Also known as blepharoplasty, eyelid surgery improves the appearance of the upper eyelids, lower eyelids, or both, and gives a rejuvenated appearance to the surrounding area of your eyes, making you look more rested and alert.
Cosmetic eyelid surgery, can help improve the appearance of the upper eyelids, lower eyelids, or both, and give a rejuvenated appearance to the surrounding area of your eyes, making you look more rested and alert.
What Eyelid Surgery Can Do
Eyelid surgery can treat:
- Loose or sagging skin that creates folds or disturbs the natural contour of the upper eyelid, sometimes impairing vision
- Excess fatty deposits that appear as puffiness in the upper eyelids
- Bags under the eyes
- Droopiness of the lower eyelids, showing white below the iris (colored portion of the eye)
- Excess skin and fine wrinkles of the lower eyelid
Best Candidates for a Eyelid Surgery
Ideal candidates for eyelid surgery include:
- Healthy individuals who do not have a life-threatening illness or medical conditions that can impair healing
- Individuals with a positive outlook and specific goals in mind for blepharoplasty
- Individuals without serious eye conditions
Is Eyelid Surgery Right for Me?
Eyelid surgery is usually performed on adult men and women who have healthy facial tissue and muscles and have realistic goals for improvement of the upper and/or lower eyelids and surrounding area.
You should do it for yourself, not to fulfill someone else’s desires or to try to fit any sort of ideal image.
This procedure is a good option for you if:
- You are physically healthy and of relatively normal weight
- You have realistic expectations
- Your breast development has stabilized
- You are bothered by the feeling that your breasts are too large
You must tell your doctor if you have any of these medical conditions:
- Eye disease such as glaucoma, dry eye or a detached retina
- Thyroid disorders such as Graves’ disease and under or overactive thyroid
- Cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure or other circulatory disorders or diabetes
Preparing for Eyelid Surgery
The success and safety of your eyelid surgery procedure depends very much on your complete candidness during your consultation. You’ll be asked a number of questions about your health, desires and lifestyle.
Prior to surgery, you may be asked to:
- Get lab testing or a medical evaluation
- Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
- Stop smoking well in advance of surgery
- Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding
Special instructions you receive will cover:
- What to do on the night before and the morning of surgery
- The use of anesthesia during your procedure
- Post-operative care and follow-up
Your plastic surgeon will also discuss where your procedure will be performed. Blepharoplasty may be performed in an accredited office-based surgical center, outpatient or ambulatory surgical center, or a hospital.
If your eyelid surgery is performed on an outpatient basis, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you for at least the first night following surgery.
Eyelid Surgery Overview
Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. The choices include intravenous sedation or general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.
The incision lines for eyelid surgery are designed for scars to be well concealed within the natural structures of the eyelid region.
Droopy conditions of the upper eyelid can be corrected through an incision within the natural crease of the upper eyelid allowing repositioning of fat deposits, tightening of muscles and tissue, and/or removal of excess skin.
Conditions of the lower eyelid may be corrected with an incision just below the lower lash line. Through this incision, excess skin in the lower eyelids is removed.
A transconjunctival incision, one hidden inside the lower eyelid, is an alternate technique to correct lower eyelid conditions and redistribute or remove excess fat.
Closing the Incision
Eyelid incisions typically are closed with:
- Removable or absorbable sutures
- Skin adhesives
- Surgical tape
Your surgeon may use a laser chemical peel to erase dark discoloration of the lower eyelids.
Eyelid Surgery Results
The results of eyelid surgery will appear gradually as swelling and bruising subside to reveal a smooth, better-defined eyelid and surrounding region, and an alert and rejuvenated appearance.
Your final results will appear within several weeks, but it may take up to a year for incision lines to fully refine.
Will There be Scars?
Your eyelid surgery scars will eventually fade, becoming virtually invisible. As you heal, your scars will be pinkish and somewhat plump. The pinkness can persist for six months or longer.
Eyelid Surgery Recovery
After your procedure is completed, lubricating ointment and cold compresses may be applied, and in some cases your eyes may be loosely covered with gauze.
Initial healing may include some swelling, bruising, irritation or dry eyes and discomfort that can be controlled with medication, cold compresses and ointment. Irritation at the incision sites also is possible.
The recovery period for eyelid surgery is relatively quick, ranging from around 7 – 10 days.
While eyelid surgery can be expected to correct certain conditions permanently, you will continue to age naturally. Life-long sun protection will help to maintain your results.
You will be given specific instructions that may include: How to care for your eyes, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your overall health, and when to follow-up with your plastic surgeon.
Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your individual recovery period:
- Where will I be taken after my surgery is complete?
- What medication will I be given or prescribed after surgery?
- Will I have dressings/bandages after surgery?
- When will they be removed?
- Are stitches removed? When?
- When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
- When do I return for follow-up care?
You must practice diligent sun protection and use darkly tinted sunglasses until the healing process is fully complete.
When You Return Home
If you experience shortness of breath, chest pains, or unusual heart beats, seek medical attention immediately. Should any of these complications occur, you may require hospitalization and additional treatment.
The practice of medicine and surgery is not an exact science. Although good results are expected, there is no guarantee. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single surgical procedure. Another surgery may be necessary.
Following your physician’s instructions is key to the success of your surgery. It is important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, abrasion or motion during the time of healing. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself.
Possible Risks of Eyelid Surgery
The decision to have eyelid surgery is extremely personal and you’ll have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications are acceptable.
You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo and any risks or potential complications.
Possible risks of eyelid surgery include:
- Unfavorable scarring
- Temporarily blurred or impaired vision
- Dry eyes
- Difficulty closing your eyes
- Lid lag, a pulling down of the lower eyelid may occur and is often temporary
- Ectropion, rolling of the eyelid outwards
- Bleeding (hematoma)
- Poor wound healing
- Fluid accumulation
- Blood clots
- Numbness and other changes in skin sensation
- Anesthesia risks
- Eyelid disorders that involve abnormal position of the upper eyelids (eyelid ptosis), loose eyelid skin, or abnormal laxness of the lower eyelid (ectropion) can coexist with sagging forehead and eyebrow structures; brow lift surgery will not correct these disorders; additional surgery may be required
- Pain, which may persist
- Skin discoloration and swelling
- Sutures may spontaneously surface through the skin, become visible or produce irritation that require removal
- Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
- Possibility of revisional surgery
- Loss of eyesight
These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It is important that you address all your questions directly with your plastic surgeon.
Note: It’s very important to ask your plastic surgeon questions about your eyelid procedure. It’s natural to feel some anxiety, whether it’s excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don’t be shy about discussing these feelings with your plastic surgeon.