EYELID SURGERY (BLEPHAROPLASTY)
Blepharoplasty, also known as eyelid surgery, can be used to improve the appearance of both upper and lower eyelids. Blepharoplasty can help restore a more youthful look and can improve functional problems you may be having with your eyelids. Blepharoplasty procedures remove the excess skin of the eyelid as well as the herniated fat pads from under the lids. In doing this, you reduce both the skin and heaviness of the eyelids.
Eyelid Surgery Candidates Include:
- Healthy individuals who do not have a serious medical condition, which may impair healing
- Individuals who do not have a serious eye condition
- Individuals who have a positive outlook for their eyelid surgery
Upper eyelid surgery is performed through a small incision in the natural crease of the eye. This allows the incision to be hidden while the eyes are open and only if the eyes were closed while sleeping, would that incision be able to be seen. It typically heals as a very fine line and sometimes will eventually be almost unnoticeable to the naked eye. The surgery is performed by removal of the extra skin. This skin is marked before surgery with the eyes open and closed so that the eyelid can remain closed after surgery. The fat pads from the inner most and the middle section of the eyelid are then dissected down and removed. Occasionally if the patient has ptosis or looseness of the muscles of the eyelid it will be repaired at the time of surgery. The surgeon can best determine which approach is best for you.
Surgery of the lower eyelids is a similar surgery. The incision is right below the lash line of the lower lid. The skin is lifted and the fat pads from the lower lid are then removed. These fat pads are what contribute to “bagging” under the eyes. After these fat pads are removed, the skin is delicately laid back and the excess is trimmed away.
The sutures for both the upper and lower eyelid surgery are typically all dissolvable. Occasionally a few permanent sutures are placed into the upper and lower eyelid just in case the patient is to rub the eyelid after surgery so that the very fine sutures are not disrupted. These are removed after one week.
Length of Surgery
Upper and lower eyelid surgery takes about one hour for each procedure, so if both upper and lower eyelids are being done, it is about a two hour surgery.
Recovery, Risks and Results
After surgery it’s not uncommon to have tired eyes or blurring of the vision. This will resolve over time. Other things that are common after surgery include dry eyes. Because of this, it’s recommended that you use saline eye drops as well as an ointment on the eyes in the evening. A prescription antibiotic eye ointment will be prescribed for placement onto the incisions. During this time, ice can be your best friend. It is important to ice the eyes on and off throughout the day. This helps reduce swelling and also helps control pain. It’s also recommended to keep the head elevated either in a seated position or to sleep with an additional pillow under your head. This is to help prevent excess swelling.
Most of the bruising will resolve around two weeks post-op. The swelling can take anywhere from 6-8 weeks to resolve completely, but most people are able to be out and about after one to two weeks in public without having to wear dark glasses or makeup. It is recommended to wait until 4 weeks to return to strenuous activities or “head down” activities, which raises the heart rate or blood pressure and could increase the swelling or compromise the stitches.
There are potential risks with any surgery. Potential risks of eyelids surgery may include anesthesia risks, swelling and bleeding, dryness to the eyes, difficult closing eyes, infection, changes in skin sensation, and the possible need for revision surgery.
The results of eyelid surgery will be long lasting. Your final results will appear within several weeks, but it may take up to a year for the incision lines to fully heal. Eyelid surgery will correct certain conditions, but you will continue to age naturally. As with any surgery, there is no guarantee. There is also a chance revision surgery may be necessary.