Eyelid Lift – Blepharoplasty
Our eyes serve crucial functions for vision and for communication with others. Their appearance is extremely important and a key physical attribute of the aesthetics of the face as well as in displaying emotion. The skin and shape of the eyelids also gives an indication of a person’s age. Eyelids may start to droop and sag as the supporting tissues become attenuated, and this may be caused by several factors such as natural aging, sun damage, smoking, and obesity. The area around the eyes is often one of the first to exhibit signs of deterioration, as the skin of the eyelid is extremely thin and any changes are quickly evident. Eyelids that droop or bulge can cause people to appear much older or fatigued than they actually are.
Blepharoplasty, also known as eyelid surgery or eyelid lift, is a surgical procedure that improves the appearance of the upper and lower eyelids by tightening soft tissues or removing excess skin, muscle, and fat from around the eyes. This procedure can be beneficial to both men and women alike and results in a younger, more refreshed look and rejuvenating a person’s appearance.
Blepharoplasty is now the most popular facial plastic surgery procedure after plastic surgery of the nose, called rhinoplasty. The popularity of this procedure reflects the importance of the eyes in optimizing overall facial appearance. In fact, two-thirds of adults consider the eyes to be the defining feature of the face. If you are unhappy with the appearance of your eyes, you may want to consider blepharoplasty to improve your look and boost your confidence through a safe procedure with minimal downtime.
Candidates for Blepharoplasty
The best candidates for blepharoplasty are individuals who are in good overall health and who do not smoke or have any serious eye conditions. If you have loose, sagging skin or puffy bags around your eyes, this procedure can help reduce these unwanted physical attributes and leave the eyes looking young and fresh.
It is important for patients to have realistic expectations before undergoing surgery in order to be satisfied with their results. While this procedure can enhance your appearance and may improve self-confidence as a result, it cannot alter your entire appearance or change the structure of your face. Some patients may also benefit from additional facial rejuvenation procedures performed concurrently such as brow lift, facelift, neck lift, and rhinoplasty.
The blepharoplasty procedure is most often performed under monitored local anesthesia with intravenous sedation. Patients may choose to have this procedure on either their upper or lower eyelids, or on both upper and lower eyelids concurrently. Depending on these choices, the procedure can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour.
If the upper eyelid is being treated, an incision is made along the natural crease of the eyelid. Once the incision is made, Dr. Hutchinson may remove fat deposits, excess muscle, and loose skin as indicated in order to leave the eyes looking younger and refreshed. For the lower eyelid, a scarless procedure using a transconjunctival approach involves operating from within the inside of the lower lid which leaves no visible scar. Alternatively, an external incision may be made just below the lash line in order for excess skin to be removed. The eyelid skin may also be tightened with a resurfacing procedure such as a chemical peel or laser treatment, which creates smoother skin with fewer wrinkles. In patients with loose lower eyelids or those whose eyelid shape is suboptimal, additional procedures such as a canthopexy or canthoplasty to stabilize or reposition the lower lid may be performed.
After the eyelid lift surgery is performed, the skin incisions are closed with sutures which will be removed after 5-7 days. A transconjunctival lower eyelid blepharoplasty does not require any sutures and produces no scar on the eyelid skin.
Recovery from Blepharoplasty
After the blepharoplasty procedure, Dr. Hutchinson may recommend applying eye drops, lubricating ointment, and cold compresses to aid the healing process and minimize side effects such as swelling, bruising, irritation or dry eyes.
Patients can usually return to work within a few days, but should avoid exercise and strenuous activities for at least 2 weeks. Swelling and bruising usually subside within two weeks after surgery. Dr. Hutchinson will give you specific and elaborate instructions on how to care for your eyes after blepharoplasty surgery.
Results of Blepharoplasty
Results of a blepharoplasty procedure are visible as swelling and bruising subside and will continue to improve for several weeks after surgery. This procedure is designed to produce long-lasting resultswith permanent removal of the skin, fat, and muscle. While surgery cannot prevent your eyes from aging, most patients are extremely satisfied with their results and notice a significant improvement in their appearance.
