Eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty, is used to remove the excess fat, along with skin and muscle, from the upper and lower eyelids. It is a common aesthetic procedure performed by plastic surgeons.
A properly performed blepharoplasty procedure will brighten the face and restore a more youthful appearance. In some patients, the procedure will improve vision by removing the excessive skin of the upper eyelids, which can hang down and interfere with peripheral vision.
In a typical procedure, the surgeon makes incisions following the natural lines of your eyelids—in the creases of your upper lids and just below the lashes in the lower lids. The incisions may extend into the crow’s feet or laugh lines at the outer corners of your eyes. Working through these incisions, the surgeon separates the skin from underlying fatty tissue and muscle, removes excess fat and often trims sagging skin and muscle. The incisions are then closed with very fine sutures.
Blepharoplasty usually takes one to three hours, depending on the extent of the surgery. If you’re having all four eyelids done, the surgeon probably will work on the upper lids first, then the lower ones.
Eyelid surgery can be performed under local anesthesia, which numbs the area around your eyes, along with oral or intravenous sedatives. You’ll be awake during the surgery, but relaxed and insensitive to pain. Some surgeries are performed under general anesthesia; in that case, you’ll sleep through the operation. The length and detail of surgery will determine what type of sedation is required.
Risks and Recovery
Fortunately, when the procedure is performed by a skilled plastic surgeon, complications are infrequent and minor. All patients will experience some bruising and swelling for a few days after the surgery. In addition, a temporary problem with closure of the eyelids is usually seen. Some may have temporary blurring of their vision, usually due to the ointments applied to the incisions post-operatively. In rare instances, the lower eyelid may be pulled down causing an ectropion. If this does not resolve on its own, further surgery may be necessary. As with any surgical procedure, complications such as bleeding, infection, wound disruption and heavy scarring are also possible but rare.
Most people feel ready to go out in public (and back to work) in a week to 10 days. The results are permanent, however, with aging additional treatments may be required or a facelift may be suggested.