Blepharoplasty is an eyelid surgery that rids patients of droopy eyelids and bags under the eyes. This is an outpatient procedure that can leave you looking younger and more refreshed in as little as 1 – 3 hours.
The term blepharoplasty can refer to upper eyelid surgery, lower eyelid surgery, or both. Upper eyelid surgery involves the removal of excess skin above the eyes. Droopy upper eyelids can cause a stern or sleepy appearance and, in extreme cases, can even partially obstruct the patient’s vision.
Some people develop pockets of fat beneath their eyes as they age. This can lead to pronounced bags under the eyes, as well as sagging undereye skin. Lower eyelid surgery can correct these defects.
There are two main types of lower eyelid surgery:
During transcutaneous blepharoplasty, the surgeon can tighten skin, remove wrinkles and fat deposits, and even strengthen the muscles around the eyes by creating an incision along the row of lower lashes. It is recommended in patients with excessive loose skin. This is considered a more invasive procedure than transconjunctival blepharoplasty, and results in a higher incidence of misshapen eyelids.
Transconjunctival blepharoplasty is used to remove excess fat beneath the eyes through an incision inside the lower eyelid. It cannot be used to remove skin tissue or alter muscle structure without secondary incisions. This technique is minimally invasive, and allows the surgeon to remove and resculpt fatty tissue with greater precision.
At the initial consultation, the surgeon will collect information about your medical history and individual needs. They will determine which anesthesia will be the safest for you, and ensure that you have reasonable expectations for the surgeryís results.
The best candidate for blepharoplasty is an adult, usually 35 years of age or older, in generally good health. Patients with heart disease, diabetes, or any condition which hinders the bodyís healing ability might not be suitable candidates. Always fully disclose your medical conditions during your consultation so the surgeon can make an informed decision.
Before undergoing blepharoplasty, patients are advised to avoid taking aspirin or anti-inflammatory drugs for 24 hours prior to surgery. Smokers are urged to refrain from smoking for 2 weeks before the procedure and throughout the entire recovery phase. Patients should not wear cosmetics or lotion on the day of surgery.
The procedure itself takes as little as 1 to 3 hours. To begin, a surgical team member will clean the face thoroughly. Then anesthesia is administered. This could be general anesthesia or a combination of sedation and local anesthesia, depending on the patientís health and the surgeonís judgment.
For upper eyelid revision, the surgeon makes a small incision in the natural crease of the eyelid. Excess skin is trimmed away, and the eyelid is pulled tight. Stitches are then placed in the upper eyelid crease to hold the skin firm. This technique keeps visible scarring to a minimum.
During transcutaneous lower eyelid surgery, the incision is made along the bottom row of eyelashes, or just inside the lower eyelid. Droopy skin and fatty deposits are removed, and the stitches are camouflaged among the lower lashes. If your surgeon elected to perform a transconjunctival blepharoplasty, excess fat will be removed through a small incision on the inside of the lower eyelid.
Recovery can take between 2 weeks and 1 month. Patients report moderate pain in the first few days, but this can be controlled through prescription pain medications. Patients should avoid strenuous exercise for several weeks following surgery. Bruising and swelling of the eyelids typically lasts up to 2 weeks, and it can take 6 months for the incisions to fade into thin, white scars.
There are risks involved with all surgical procedures. Possible complications of blepharoplasty include skin discoloration, abnormal scarring, dry eye syndrome, or difficulty closing the eyes. Your doctor should address these risks during your consultation, and advise you on ways to minimize the chance of complications.
It’s important for all blepharoplasty patients to go into the procedure with realistic expectations. Blepharoplasty can correct sagging eyelids, make almond-shaped eyes appear rounder, and get rid of bags under the eyes. Patients who wish to correct dark circles, wrinkles, or drooping brows will need to investigate other cosmetic procedures.
For the right candidate, blepharoplasty can shave years off of their appearance. Always choose an experienced and licensed cosmetic surgeon for your blepharoplasty. And remember: when it comes to cosmetic surgery, cheaper isnít always better. Look online for cosmetic surgeon ratings and reviews to find the best doctor for your needs.