Blepharoplasty surgery is usually undertaken in response to aging and stretched eyelids, which overtime – causes the underlying muscles to weaken. If you are considering undergoing Blepharoplasty, we suggest you read our comprehensive guide first. By the end of reading it, you will have all of the necessary information to make an informed decision as to whether eyelid surgery is right for you.
Blepharoplasty – or eyelid surgery, is a cosmetic surgical procedure that aims to remove fat or excess skin from the eyelid area. Although the term “eyelid lift” is commonly used, blepharoplasty does not actually involve the lifting of eyelids during surgery. There are actually two main segments of blepharoplasty surgery, which we have broken down below.
Making skin incisions inside the eyelid or below the lash line is known as lower eyelid blepharoplasty. Sometimes referred to as a transconjunctival approach, the process allows the surgeon to access the eyelid without needing to make any noticeable incisions. In most cases, lower eyelid surgery is ideal for those looking to either remove fat to the area, or add it.
Alternatively, upper blepharoplasty surgery allows the surgeon to make incisions, with the view of removing fat and/or skin. In order to bring the skin closer together, a thin stich is used resulting in the appearance of an eyelid crease.
Ultimately, undergoing Blepharoplasty surgery has the potential to make your facial appearance look younger, as well as making your eyes more alert. It can also alleviate the effects of sagging skin – something that unfortunately comes with age. Moreover, if surplus fat has gathered around the eyelid area, it can make your eyes look baggy. This is also something that Blepharoplasty can also alleviate.
Undergoing Blepharoplasty surgery has the potential to make your facial appearance look younger
Why opt for a Blepharoplasty?
There are a variety of reasons why patients undergo eyelid surgery. We have listed some of the most common below.
- If you are suffering from sagging or drooped eyelids which are subsequently preventing your eyes from opening in their entirety.
- Your aging eyelids are pulling down your lower eyelids.
- Bags have begun to form under your eyes and you want to reduce appearance
- Your vision is being impaired by excess skin around the upper eyelid area
- You are concerned about surplus skin around the lower eyelids
It is also worth mentioning that patients often undergo eyelid in conjunction with other cosmetic procedures, including but not limited to skin resurfacing, brow lifting and/or a face lift.
Preparing for surgery
Before going through the blepharoplasty process, there are a number of things that the surgeon will first want to discuss. The initial consultation period will see your surgeon ask you a range of questions regarding your medical history. This will include any previous surgical procedures you have undergone, as well as any conditions the surgeon should be made aware of.
Conditions of interest will include allergies, circulatory problems, thyroid problems and dry eyes. The surgeon will also ask questions regarding any medications you are on, as well as how often you consume tobacco, alcohol and drugs.
Once your medical history has been discussed, the surgeon will then proceed to ask you about your surgical expectations. This will include the reasons behind your decision to undergo blepharoplasty and the goals you hope to achieve. Once the surgeon understands your goals, they will then discuss whether or not the procedure is suitable.
The next stage of the consultation period will see the surgeon perform a physical examination. This will not be anything too elaborate and will most probably entail the measurement of your eyelids and testing of your tear production.
It is also possible that the surgeon will test your eyesight vision. The surgeon will then take photographs of your eyes from a range of different angles, which will assist in the surgical planning process.
- It is highly advisable that you refrain from taking any medications that can cause increased bleeding. Your surgeon will go through this with you during the consultation.
- You should also consider giving up smoking for the few weeks prior to surgery. This will ensure that you heal after surgery in the quickest time possible.
- Finally, it is important that you arrange for somebody to collect you from the surgery after the procedure is complete.
About the Procedure
So now that you know what to consider prior to undergoing surgery, we are now going to identify some of the procedural steps you are likely to encounter during the actual blepharoplasty itself. In terms of how long the procedure takes, in most cases it shouldn’t take any longer than 2 hours. However, depending on the specific requirements of the patient, surgical times can vary.
As with the vast majority of cosmetic surgical procedures, the initial stage of the operation will require the surgeon to administer anaesthesia. There are a plethora of different options available to you (such as general anaesthesia, local anaesthetic or intravenous sedation), however the surgeon will ascertain which is best for you.
Upon administering the anaesthesia, the surgeon will then need to make the incision lines. Essentially, an incision is a surgical cut made through the skin and/or soft tissue. In most cases, incisions are made ultra-small with the view of facilitating a safe and secure operation. The surgeon will have discussed with you what incision lines are to be made prior to surgery, as it can differ depending on the patient’s individual requirements.
