local anaesthetic I barely felt, I was expecting something like having anti-wrinkle injections; but I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was.
    • If I had to describe it I would say it was more of a cold distended feeling.


  • After that, I felt nothing, every so often I felt gentle pulling and I occasionally noticed a bright light from the operating room lights.

The time went exceedingly quickly and before I knew it Dr Burt was suturing and the procedure was over.

Here’s a photo of me immediately after eyelid surgery

Warning: it’s a bit graphic.


Recovery & Healing

As a nurse, I am well aware of how important following the post-operation healing protocols are for getting a great result.

  • After surgery, I followed all the post-op instructions.
  • I also applied ice for the first 24 hours and the prescribed antibiotic eye ointment twice a day.
  • For the first night, I slept semi upright to help decrease the swelling and bruising.
  • I also took Arnica tablets, these are a natural product derived from the European plant to assist with bruising and swelling.

All Cosmetic Surgery for Women & Men, patients receive a “Science & Love” Rapid Recovery Pack, including the Arnica and other important healing supplements for after surgery. Also in the pack was a powdered drink called Arginine, which increases the collagen accumulation which assists with healing and helps stimulate the immune response.

Was it Painful? No, not for me. But my eyes “felt tired” as I healed after eyelid surgery.

  • I was surprised that I had no pain, there was only slight discomfort.
  • But my eyes felt tired, so I minimalised looking at the computer and kept reading to a minimum for about three days.
  • I relaxed and took it easy for the first three days, and after that I was fine to resume most normal activities.
  • I was back at work day four, but of course I was still a little bruised and swollen.

Going Back to Work After Surgery

I was lucky because I didn’t bruise very much and as I work in a very accepting environment I didn’t need to keep it confidential. For most patients, I would recommend at least seven days off work, if possible, or until the sutures are removed. Every patient is different, however, and some may need as many as ten days off work.

The other treatment I did use and which is available to patients at the practice via Coco Ruby Skin & Anti-Ageing, which I believed may have helped me recover more quickly, was the Healite (low level light therapy).

eyelid surgery: nurse to patient firsthand experience of blepharoplasty surgery - image of healite-ii-after-eyelid-lift-surgery-melbourne

This is a low-level light therapy of red and near infra-red light, this increase blood to tissues therefore promoting healing and reduce inflammation.  Since my Blepharoplasty Surgery, I am a big fan of using Healite to help facilitatie circulation and healing – plus, it feels relaxing to have an LED facial treatment.

  • I had my sutures removed after six days with no problems
  • I am now using a combination of vitamin E ointment and active serums with Retinol for scar management.

My Before and After Photos

eyelid surgery: nurse to patient, my firsthand experience with eyelid lift surgery Upper Blepharoplasty surgery Melbourne

Four Weeks after my Surgery

When I wrote this blog, it’s been four weeks since the procedure, and you can barely notice the scar.

When I have makeup on, its not very visible. But again, patient results can vary from patient to patient.

What I feel about having gone from Nurse to Patient for my eyelid lift procedure:

  • I’m know I’m still healing. and that my results will continue to improve even more over the coming months.
  • To me, the results look natural and the surgery restored my “eyelid look” to closer to what I had about five to ten years ago.
  • I have even been able to purchase some new and exciting eye shadows to wear.

But my favourite part of having had the procedure, other than wanting it to restore a less-tired look to my face, is being able to better educate patients about what it’s ACTUALLY LIKE to have the surgery, itself, and be a patient.

  • I can now speak to patients with even greater knowledge of what it’s like to have an eyelid lift.
  • I can describe the healing sensations more precisely; although I recognise others will have a different sensation and that all patients are unique in their surgery experiences, results and recovery processes.
  • I can describe what it’s like to be on the table having your eyelids operated on, and what I reminded myself about to stay more relaxed.

I hope this blog will be of help to any person thinking of having eyelid surgery.

  • If I can pass on one piece of advice, that would be please do your homework and only go to a qualified experience Surgeon and reputable practice with a good long term reputation.
  • As a theatre nurse, I have seen too many bad results that are unfixable and as we like to say, “the best time to get it right is the first time”.
  • Results can vary from patient to patient, as each person is unique; but during a consultation, Dr Burt will let you know what to expect from YOUR procedure in view of what you’re starting with AND discuss what you’re wanting to achieve through eyelid surgery.


Download a Guide to having Eyelid Surgery.


Please don’t hesitate to contact the Clinic for further information or even attend one of the practices information events.

Please consider making an appointment with Dr Burt.

Phone the patient care team on (03) 8849 1444 to make an appointment or send an enquiry form below.

Ms. Trish McCristal, RN

Theatre Nurse & Patient Education/Patient Care Ambassador with Cosmetic Surgery for Women & Men.

For more information about Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery options and research in Australia.

cosmetic surgery for women and men Downloadable guides Female Plastic Surgeon Melbourne

Download our free guides or phone (03) 8849 1444 today – and ask for a no-obligation consultation.

Author profile image
Dr Geoff Barnett
Dr Geoffrey Barnett, FRACS (Plas) is a Melbourne based Specialist Plastic Surgeon who has over 35 years of expertise in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon for Cosmetic Surgery, Plastic Surgery and Body Contouring Surgery after Bariatric Surgery.Qualifications and Memberships: Specialist Plastic Surgeon (FRACS) Member - Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery [FRACS (Plast).The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) is the only professional body recognised by the Australian Medical Council (AMC) and the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ) to train Surgeons in Australia and New Zealand.Author BIO page: https://plasticsurgeons.com.au/dr-geoff-barnett/