William Callaghan. MD (blepharoplasty Surgery)
Eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty or eye lift) is a popular cosmetic plastic surgery to remove excess skin, fat or muscle from droppy upper and lower eyelids. Blepharoplasty improves baggy skin under the eyes, sinking upper eyelids or drooping eyelashes that impair vision. The surgery can also treat a medical condition called ptosis (drooping eyelid), which is caused by poor muscle tone or nerve damage. Ptosis causes the eyelids to hang very low and block vision.
Blepharoplasty treats drooping eyelids, but not drooping eyebrows or wrinkles. Blepharoplasty is often performed with another cosmetic surgery such as a brow lift or facelift to improve droopy eyebrows, crow's feet and facial sagging.
Why Eyelid Surgery?
As we age, redundant skin forms in the eye area, and the skin loses elasticity. Fatty tissue can accumulate under the skin. Your eyes will "look older" because these aging processes leave the eyes appearing tired, wrinkled or puffy. Even with good skincare and eyecare, wrinkles, puffiness and drooping eyelids will catch up to you. Genetic factors and body chemistry can cause these aging effects in younger people. Plastic surgery may restore a youthful and refreshed appearance to your eyes.
Who is a good candidate?
The best candidates for blepharoplasty are physically healthy, emotionally stable and well-informed about the procedure. Candidates may be excluded if they have any of the following conditions: dry eyes, high blood pressure, hypothyroidism, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, glaucoma, or Graves' disease. Your anatomy, including bone and supporting structure, may also affect your candidacy.
The Procedure in Detail
Your surgeon will make incisions along the line creases of the upper eyelid and possibly along the outer lower rim of the eye's skin. When removing fatty tissue, but not skin, the surgeon may perform a transconjunctival blepharoplasty with an incision inside the lower rim of the eye's skin. These incisions often reach the outer corners of the eyes. The surgeon then divides the fatty tissue and muscle from the skin so that excess skin, fat or muscle can be removed.
Eyelid surgery is often performed under local anesthesia — while you are sedated, numbed and awake — in an outpatient surgery center, surgeon's office or hospital. General anesthesia (meaning, while you are asleep) may be used. Depending on the extent of the procedure, time in surgery may be up to three hours. Patients return home typically within hours of the surgery.
Post Operative Recovery
Your eyes will likely be lubricated and covered with bandages after surgery. The eyes need to have ice, or cold packs, placed on them for the first 3-4 days. Oral medications will help with pain and discomfort during your eyelid surgery recovery. Report any unmanageable pain to your doctor immediately. The doctor will also prescribe an antibiotic to prevent infection.
Stitches are removed about a week after surgery. Bruising and swelling will continue to decrease after stitches are removed. Sunglasses and protective sun block are required for several weeks.
Normal activities can resume after about 10 days, though strenuous activities such as lifting, bending and exercise can resume after about three weeks.
Complications and Risks of Blepharoplasty
Following surgery, you may experience tearing, itchy, burning eyes, dry eyes, light sensitivity and blurred or double vision, which can persist for several days. Lubricating eye drops. can relieve these complications. There will also be some swelling around the eyes. Scarring is another possible complication.
Sometimes patients have difficulty closing their eyes when asleep; though rare, this complication can be permanent. The lower lids may appear to be pulled down; this rare condition, called ectropion, may require additional surgery. The eyes may also look somewhat asymmetrical.
As with any surgery, eyelid surgery risks include infection and reaction to the anesthesia.