Fat and/or skin removal
If the surgeon plans to work on the lower eyelids, then the incision will most likely be made below the lower lash line. Once achieved, surplus skin (and potentially fat) will be removed from the lower eyelid.
If the surgeon is instead planning a transconjunctival incision, no skin will be removed. On the contrary, the surgeon will most probably aim to either remove or redistribute surplus fat, which will result in a correction of lower eyelid conditions.
A further option available to the surgeon is make an incision along the eyelash margin. If this method is utilized, it will allow the surgeon to remove fat, loose muscle and surplus skin.
Once the fat and/or skin removal process is complete, the surgeon will then need to close the incisions that were previously made. This is most commonly achieved by using sutures. Regarding the latter, these are usually removed within one week of surgery.
There is also the possibility that in order to alleviate discoloration of the lower eyelids, the surgeon might suggest utilizing a laser or chemical peel.
Recovery & Aftercare
Although blepharoplasty surgery is a relatively minor procedure, there are still a number of factors that you need to consider regarding your after care. You will more than likely experience an element of swelling and/or bruising in the 24 hours proceeding surgery
Nevertheless, in order to speed up the recovery process, it is highly advisable to apply a cool pack in and around the affected area. It is a good idea to apply this on an hourly basis for a period of 10 minutes the night after surgery. After this, 4-5 times a day should be sufficient.
When you are in bed, try to ensure that your head is raised higher than your chest for the proceeding days after surgery. You can achieve this by sleeping on 3 pillows to be elevated..
Upon completing the surgical procedure, the surgeon will most likely apply thin bandages over the incision lines. Whilst these should be removed in the days proceeding surgery, stitches sometimes take up to a week.
Alternatively, if the surgeon applied stitches that dissolves naturally, no removal will be required. In terms of resuming normal everyday activities, you should experience a full recovery between 7 and 10 days. Moreover, any swelling or bruising that you experience should resolve itself 2 weeks post-surgery.
Any scars that have resulted from the surgical incisions normally fade after a few months.
There are a number of other temporary post-surgery issues that you might encounter – which we have listed below.
- Numb and/or watery eyes
- Discomfort around the affected area
- Issues pertaining to light sensitivity
- If a form of lubrication was applied to your eyes, then you might also experience blurred vision
In the case that you experience chest pain, a shortness of breath, bleeding or prolonged vision problems – you should call a doctor immediately.
Common concerns (Risks)
Once again, although the blepharoplasty procedure is performed under very safe surgical conditions, there are a number of risks that we need to make you aware of. These mainly centre on the issues of scarring, bleeding, dry eyes, infection and the inability to close your eyes.
Furthermore, risks can also include injury to the eye muscles, skin discoloration and in ultra-rare circumstances, a loss of sight.
All of the aforementioned risks will be discussed by the surgeon during the consultation period. By having all of the facts explained, you will be able to make an informed decision as to whether or not you want to proceed with the operation.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does blepharoplasty cost?
As with most cosmetic operations, there is no hard and fast rule as to how much a particular procedure costs. Ultimately, it will depend on the type of eyelid correction you are looking to achieve and it will be ascertained during the pre-surgery consultation period.
As the procedure is usually carried out for cosmetic purposes, it is unlikely that your insurance will cover it. However, in rare circumstances – if the procedure is being undertaken due to injury, it might be worth contacting your provider.
How long does blepharoplasty surgery normally take?
The length of surgery can differ depending on the type of procedure being carried out and if upper only, lower only or both upper and lower, however in most cases it takes in the region of 1.15 hours to 2.30 hours.
Will I be fully anaesthetised during the Blepharoplasty procedure?
This will depend from the type of surgery and also from the courage of the patients as some would prefer to be fully anaesthetised and won’t consider local anaesthetic.
Will I be suitable for blepharoplasty?
Although blepharoplasty is a reasonably straightforward procedure, there might be circumstances where you are not suitable. Certain medical conditions – notably high blood pressure or thyroid disease, may hinder your chances of candidacy. Ultimately, the most suitable patients are those that have a healthy profile.
Are there any limitations to Blepharoplasty surgery?
If you have excessively dark circles under your eyes, although surgery has the potential to improve their appearance, it cannot remove them in their entirety.
Will it be OK to drive home after eyelid surgery?
We would highly recommend that you pre-arrange for somebody to collect from the surgery. Not only will you still be in receipt of the effects of the anaesthesia, but you will also feel somewhat uncomfortable.