Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty)
Deposits of fatty tissue and sagging skin around the eyes minimize the appearance of the eyes and potentially obstruct vision. Additionally, loose skin above the eyes and prominent bags and creases under the eyes will make you appear exhausted in spite of how vivacious you feel.
Eyelid surgery, also called blepharoplasty surgery can correct puffiness, slackness and wrinkling around the eyes. Eyelid surgery can be performed on the upper lids, the lower lids, or a combination of the two. Depending on the severity of the condition, blepharoplasty may be covered by some insurance plans. This procedure is commonly performed in conjunction with face lift surgery or endoscopic brow lift surgery.
Am I a Good Candidate?
Men and women, usually in their mid-30s up who are in good health and have drooping skin or accumulations of fat around the eyes will benefit from eyelid surgery.
Possible Risks and Complications
If performed by an experienced board certified plastic surgeon, complications are rare. Nevertheless, such complications should be taken into account when considering any cosmetic surgery procedure. Depending on the individual and his/her adherence to the surgeon’s instructions there may be risk of excessive bleeding, infection, and/or reaction to anesthesia.
Temporary complications associated with blepharoplasty include temporary swelling at the corner of the eyelids, blurred vision, difficulty closing the eyes, and slight asymmetry in healing. In extremely rare cases, possible complications include difficulty closing the eye completely when sleeping and ectropian (a pulling down of the lower lids) which requires corrective surgery.
Preparing for Surgery
Before surgery, your surgeon will discuss your expectations as well as the cost of eyelid surgery. The surgeon will also most likely provide a homeopathic remedy such as Arnica, which is taken the day before surgery and a week to ten days after to help reduce the effects of bruising and swelling. If you are a smoker, you are strongly encouraged to refrain from smoking for at least two weeks prior to the procedure and continue to refrain from smoking until your incisions have healed (about two weeks after the procedure). This will promote faster healing and reduce the risk of infection.
Eyelid Surgery Procedure
The eyelid surgery procedure takes between one and two hours. Your plastic surgeon will make the incisions along the natural lines of the upper eyelids and inside the lower eyelids, invisible from the outside. This is known as the transconjunctival approach. Through these incisions, the surgeon separates the skin from the underlying fatty tissue and muscle and removes excess fat, muscle, or sagging skin. Then the surgeon closes the incisions with very fine sutures and lubricates the eyes with a special ointment.
Eyelid Surgery Recovery Time
During your recovery after eyelid surgery, your eyes will be bandaged. It’s not uncommon to experience some numbness, swelling and/or discomfort at the incision sight. This is normal and will pass with time. Any discomfort experienced after the procedure is controlled with a cold compress and oral pain medications prescribed by your surgeon. If you experience severe pain, contact your doctor immediately. Your eyes may feel “gummy” from the lubricating ointment used on your eyes. You’ll be instructed on how to clean and care for your eyes before surgery. Bandages will be removed a day or two after surgery. In most cases, stitches will be removed within one to three weeks.
Although you may be up and about a day or two after surgery, you should take it easy for at least one week. Swelling and bruising may last from two weeks to a month. You’ll want to keep your head elevated and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling and bruising. Minor swelling and bruising can be concealed with make-up.
- MedlinePlus (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002977.htm)
- American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (http://www.surgery.org/)