Blepharoplasty is a procedure during which excess skin tissue and fat around the eyelids is removed. It can correct lax upper lids and “baggy” lower lids, characteristics that give your gaze an old and tired aspect. The procedure cannot correct “crow’s feet” (wrinkles at the outer corner of the eye that appear when we laugh) for which the best solution is botox. Neither can it lift the eyebrows. This calls for another procedure or botox. Blepharoplasty can be performed alone or in combination with other procedures such as a facelift.
The best candidates for blepharoplasty
Blepharoplasty can enhance your appearance and self-confidence. Before deciding to undergo this procedure, think carefully about your expectations and make sure to discuss them thoroughly with your surgeon. The best candidates are men and women who are healthy, in good mental condition with realistic expectations. Most are older than 35, but there are also younger candidates, especially with hereditary predisposition for lax and “baggy” eyelids
Some medical conditions like thyroid malfunction, myasthenia, dry eyes syndrome, high blood pressure or other disorders of the circulatory system and diabetes, could render blepharoplasty more difficult to perform. Retinal conditions (e.g. detachment) or glaucoma need special care. In those cases it is strongly advised to discuss your desire for blepharoplasty first with your ophthalmologist.
Every operation carries risks
When a blepharoplasty is performed by a certified plastic surgeon, complications are rare and usually minor. All risk is significantly reduced when the patient follows the surgeon’s orders both before and after the operation.
Planning the operation
The first contact with your surgeon is of paramount importance. He will need your detailed medical record. Inform him on any medical condition, allergies, if you are under any medication (homeopathic or not), if you take food supplements or if you are a smoker. You should discuss thoroughly your goals and expectations from this procedure. You should also discuss if he will operate on all four eyelids or only on the two lower or the two upper. Your surgeon will advise you if you should only remove fat or of fat and skin tissue from each eyelid and if additional (e.g. laser) procedures are necessary for best results. He will then explain the techniques and the anesthesia you will receive, when and in which hospital the procedure will take place, the risks and the cost of the operation. You should know that health insurance policies do not cover such procedures.
Preparation for surgery
Your surgeon shall provide you with specific instructions about your preparation for your operation regarding what to eat & drink, smoking, taking or not certain vitamins and medication.
Make sure there is a friend or member of the family to drive you back home after the operation is over and the doctor discharges you from the hospital
Where does the procedure take place?
Blepharoplasties are performed in a hospital. A few hours after the operation you should be able to return home.
In blepharoplasties, the surgeon injects a local anesthetic in combination with a sedative so that while the patient is relaxed the experience is painless.
It usually takes a little over an hour to perform a blepharoplasty. The upper eyelids are operated on first, and then the lower. The incisions on the upper eyelids are concealed inside the natural crease of the eye. Through these incisions the surgeon removes excess fat and skin tissue.
If your lower eyelids are just “baggy” and not lax also, the incision is completely concealed inside the eyelid.
The use of laser for the incisions reduces dramatically the possibility of swelling and bruising because it cuts and burns at the same time, completely avoiding any hemorrhage.
After the operation
After the operation your surgeon will prescribe eye ointment or drops for a few days. Common pain killers can reduce substantially any discomfort. Although the use of laser limits the possibility of swelling and bruising, for the first few days you should keep your head held up high and use cold packs. The sutures are removed after four or five days. The swelling wears off completely within fifteen days.
Back to everyday activities
Your surgeon may limit your activities to a minimum for three to five days. You should also avoid heavy activities for three weeks. Alcohol should be avoided for two to three weeks. You can watch tv or read after only two or three days. You will also not be able to wear your contact lenses for the first two weeks, and after that you might feel a slight discomfort for a while.
- You can return to work after a few days.
- You can use makeup from the first week on.
Your new look
Healing is a gradual process. At first, the incisions will appear slightly pinkish. After a few weeks they will diminish to a fine, almost invisible white line. But the positive outcome of the operation, your new youthful gaze, will last for years to come.