What is Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty)?
Every year, 100,000 men and women choose cosmetic eyelid surgery to improve the way they look. Why? The eyes are the first place people look at us. They are also the first place to show aging. People considering eyelid enhancement want to improve:
These problems can make you look older and droopy eyelids can sometimes impair vision. Eyelid surgery improves these issues so that you look less worn and tired. The surgery, called blepharoplasty, can be performed on the upper eyelids, the lower eyelids or both together.
Blepharoplasty contours the fat and muscle, removing excess skin from the upper and lower eyelids. Other options include ptosis repair, and repair of malpositioned eyelids from previous surgery, trauma, or aging.
Benefits of Eyelid Surgery
Eyelid surgery may improve but does not completely correct the problems mentioned above. Blepharoplasty can remove bags under the eyes and correct droopiness and puffiness of the eyelids. Dark circles under the eyes can be due to under-eye bags, which will be improved when the bags are removed. Blepharoplasty cannot always remove the general darkness of skin color under the eyes.
In addition, some people have eyelid surgery to correct inherited characteristics. For example, many Asian women have surgery to create a “double eyelid” or well-defined upper crease.
Eyelid surgery doesn’t completely solve the problem of crow’s feet and is not appropriate for lifting sagging eyebrows. It won’t eliminate those dark ‘bags’ or circles under your eyes. When desired, blepharoplasty and other forms of eyelid surgery can be performed along within a facelift, cheek lift, brow lift, or other therapies to improve those problems for maximum results.
Individual needs vary widely. Dr. Fante can best answer most questions you may have about eyelid surgery during your initial consultation.
Blepharoplasty Before & After
Physically and emotionally healthy men and women are the best candidates for eyelid surgery. Generally speaking, individuals come to see a facial cosmetic surgeon after the age of 35, when they begin to notice changes due to aging. Depending on family characteristics and your lifestyle, you may want to see us sooner.
Anyone who’s over 18, in good overall health, and willing to have a reasonable expectations is a good candidate for blepharoplasty. Individuals who have certain medical conditions may be candidates for surgery but may need special attention due to the extra complexity of those conditions and increased risks involved. Such conditions would be:
- Thyroid Eye Disease (Graves’ Disease)
- Chronic severe dry eye
- High blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes
- Chronic use of anticoagulants such as warfarin and clopidogrel
Eyelid surgery can do wonders for your appearance and can greatly boost your self-confidence! But, eyelid surgery is not a magic answer to the bad feelings you may have about yourself. People may not treat you differently after your surgery. That is why it is so important to have realistic expectations about the outcome and to speak frankly to Dr. Fante to make sure all your questions are answered. You need to have a complete understanding of the procedure and the changes you will go through post-surgery.
Blepharoplasty Side Effects
Harm to the eyes is extremely uncommon after Blepharoplasty. You may find in the first weeks after the surgery that your eyes:
- May tear up more than usual
- Be more light-sensitive
- Have some trouble focusing, especially if your upper eyelids were very droopy beforehand
- Feel a bit itchy or burning
Can Eyelid Surgery Be Combined with Any Other Procedures?
For your most refreshed, most youthful appearance, Dr. Fante might also advise undergoing other procedures in addition to eyelid surgery. The choice will always be yours, but Dr. Fante might recommend:
Upper eyelid surgery is often done in conjunction with a brow lift, which mildly raises the eyebrows, to give the eyes a more open, rested look. Lower eyelid surgery is often performed together with an endoscopic mid face lift. Another common combination is for people to have cosmetic surgery on both the eyes and the neck at the same time.
Preparing for Eyelid Surgery
As with all facial plastic surgery, good health and realistic expectations are desirable.
In general, the blepharoplasty procedure will last between 30 and 90 minutes, using local anesthetic combined with some form of sedative. Depending on your exact situation, Dr. Fante can appropriately perform surgery in our office or in an ambulatory surgery center.
There are many procedures to choose from. Dr. Fante will customize your procedure for your unique face. Some of the possibilities are:
Upper & Lower Eyelid Blepharoplasty
Blepharoplasty is sometimes done on Asian eyes for a different reason than it’s done on Occidental eyes. For Occidental eyes, the surgery is usually to correct droopiness caused by age. This is sometimes also the reason for eyelid surgery on Asians.
For Asians who have a “single” eyelid, it’s also often done to soften or westernize the look of the eyes, and is often called “double eyelid surgery”. A “double eyelid” has skin visible between the eyelashes and the skin fold – a place where many women like to wear make up.
There’s also a thing called the epicanthal fold, a piece of tissue which drapes over the inner part of the eye. In most Occidentals, it’s barely visible, whereas in most Asians, it’s quite evident.
When it’s adjusted surgically, a new crease forms which gives the eyes a different look, and also causes the eyelashes to turn upwards, instead of being pushed downwards by that epicanthal fold.
Will I Have Any Scars After My Eyelid Surgery?
All incisions leave scars. These incisions are very tiny, and are strategically inside existing creases. The resulting scars will be virtually invisible, or alternatively are hidden completely inside the eyelid. When rarely needed, there are cosmetics that will camouflage these little scars very well.
What to Expect After Eyelid Surgery
After your blepharoplasty, you can go home, but you’ll need someone to drive you.
After a week or so you’ll be able to return to work, exercise, and normal routines. Some bruising may persist into the second week after surgery. Since we live in the Rocky Mountain climate, you will probably want to use artificial tears for a little while to offset the dry air.
If you are a contact lens wearer, you won’t be able to wear them for at least two weeks. Within two or three days of the surgery, you’ll be able to use a computer, watch television, and read comfortably. It may be 7-10 days or so before you feel comfortable to face the public and go back to work. Most people are “back to normal” by two weeks after surgery. Healing will continue and isn’t really complete until a year or more after surgery (scars can continue to improve throughout your life). Once Dr. Fante has given you the go-ahead, you will be able to wear makeup to hide any bruising you still have. In the interests of helping it fully subside, avoid smoking and drinking excessive alcohol.
Dr. Fante will ask you to restrict your activities for about one week post-surgery, and in particular to avoid vigorous activities for about three weeks. We recommend walking and other light activity. You would not want to increase your blood pressure and cause bleeding during this time by serious running or lifting. Patience will be the key to successful healing and your best new look after full recovery.
You can 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.
If you notice extra sensitivity to wind, sun, or other bright lights, avoid them, or wear good sunglasses. Dr. Fante will give you some special sunblock for the eyelids if needed.
Do not worry if the little scars remain pink for several months afterwards. They will eventually become no more than a thin whitish line in the eyelid crease. It will only be visible when you close your eyes. They’ll be more than offset by the refreshed and youthful look your face will have. With good post-op self-care, you can expect to enjoy the new, younger you for many years to come.
Schedule a Consultation
You’ll be very happy with your new look. Insurance may even cover your reconstructive eyelid surgery! Dr. Fante is always available to answer questions and provide support. If you think blepharoplasty is right for you, call (303) 839-1616 to schedule a consultation today!