There’s a reason why doctors no longer perform lobotomies to cure common mental disorders, why you no longer see people walking around carrying “Zack Morris” cell phones the size of bricks or why laptop computers no longer weigh 24 pounds. As technology continues to improve by leaps and bounds, so, too, does the quality of our lives – people are healthier and live longer, information is readily accessible and things happen, well, almost instantly that it seems to be straight out of a science fiction movie.
In the field of cosmetic medicine, it is no exception. It used to be that going under the knife was simply the only way to improve one’s physical appearance. The eyes, a common problem area that women complain about, often present with wrinkles and excess skin, not to mention those little bulges of fat that often hang under the eyes.
Traditionally, blepharoplasty or eyelid surgery has been the only way to remedy these complaints. However, doctors are finding that non-invasive approaches have yielded results that rival those of traditional blepharoplasty, with quicker results and with far fewer risks.
Though it sounds far too good to be true, eye rejuvenation – addressing saggy eyelids and hollowness in the area surrounding the eyes – is much better accomplished by adding volume with non-invasive injections of Restylane and other dermal fillers, combined with chemical peels or laser therapy.
Why Not Traditional Surgery?
Aside form the general risks associated with any surgery, blepharoplasty carries with it inherent risks:
• If excess skin is taken out, there is a significant chance of lower eyelid retraction.
• The scar tissue formed from the incision, even when no skin is taken out, may cause tissue retraction, which changes the shape of the eye.
• If fat is removed to get rid of those bags under the eyes, as the skin ages and loses its plumpness, the loss in volume results in a sunken, hollow look – the very opposite of the desired results.
Another major problem with blepharoplasty concerns the longevity of the results. Because the surgery does not improve the condition of the skin itself, after about half a year, the loose skin will start returning. Imagine going through all the stress and long recovery period of surgery, only to have the problem be worsened a few years down the line!
Because the eyes are a delicate area, surgery might cause them to become dry, blurry, or unable to close. According to Dr. Robert Alan Goldberg, Chief of Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery at UCLA’s Jules Stein Eye Institute, when you pile on the risks associated with the surgery on top of the uncertainty in results, surgical blepharoplasty is a “high-risk, low yield” proposition.
What Is The Alternative To Blepharoplasty?
Rather than removing volume to get rid of eyebags and excess skin, dermal fillers can be used to add volume. This may seem counter-intuitive; however, most of the time, the bulges and hollowness under the eyes are caused by the decrease in the fat that supports the eyelid area. Dr. Goldberg explains that he treats most patients with fillers like Restylane and Juvederm, hyaluronic acid-based fillers which are considered to be the safest. In many cases, judiciously adding volume to the eyelid area smoothes it just as well, if not better, than removing fat and skin, without the risk of sunken-looking eyes later down the road. In addition, the poor skin quality around the eyes can be improved with treatments that help rejuvenate the skin, like chemical peels or resurfacing laser therapy.
Dr. Goldberg adds that the cases where surgical blepharoplasty is truly indicated are rare. If patients do opt for surgery, the transconjunctival technique is preferable over the cutaneous technique. Because cutaneous blepharoplasty involves removal of skin, it carries a higher risk for lower lid retraction and changes in eye and eyelid shape. With transconjunctival blepharoplasty, the fat in the eye area is repositioned to eliminate bulges. As no skin is removed, there is a reduced risk of scar formation and lower lid retraction. Patients should only choose the cutaneous method if the skin under the eyes is significantly loose and overlapping.
Weighing The Pros And Cons of Eyelid Surgery
The non-invasive approach to eyelid rejuvenation does have its drawbacks. The fillers do not last very long and would have to be re-administered to maintain results. And though these procedures carry their own risks as well, they are nowhere near the intensity of those associated with traditional blepharoplasty.
With surgical blepharoplasty, if performed successfully, the results are much less of a hassle to retain than when non-invasive techniques are used. In the end, it boils down to a matter of pros vs. cons – every patient’s case is different. A careful and honest evaluation should be made by a qualified and highly skilled provider to determine the most realistic method to improve the patient’s eye appearance. And while some might opt for the long-term results of traditional blepharoplasty, non-invasive treatments have definitely built themselves a place in the options available to eyelid rejuvenation.
Read about Blepharoplasty:
Eyelid Surgery – Blepharoplasty
Feb 25, 2011 … Blepharoplasty is an eyelid surgery that rids patients of droopy eyelids and bags under the eyes. This is an outpatient procedure that can …