Blepharoplasty is a form of surgery that is performed to repair droopy eyelids. The procedure removes the excess skin around the eyelid, giving a tight, alert, and more youthful appearance.
In some cases, Blepharoplasty can also improve vision by removing the obstructions caused by droopy eyelids. The procedure can be performed to remove skin, muscles, and fat from eyelids (both upper and lower). Some patients only need to remove the skin; instead of muscles and fat depending on the requirements.
Cosmetic eyelid surgery or Blepharoplasty is a procedure that is not driven by medical need instead they are performed solely to improve appearance. As we age, our upper and at times, lower eyelids tend to become baggy or droopy.
You can also experience saggy or droopy eyebrows due to aging. The skin on the eyelid stretches, the muscles weaken, and fat pockets become more visible. It may be a hereditary condition.
Such conditions may make your eyes and face appear tired and older looking, impacting your overall attractiveness.
Ophthalmologists, as well as oculoplastic surgeons, are the professionals who commonly perform such procedures. Along with the general plastic surgeon, ear, near, and throat surgeons and oral and maxillofacial surgeons may also perform eyelid surgery for cosmetic purposes.
Upper Eyelid Surgery
Ptosis is a medical phrase used to indicate dropping in the upper eyelid. This condition may impact one eye or both eyes. And when Ptosis is present from birth, it is known as congenital Ptosis. This condition occurs when the eyelid margin or edge of the upper eyelid drops from the normal position.
When the droop becomes too low that it covers a part of your pupil, it can hinder the vision from the upper part. Commonly Ptosis is a result of the natural aging process.
The muscle-tendon responsible for lifting the eyelid stretches, and this is when your eyelid drops. Surgical procedures repair these tendons and lift up your upper eyelid.
People who have gone through cataract surgery or other eye surgeries may experience droopy upper eyelids because of the weakened muscles. Trauma or stroke are other reasons that can result in Ptosis.
Lower Eyelid Surgery
Many people experience sagginess or puffiness underneath their eyes that make them appear tired. This could be the herniated fat that gets accumulated under the eyes.
When the skin loses its elasticity, it results in puffy lower eyelids. This condition is typically found in older individuals, but people in their twenties can also experience it, making them look older than their actual age.
Lower eyelid surgery can be a great solution to get rid of bags under the eyes. There are different surgical techniques a cosmetic surgeon can use to rectify this condition.
Who Should Get Eyelid Surgery?
If you are planning to get a Blepharoplasty, but are unsure whether or not you are the right candidate for the same, then talk to an expert. Schedule an appointment with a reliable eye doctor who can assess your eye conditions.
If you do not have any medical reason to undergo a Blepharoplasty, ask your doctors any questions you might have regarding cosmetic eyelid surgery.
People who have excessively drooping and sagging eyelid skin are the ones that typically go for Blepharoplasty. Generally, this procedure is taken by people between the age of 51 and 64.
If you want to get eyelid surgery solely for cosmetic reasons, you should keep your expectation practical. While you may get a dramatically enhanced appearance, these surgeries are not the ultimate youth potion.
As you continue to age, the result of the eyelid surgery will slowly begin to disappear. And in the future, you may have to repeat the procedure. Based on your overall well-being, eyelid surgery can last up to 10 years.
The Process of an Eyelid Surgery
During the procedure, incisions are made at the natural eyelid folds. The surgeon makes incisions on the eyelid’s crease and beneath the lashes or behind the lower eyelid. These incisions once healed, become virtually unnoticeable.
The surgeon marks the areas where excess skin or fat pads are present and need to be removed. In some cases, underlying muscles may also need to be removed.
These tissues are removed with tools such as surgical scissors, scalpels, radio-frequency cutting devices, and cutting lasers. Once tissues are removed, tissue adhesives or sutures are used to carefully remove smooth and reconfigure the areas surrounding eyelids and eyebrows.
Before the procedure starts, the surgeon will determine how much skin, muscle, or fat needs to be removed based on factors such as bone structure, underlying facial muscle structure, and eyebrow symmetry.
Patients who suffer from dry eyes typically need to remove fewer tissues in order to avoid excessive eye exposure to the air, which can worsen their symptoms.
Moreover, the surgeons may also need to use CO2 (carbon dioxide) laser in order to enhance the procedure by resurfacing the skin and smoothing any wrinkles in the eyelid or eyebrow region.
In case you experience droopiness on your eyebrows, your surgeons will assess how much skin is needed to remove.
What do You Need to Prepare for Eyelid Surgery?
Before you even schedule the Blepharoplasty procedure, you will have to consult with an ophthalmologist or plastic surgeon who specializes in eye surgeries. During the appointment, you will be discussing the following things –
– Medical History
Your surgeon is likely to ask you questions with regards to your existing eye conditions such as glaucoma, allergies, dry eyes, circulatory issues, diabetes, thyroid issues, etc.
You need to tell him or her about medication, herbal supplements, vitamins, drugs, tobacco, and alcohol. Moreover, if you had any previous eye surgeries, you need to inform your surgeon the same.
