The following is a presentation to explain both upper and lower eyelid surgery, which describes how you can best prepare for your procedure, how it may be performed, and your recovery process along with before and after photos of some of our patients. An interesting question and answer section can also be viewed. This presentation is not intended to take the place of a physician’s consultation.
Surgery of the eyelids, also known as blepharoplasty, is frequently performed in conjunction with other facial procedures. As people age, muscles weaken, skin stretches and fat accumulates around the eyes giving a tired and stressed look. These are the reasons some people seek eyelid surgery. The ideal candidates for this procedure are 35 and older, but if a loss of elasticity in the eye area is a hereditary trait, you may decide to have eyelid surgery at a younger age.
An eye lift can give you a younger, firmer eye area by removing excess fat and muscle. However, it cannot remove “crow’s feet,” eliminate dark circles, or lift sagging eyebrows.
Eyelid surgery may take one to two hours depending on the extent of surgery.
If you have fat pockets beneath your eyes but don’t want skin removed, your surgeon may perform what’s called transconjunctival blepharoplasty. In this case, the incision is made inside your lower eyelid so it will not leave a visible scar. After surgery, your eyes will be lubricated with ointment and a bandage may be applied.
Upper Eyelid Surgery
An incision will be made along the natural lines of your eyelids, such as the crease of your upper eyelid. The skin will be separated from muscle and fatty tissues and excess fat will be removed. Sagging skin and muscles will be trimmed if needed before closing the incisions with very fine sutures. After surgery, your eyes will be lubricated with ointment and a bandage may be applied.
Lower Eyelid Surgery
An incision will be made below the lashes on the lower eyelid. The incision will run along the smile creases under your eye. The skin will be separated from the muscle and fatty tissue and excess fat will be removed. Sagging skin and muscles will be trimmed if needed and the incisions will be closed with very fine sutures.
Preparing for surgery
Your initial consultation is extremely important. You should be able to speak freely with your surgeon about your goals and desired outcome. Remember to discuss options such as whether to do all four eye areas or just the upper or lower ones, whether skin as well as fat will be removed, and/or whether any other additional procedures would improve your results. Be prepared to provide your medical history and inform your surgeon of any vitamins and medications (including over-the-counter) that you are taking. Make sure to tell your surgeon if you smoke or have any allergies. In this consultation, your surgeon or nurse may test your vision or assess your tear production. If you wear glasses or contacts be sure to bring them along.
Review With Your Surgeon:
- Do Not Take Aspirin® Or Products Containing Ibuprofen for two weeks before or after your procedure. These medications thin the blood, interfere with normal blood clotting and increase the risk of bleeding and bruising. Instead, use medications containing acetaminophen, such as Tylenol®.
- Discontinue Smoking for two weeks before and after surgery. Smoking constricts small blood vessels and inhibits the healing process.
- Avoid Alcohol for two weeks before and after surgery.
- Decreasing Salt intake will help diminish swelling after surgery.
- Drink Plenty Of Water to help flush toxins from your body.
- Stop Taking All Vitamins And Herbs two weeks prior to surgery.
- Fill Your Prescriptions before your surgery date, especially any pain medication your doctor has prescribed for this procedure.
- Arrange For Someone To Take You Home and to assist you for 24 hours after surgery.
- One Week Before Surgery Stop sun bathing (including tanning booths), facials, steaming masks, and other skin irritants.
What to expect post surgery.
- Work: Most people feel ready to go back to work in one to two weeks.
- Swelling And Brusing: The stitches will be removed several days after surgery. Small white heads may appear but can be cleared by your surgeon with a very fine needle. Expect temporary swelling at the corner of the eyelids for a few days. Keep your head elevated for several days following surgery while applying cold compresses or small ice packs to help reduce swelling and discomfort. Bruising reaches its peak during the first week and generally lasts anywhere from two weeks to a month, although this varies from person to person.
- Eye Care: You will be instructed on how to clean your eyes. Your surgeon may recommend eye drops.
- Contact Lenses: Contact lenses may be worn two weeks after surgery or when comfortable.
- Showering: You may shower on the second or third day following surgery.
- Make-up: You may wear make-up beginning a week after surgery.
- Discomfort: Your eyes might feel tight as you awake. Take the medication prescribed by your surgeon and the pain will be alleviated. Your eyes may feel dry and itchy and you may experience excessive tearing, sensitivity to bright lights, or temporary changes in your sight such as blurred vision. This is normal. The amount of discomfort experienced varies from person to person. If you feel any severe pains, notify your surgeon immediately.
- Recovery: Although you should be up and about following the procedure, plan on taking it easy for the first week after surgery. After two to five days, you should be able to read and watch television. Most visible signs of the surgery should fade within three weeks. You may be sensitive to sunlight and wind for several weeks. Remember to wear sunglasses and sun block made for eyelids when you go out. Avoid activities that will raise blood pressure such as lifting, sports, bending, and alcohol for about three weeks. Healing is a gradual process and scars may remain slightly pink for six months or more after surgery before healing to a nearly invisible white line.
- Results: Results should be long lasting and seen within several weeks.