When it comes to cosmetic surgery, one of the main concerns people have is how long it will take to heal. This is especially important for a surgery like blepharoplasty, which is operating on your eyelids, which you cannot conceal should you want to keep your procedure a secret.

The problem is that this time varies greatly from person to person. What we’re describing in this blog is the average blepharoplasty recovery time. You have to be prepared for it to take a little longer for you to heal (and you might be pleasantly surprised if it takes shorter!)

In general, most people can return to normal activities about 3-5 days after blepharoplasty. If bruising and swelling make you self-conscious, you will be happier if you wait 7-10 days after surgery when you can use makeup to conceal residual bruising. Most people are “back to normal” by two weeks after surgery, but healing continues and isn’t really complete until a year or more after surgery (scars can continue to improve throughout your life).

Recovery in the First Couple Days

The first couple days after blepharoplasty, your eyelids will be swollen and bruised. How much swelling and bruising depends on your individual healing response, the procedure used, and how well you follow postoperative instructions. Keeping your head elevated and icing your eyelids will help reduce swelling and bruising. Discomfort will be minor and can be controlled with acetaminophen (Tylenol). Avoid ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen (Aleve), since these can increase bleeding and bruising.

You can also speed your healing time by taking rest seriously. Prop yourself up in bed with pillows and watch TV, do social media, or read to pass the time. Let yourself doze off as much as you want, so long as you stay on your back. A comfortable recliner is great for this, too.

Recovery in the First Week

After the first couple days, your swelling should go down dramatically. You’ll probably be feeling a bit restless, so get up and move around (you’re never restricted to bed, it’s just best to rest), but don’t exert yourself. Your bruises will start maturing—changing color—and fading. Your incisions may still be leaking blood or clear fluid. This is normal, and isn’t a problem unless the liquid is discolored or smells foul.

After the First Week

You’ll probably feel completely healed after the first week or so, but you won’t look like it. For most people, the cuts have stopped oozing, and that’s when you can apply concealing makeup (after you get the go-ahead from your surgeon).

The incisions will definitely be visible at this point, but they will continue to minimize with time. By two weeks, most of your bruising and swelling should be gone, but for many people it takes four weeks or more for the bruising to be completely gone.

Healing continues under the surface as well. Your eyelids may feel a little stiff and don’t be surprised if it looks at this point like you won’t get the results you wanted. Results will continue to change, and results that didn’t look right after a month will look better than you dreamed by six months.

This is just a brief overview. If you would like to learn more about blepharoplasty recovery, please contact Fante Eye & Face Center in Denver today to talk to Dr. Robert G. Fante.