Blepharoplasty (eyelift) is a plastic surgery procedure for correcting sagging or drooping skin of the eyelids. The eyelid, because its skin is much thinner than that in other parts of the face, is often one of the first facial areas to exhibit signs of aging. Excess skin on the upper eyelids can affect peripheral vision, making daily activities such as reading, watching TV, or driving more difficult.
Blepharoplasty can be performed on either the upper or lower eyelids, or on both. Upper eyelid blepharoplasty is typically performed to remove loose hanging skin. The lower eyelid blepharoplasty is typically performed to remove fat pockets that create lower eyelid bags which make a person appear tired, or sleep deprived.
What Can A Blepharoplasty Do?
A blepharoplasty is ideal for correction of the following:
- Loose, sagging skin on the upper or lower eyelids
- Puffy fat deposits in the eyelids, typically the lower ones
- Undereye bags
- Fine wrinkles in the lower eyelids
- A blepharoplasty cannot raise the eyebrows. It can improve deep wrinkles, or dark circles under the eyes
If the eyelids begin sagging into the field of vision, a functional blepharoplasty may be required. The procedure may be covered by medical insurance if it is deemed medically necessary. A determination of how much vision is affected is done by checking the peripheral visual field with an instrument called the Humphrey Visual Field (HVF) Analyzer.
Blepharoplasty can be performed on either the upper or lower eyelid, or on both, for cosmetic purposes. This procedure has no effect on vision, but results in a person’s looking younger and more refreshed.
It is important for a patient to have realistic expectations before undergoing cosmetic blepharoplasty. Although the procedure can enhance appearance and improve self-confidence, it does not radically alter the face.
Candidates For Blepharoplasty
The best candidates for blepharoplasty are those who have signifigant amounts of loose skin or fat herniation in the upper or lower eyelids.
The Blepharoplasty Procedure
Blepharoplasty is typically performed as an outpatient procedure requiring local anesthesia with or without sedation. General anesthesia may be used for anxious patients. Patients can choose to have this procedure on their upper or lower eyelids, or both. The procedure can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on whether both the upper and lower eyelids are operated on.
If the upper eyelid is being operated on, an incision is typically made so that the scar ends up in the natural creaseFor the lower eyelid, an incision is usually made just below the lash line. Once the incision is made, excess skin and or fat deposits are removed. The muscles may also tightened. The incisions are closed with sutures, which are typically removed after 5 days.
Recovery After Blepharoplasty
After blepharoplasty, patients may be advised to apply lubricating drops/ointment and cold compresses to aid in healing and minimize side effects. Most patients return to work within a few days to a week, but should avoid exercise and strenuous activities for at least 2 weeks. Most swelling and other side effects typically subside within 2 weeks. Contact lenses and eye makeup may not be worn for 2 weeks after surgery.
Risks Of Blepharoplasty
Although there may be swelling and bruising around the surgical site, they will subside on their own, and the eyelids will improve in appearance for up to a year. Uncommon side effects include infection, reaction to anesthesia, and double or blurred vision. Eyes may be irritated and dry due to a temporary change in tear distribution. Side effects such as uneven healing and permanent scarring are rare but, if they occur, may require surgical correction. The scars from blepharoplasty are well-concealed, and usually fade with time until they are virtually undetectable. Although the eyelids are still subject to aging, blepharoplasty produces long-lasting results.
What Are The Results Of A Blepharoplasty?
Complications and poor healing are extremely rare with this procedure and most patients are very happy with their results.