Have an honest discussion with your surgeon regarding your expectations. This will help you have a practical approach and be satisfied with the outcome. Your surgeons will ensure whether or not the procedure will work for you.
– A Complete Physical Examination
Your surgeons will ask you to take a physical examination. He or she will be testing your tear production and measuring the eyelids parts.
– A Vision Examination
Your eye doctor will assess your eyes and test the vision.
– Eyelid Photography
In this, your eyes will be captured from different angles. Surgeons will use these pictures to plan for the surgery and determine the effects. These photographs will also need to support an insurance claim.
– Abstaining from certain medication
Before the surgery, you have to stop taking certain medications that include ibuprofen, aspirin, warfarin, naproxen sodium, naproxen, etc. Make sure you ask the doctor how long before the procedure that you need to stop taking the medication. Take approval from your surgeon before taking any medication.
– Quit Smoking
You will be asked to stop smoking a couple of weeks prior to surgery. Smoking reduces the healing ability to post the procedure.
After the Eyelid Surgery
Post the eyelid surgery; you need to apply topical antibiotic ointment. Eye patches are not always recommended.
On the first day, you need to apply a cold pack for 10-15 minutes every hour you are awake. The ice will help in reducing the swelling and minimizing the bruising.
Coming to the second day, you can reduce the hours that you apply a cold pack while keeping the time around 10 to 15 minutes. After 48 hours of the surgery, you need to apply warm compresses in order to boost the healing process.
Before you leave the hospital, the eye doctor will guide you on how to take your medications. Generally, patients are given a non-prescription pain reliever, and narcotics are not commonly prescribed.
You can expect mild discomfort in the initial recovery period. However, if the pain is severe or you experience changes in the vision, you should immediately consult your surgeon.
Moreover, during the recovery, the eye region will be red, bruised, and swollen, especially in the first couple of days. The sclera or the white region of the eyes may also become bloodshot and red. The complete healing process takes a couple of weeks during this time and you should not wear any eye makeup.
You can resume wearing eye lenses after the swelling reduces enough, that you can comfortably wear the lenses. In case you wear eyeglasses, you can carefully wear them right after the surgery.
Generally, the suture used in eyelid surgery dissolves within 4 to 7 days, so you do not have to go back to have them removed. If normal sutures are used, you will have to visit your surgeon after one week to have them removed.
Generally, patients of this surgery experience satisfactory and improved results. People who previously experienced hindered vision due to excessive skin folds have reported improvement in their visual field.
Risks Associated with Eyelid Surgery
Similar to any other surgical procedure, there are certain complications associated with eyelid surgery. A common complication is an inability to close your eyes for a short time.
This happens when your eyes become abnormally dry. Typically, you can see improvements in this condition after a couple of weeks. And during this time, you would need to use remedies including humidifiers and eye drops.
The eye doctor may even suggest you tap your eyes close to provide them with moisturization. Additionally, you may also be asked to massage your eyelids once your stitches have been removed to soften the skin and allow the eyelids to close.
If you continue to face the issue even after two or three months, you may have to go through additional procedures to restore adequate skin so that your eyelids cover your eyes completely.
In addition to that, some other complications associated with this procedure include:
- Eyelid infection
- Loss of vision from retrobulbar hemorrhage
- Double vision
- Malpositioned eyelids
- Noticeable scarring
If you experience severe pain and discomfort after the procedure, immediately get in touch with your surgeon.
Keeping the Results Longer
Imbibing a healthy lifestyle and a good skincare routine can help you ensure that the result of eye surgery lasts longer. Now that excessive skin has been removed, your eyes will look more youthful and refreshed.
With lower eyelid surgery, you can get rid of baggy and puffy eyes. As mentioned above, you will continue to age, so will the results of the surgery. But good lifestyle practices help in ensuring your age beautifully. Eating healthy is one of the first things that you should incorporate in your life.
Getting the right nutrition can make a tremendous difference in the long run. If you are a smoker, it is recommended that you quit this habit as it is harmful to your overall health.
Moreover, you can use filler injections or botox to smooth out wrinkles around the eyes and face.
How much will eyelid surgery cost?
The cost of eyelid surgery depends on different factors, including the country, the surgery, the facility, etc. A standard eyelift surgery could cost you around $2000. For more complex surgery where the surgeons have to surgery on all four eyelids may cost you $5000 or more. These are merely surgeon’s fees. Additionally, charges include in-office operating suite or ambulatory surgery units that could come between $800 and $2000.
Functional Blepharoplasty is covered under health insurance. So a majority of your surgery costs will be covered under the insurance claim.
However, the insurance company is likely to verify whether or not you have undergone surgery for medical reasons. Generally, insurance companies do not cover cosmetic eyelid surgery.
Eyelid surgery needs extensive knowledge of facial anatomy as well as attention to aesthetic details. Along with that, a surgeon should have the ability to use the right surgical technique, which will help in deriving the best results. When choosing a cosmetic eyelid surgeon, make sure you do thorough research. Take consultations from multiple surgeons and ask about their training and experience. Investing extra time in finding the right eye surgeon will help you get the desired results without any severe complications.