The scars from the blepharoplasty procedure are usually imperceptible and will fade with time until they are virtually unnoticeable. The incision is hidden in the crease of the eyelid in an upper blepharoplasty, and just below the lower lashes or completely hidden inside of the eyelid in a lower blepharoplasty.
Risks of Blepharoplasty
As with any surgical procedure, there are certain risks associated with this procedure. Although rare, these risks include bleeding, infection, dry eyes, eyelid malposition and an inability to fully close the eyes. Many of these risks can be minimized by choosing an experienced surgeon and following proper care instructions after surgery. You can discuss these risks, along with any other concerns you may have, with Dr. Hutchinson to better understand and reduce anxiety about your eyelid surgery.
The Blepharoplasty Patient’s Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Am I a good candidate for blepharoplasty surgery?
A: You may wish to consider blepharoplasty surgery if you:
- think your upper eyelids:
- hang down over your eyes
- are hooded due to excess skin
- have an unattractive contour
- make you look old or tired
- are unhappy with your lower eyelids due to:
- visible eyelid bags
- excess lid skin
- loose, crepey, wrinkled skin
- dark undereye circles
- visible bony ridge
- have primarily cosmetic concerns and no serious ophthalmologic problems
Q: What should I expect during my blepharoplasty consultation?
A: Your initial consultation with Dr. Hutchinson includes the following:
- a comprehensive in-person discussion with Dr. Hutchinson when she will obtain your medical history and you will have time to explain what bothers you about your eyelids and what results you hope to achieve with eyelid plastic surgery
- after your conversation, you will be seen in a private examination room where she will perform a detailed physical examination and assess your unique physical features
- she will also take medical photographs which provide additional information when discussing your eyelid surgery
- following your examination, Dr. Hutchinson will discuss surgical options for blepharoplasty, determine the best customized surgical plan for you to achieve your goals, and review your medical photographs with you
- Dr. Hutchinson will also provide you with specific details regarding the bespoke eyelid lift operation she creates for you as each patient’s plan is based on individual features and desired outcome
- she will also inform you of what is required from you before and after your blepharoplasty surgery to ensure a successful operation and smooth recovery
- you will be given ample time to ask any questions you have in order to feel comfortable with your decision
- you will also have an opportunity to schedule your blepharoplasty once you have decided to proceed
Q: How will my eyes look after my blepharoplasty?
A: Blepharoplasty removes excess skin, muscle, and fat from around the eyes and produces immediate changes in your appearance at the time of surgery. In order to help you understand what results can be achieved with your eyelid lift and what is the best possible option for you, Dr. Hutchinson will discuss with you specific details and physical characteristics of your eyes and eyelids. Factors that may impact your results include the following:
- amount of upper eyelid skin excess
- degree of upper eyelid fat protrusion
- volume and function of muscles around the eyes
- presence of low positioned upper eyelids (“ptosis”)
- eyebrow position
- extent of lower eyelid fat bags
- lower eyelid tone and laxity
- position of lower eyelids relative to eyes
- prominence of eyes
- asymmetry between eyelids
- prior scars and surgery of the eyelids
Q: How should I prepare for my blepharoplasty surgery?
A: Dr. Hutchinson provides her patients with detailed and precise instructions to be followed prior to surgery, which include the following:
- Dr. Hutchinson will make recommendations for each patient including:
- need for any preoperative evaluation by ophthalmologist
- requirements for medical clearance and bloodwork prior to surgery
- patients should be active participants in optimizing their wellness, including:
- maintaining a healthy lifestyle, diet, and weight
- avoiding smoking
- not taking medications that can increase risk of complications
Q: What should I expect after my blepharoplasty surgery?
A: Every patient will have their own personal experience and recovery after blepharoplasty, although some common aspects of their post-operative course include the following:
- changes are immediate and results long lasting
- some discomfort, swelling, and bruising are normal in the first few days after surgery
- using eye drops and ointments may be helpful to relieve temporary dry eye symptoms
- it is essential you maintain head elevation, refrain from strenuous physical activity, and closely follow the detailed instructions provided by Dr. Hutchinson for you to have a smooth recovery and best results