One of the first indicators of aging can be seen in the eyes. As you age, your eyelids begin to droop, making you appear tired and older than you probably are. If it progresses far enough, drooping eyelids can even impair your vision. Eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty, is a procedure that can counteract this, as well as repair unsatisfying eye traits you may have inherited. It is one of the most popular facial rejuvenation procedures because blepharoplasty produces significant results with minimal downtime. Because results are so natural and scars are hidden and very discrete, patients often enjoy compliments without mentioning they’ve had cosmetic surgery.
Blephoplasty can be performed as upper eyelid surgery and/or lower eyelid surgery to address your individualized concerns and achieve your desired result. Often this procedure is also performed in conjunction with a face lift or brow lift for full facial rejuvenation.
Cosmetic eyelid surgery to address concerns with the top eyelid is extremely common. Many men and women are concerned with excess skin on the upper eyelid which can make a person look tired, sad or mad. In extreme cases it may also contribute vision problems. To correct this, eyelid surgery is performed by creating a thin incision along the upper fold of the eyelid – this is naturally hidden by the crease of your eye to prevent visible scarring. Excess fat, muscle and skin are removed for an appearance that is tighter and smoother, but still very natural looking. The incision is then closed with very small, thin dissolvable sutures. After surgery patients achieve a much more youthful and refreshed appearance.
Lower blepharoplasty for cosmetic eyelid surgery addresses concerns with puffiness and bags under the eyes, which can cause a tired or sad appearance. It also may make patients look much older. Performed either alone or with upper eyelid surgery, lower eyelid surgery removes and redistributes fat for a smoother, tighter appearance. First an incision is made along the lower lash line – allowing for discrete scars which are virtually un-noticeable. Then fat and tissue is redistributed, skin tightened and the excess removed. Incisions are closed with tiny sutures which will dissolve on their own. If non dissolvable sutures are used, they will be removed in 3-5 days. If you do not have excess skin and are just looking to remove puffiness below the eyes, your surgeon can perform transconjunctival blepharoplasty, which hides the incision underneath the lower eyelid. Your surgeon will discuss which type of lower eyelid surgery is best for you during your complimentary consultation.
Although it does not receive as much media attention as many other types of plastic surgery, eyelid surgery can help both men and women improve the appearance of their faces. If you are a healthy, stable individual with realistic expectations, you should continue reading to find out more about eyelid surgery. While eyelid surgery is most commonly performed on men and women over the age of thirty-five, if you are younger and have baggy or droopy eyelids, you can still be a potential candidate to undergo eyelid surgery. It is important to discuss the best options for you with your plastic surgeon during your complimentary consultation.
The process of undergoing eyelid surgery begins with a surgical consultation. During this consultation, your board certified plastic surgeon will evaluate whether or not you are a good candidate for cosmetic eyelid surgery. The surgical evaluation will include a review of your medical history, a survey of your current condition (allergies, medications, vitamins, and other substances including alcohol, cigarettes and recreational drugs). Your surgeon will also review information and records from your ophthalmologist, along with testing your sight and tear production. It is very important to be completely honest with your surgeon so they can identify and minimize the chances of any complications.
In addition to conducting an evaluation, your surgeon will discuss all of the details of blepharoplasty with you. From the cost of the eyelid surgery (which will normally not be covered by insurance carriers unless there is significant proof of your eyelids negatively impacting your vision) to the specific technique that will be used to the type of anesthesia that will be administered during your eyelid surgery. You will be provided all of the information that you need to make an informed decision about this procedure directly from your plastic surgeon. The other important component of this consultation is ensuring that you and your plastic surgeon are on the same page about your expectations after eyelid surgery. By being candid and honest about your expectations, your surgeon can decide on the best approach and method to achieve the results that you desire.
Once your consultation is complete and your plastic surgeon approves you for blepharoplasty, you will receive detailed guidelines on how to prepare for your surgery. This includes instructions about drinking, eating, taking medications and smoking. To ensure that your recovery process gets off to a smooth start, you should find a family member or friend who can take you home after eyelid surgery and help you get settled to begin your recovery.
Although there are cases where a surgeon will choose to use local anesthesia, most surgeons choose to use general anesthesia for most favorable results. Once the anesthesia has been administered, your surgeon will make incisions along the natural lines of your eyelids (in the event of all four eyelids being done, most surgeons choose to start at the top and end on the bottom). Blepharoplasty takes about 1-3 hours to perform and is often also performed alongside a face, neck or brow lift.
After eyelid surgery, the treated area will be lubricated and covered with bandages. You will need to rest for the first few days following surgery, take prescribed medications and follow instructions carefully. After surgery your plastic surgeon will discuss how apply lubricant and eye drops, as well as how to clean the area around the eyes. You will be required to sleep at a 45 degree angle for the first few nights for optimal healing.
Cold compresses and pain medication can be used to alleviate pain and reduce swelling. Arnica and Bromelin are also recommended to prevent swelling and bruising after eyelid surgery. It is also important that you do not wear contacts or make up for the first two weeks after surgery.
If undissolvable stitches are used, they will be removed 7-10 days after surgery. Be careful not to irritate the area around the eyes or participate in strenuous activities for at least 3 weeks. Most patients are, however, able to return to work and regular activities after about 10 days.
As with any type of surgical procedure, certain risks apply. These risks will be discussed in detail at your complimentary consultation. It is important to know that eyelid surgery will only correct certain imperfections. This is why it is important to discuss reasonable expectations with your surgeon. Eyelid surgery is an ideal option if your main concern is drooping eyelids, puffiness or excess skin. It won't, however, eliminate crow's feet, significant wrinkles, dark circles, or erase ethnic or racial heritage. Some of these issues can be addressed if you combine your eyelid surgery with other procedures.
Side effects after eyelid surgery include tearing of the eyes, itchiness around the incision site, a mild burning sensation or dry eyes. Topical eyelid lubrication and prescription eye drop are prescribed to help alleviate these side effects. Pinkish scars can remain for six months or more, but eventually they will fade and become almost invisible, leaving fresh eyelids that don't impair your vision and make you look very youthful.Only in rare cases will patients be unsatisfied with the appearance of scars.
In extremely rare cases cosmetic eyelid surgery patients may experience difficulty closing eyelids completely, which may or may not be permanent; however, our surgeons are highly specialized in blepharoplasty procedures and take utmost precaution to provide patients with the best results possible.
Other complications may include infection or unfavorable reaction to anesthesia. These are also rare and preventative measures are taken to reduce the risk of complication. Ultimately, eyelid surgery is a relatively quick procedure that will leave you looking years younger. Plus, unlike certain other surgeries, the results for many people are permanent.