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Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Surgery)

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Overview

Blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery, rejuvenates the upper and lower eyelids through the removal or repositioning of excess skin and fat. The procedure can provide a more rested, youthful appearance to the eyes, and frequently is done in conjunction with other facial cosmetic procedures such as a facelift or browlift.

Who Is a Candidate?

Blepharoplasty is a popular procedure for men and women, and is most commonly performed on patients between the ages of 40 and 70 who have excess skin in the eyelids and have a “tired” appearance. The procedure also treats an extreme excess of eyelid skin which can produce “hooding” that may interfere with vision. Blepharoplasty can be combined with a functional eyelid procedure done to address slight drooping of the eyelid. Blepharoplasty of the lower eyelids can help treat bags or dark circles under the eyes.

Eyelid Surgery Risks

A blepharoplasty often will enhance the appearance of a patient’s eye area, producing a more youthful and rested appearance but is considered major surgery. Before surgery you should think carefully about your specific expectations and communicate your goals to your plastic surgeon. Complications are rare. In addition to the risks associated with anesthesia, you might notice a slight asymmetry of your eyelids.

Not every person is a candidate for this procedure, and your risks may be greater or different than those of other patients. Your plastic surgeon will review all potential risks and complications with you prior to the surgery.

Before the Procedure

Your plastic surgeon will give you specific guidelines about preparing for surgery including:

  • Smoking cessation
  • Medications to avoid
  • When to take your prescribed medications
  • Proper washing techniques
  • Restrictions regarding eating and drinking the night before surgery

Your plastic surgeon may request that you have an ophthalmology evaluation prior to surgery in order to evaluate your vision and tear producing function.

Procedure Details

A blepharoplasty can be done in a variety of ways with different types of incisions. Your plastic surgeon will perform a careful evaluation of your entire face, including the area of the eyebrow and orbit, and suggest which procedure will work best for you.

Depending on the degree of excess skin and other factors, the incision may be made on the skin of your eyelids, usually in the natural creases which makes the incisions scars difficult to see after healing, or inside the lower eyelid itself.

Type of anesthesia for eyelid surgery

Your doctor will recommend the best type of anesthesia for you, but local anesthesia along with intravenous sedation or a general anesthesia can be used.

Where Will the Surgery be Performed?

A blepharoplasty usually is done in a hospital as outpatient surgery. You must be driven to and from the hospital by a friend or family member.

Eyelid Surgery Recovery

In most cases, patients usually experience minimal discomfort around the incisions, which can be easily controlled with prescription pain medication. Swelling and bruising in the eyelid and the cheek area is common, and you should keep your head elevated for a couple of days after surgery to minimize the swelling. You also may notice signs of bruising -- a black and blue discoloration. Both the swelling and bruising will begin to disappear within a week.

Most patients will be able to return to work in seven to 10 days. Showering is permitted within the first several days, and vigorous physical activity is limited for several weeks following surgery. Signs of surgery should completely fade within three weeks following the procedure.

Anticipated Results

A blepharoplasty usually produces a more rested, rejuvenated, and “refreshed” look to the upper and lower eyelid area.

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