Our eyes are one of the most important features of our face. They not only allow us to see the world around us but also convey our emotions, personality, and mood to others. Unfortunately, as we age, our eyelid or eyebrow skin may sag or become stretched out. This may affect your vision or make you look more tired and older than you actually are. Fortunately, an eyelid lift, also known as blepharoplasty, corrects this problem and helps you say goodbye tired appearing eyes.
WHAT IS BLEPHAROPLASTY?
Blepharoplasty, also known as an eyelid lift, is a cosmetic or functional surgical procedure that involves removing excess skin and/or fat from the upper and/or lower eyelids. The goal of the procedure is to create a more youthful and refreshed appearance, as well as to improve vision in cases where sagging eyelids are obstructing your visual field.
BENEFITS FROM BLEPHAROPLASTY
There are several benefits to undergoing a blepharoplasty procedure:
- Improved appearance: One of the primary benefits of blepharoplasty is that it improves the appearance of the eyes, reducing the appearance of sagging skin, wrinkles, and bags under the eyes. On the upper eyelid it helps create an open and brighter appearing eye, while improving hooding. This creates a more youthful and refreshed appearance. On the lower eyelids a blepharoplasty creates a smooth transition between the eyelid skin and cheek. This improves the look of an under-eye dark circle or ‘bag’.
- Improved vision: In cases where excess upper eyelid skin is obstructing the visual field, blepharoplasty improves vision by removing sagging skin and restoring the outer visual field. Many patients that have upper eyelid visual field obstruction not only have sagging upper eyelid skin, but also have eyebrow drooping. Patients that have both extra eyelid skin and poor position of the eyebrow need both an eyebrow lift and blepharoplasty.
- Boost in self-confidence: Many people who undergo blepharoplasty report feeling more confident and self-assured after the procedure, due to the improved appearance of their eyes. An eyelid or eyebrow lift brings harmony to the face by making the eyes appear brighter and more awake.
- Long-lasting results: The results of blepharoplasty last for many years, making it a long-term cost-effective option for those looking to improve the appearance of their eyes. Additionally, an upper eyelid lift effect cannot be achieved with neurotoxins such as botox or fillers. Therefore, a surgical option is the only way to achieve improvement in drooping eyelid skin. A lower eyelid ‘bag’ is often not appropriate for under eye filler if the bag is bigger than the shadowing below it. In this case, surgery is the best option for improving the appearance of the lower eyelids.
- Minimal scarring: The incisions made during the procedure are typically very small and are placed along the natural crease of the eyelids or under the eyelid skin, which helps to conceal scarring. When we pair a blepharoplasty with an endoscopic eyebrow lift there are additional small incisions that are well hidden in the hairline.
Overall, blepharoplasty is a safe and effective procedure that provides significant benefits for those looking to improve the appearance and function of their eyelids. Who doesn’t want to look refreshed, rejuvenated and like you had a good night of sleep?
WILL INSURANCE COVER BLEPHAROPLASTY?
Insurance often covers upper blepharoplasty surgery when it is deemed medically necessary. If you are experiencing visual field defect problems or other issues related to your droopy eyelids, your insurance provider may cover the cost of the procedure. A visual field screening can quickly determine if sagging eyelids or eyebrow position are obstructing a person’s vision. Insurance does not cover lower eyelid blepharoplasty, but many patients elect to proceed with cosmetic surgery for the lower eyelid.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR SURGERY
Preparing for a blepharoplasty procedure is an important step in ensuring a smooth surgery and recovery. Here are some general guidelines to help you prepare for the procedure:
- Consult with your surgeon: Before undergoing any surgery, it is important to consult with your surgeon to discuss your goals and expectations, as well as any medical conditions or medications that could affect your surgery or recovery.
- Get a medical evaluation: Your surgeon may require a medical evaluation from your primary care provider to ensure that you are healthy enough for surgery and anesthesia.
- Stop smoking/vaping and avoid alcohol: Smoking/vaping and alcohol consumption can increase the risk of complications during and after surgery. It is important to stop smoking/vaping for six weeks before and after the procedure. Smoking causes decreased blood flow to tissue that requires blood flow for healing. Smoking may increase your risk of skin necrosis (skin that does not heal and dies off), and complications post operatively. Avoid alcohol consumption for one week prior to surgery and three weeks after surgery to prevent anesthesia complications or bleeding.
- Adjust your medications: Certain medications, such as blood thinners, aspirin and herbal supplements, increase the risk of bleeding and should be avoided for a few days to several weeks before the procedure. Your surgeon will provide you with specific instructions on which medications to avoid and when to stop taking them.
- Arrange for transportation and aftercare: You will need someone to drive you home after the procedure, and you may need assistance with everyday tasks for a few days after the surgery. This is because the eyelid tissue swells after the surgery, making it difficult to see out of your eyes. Make sure you have someone to help you during this time.
- Plan your recovery time: You will need to take time off work and avoid strenuous activities for at least one week after the procedure. Plan ahead to ensure you have enough time to rest and recover. Most patients will have bruising for two weeks and some swelling for at least four weeks after the procedure. I typically recommend patients give themselves six weeks of recovery time before they attend a ‘red carpet event’ such as a wedding, large family gathering or event you need to look your best for.
- Prepare your home: Before the surgery, make sure you have all the necessary supplies and equipment, such as ice packs, gauze pads, and comfortable clothing, to make your recovery as comfortable as possible. We typically recommend blepharoplasty recovery ‘goggles’ that may be purchased at our facility. This helps reduce swelling by placing gentle pressure to improve swelling around the eyes, and expedites your recovery timeline.
- If you undergo an eyebrow lift at the same time as a blepharoplasty, your post operative recovery will involve having a headache as well as a small bump at the outer hairline, where the eyebrow is suspended upwards. The small bump is due to the dissolvable anchor under the skin which is placed to improve the position of the eyebrows. This slowly dissolves under the skin over time, but you can typically feel the anchor for 4 months post operatively.
By following these guidelines and any specific instructions provided by your surgeon, you can help ensure a safe and successful blepharoplasty procedure.
WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER SURGERY
After a blepharoplasty procedure, it is common to experience some swelling, bruising, and mild discomfort around the eyes. Your surgeon will give you specific instructions on how to manage any pain or discomfort with medications and ice packs. You may also experience dryness or temporary changes in vision due to the swelling, but these should resolve within a few days or weeks.
It is important to rest and avoid any strenuous activities for at least a week after the procedure to allow for proper healing. We also recommend that you sleep with your head elevated for the first 5 days after surgery to help reduce swelling.
You will have follow-up appointments with your surgeon to monitor your healing and remove any sutures or dressings. We typically leave eyelid sutures in place for five to seven days depending on how you are healing. It is important to attend these appointments and follow your surgeon’s instructions to ensure a smooth recovery and optimal results.
Most patients are able to return to work and normal activities within 2 weeks after the procedure, although it may take several months for the full results of the surgery to become apparent. We recommend that you do not exert yourself or return to highly strenuous exercise for four to six weeks post operatively. The final results of your surgery are not fully apparent until four to six months. At that point you should expect to see significant improvement in the appearance of your eyes, including reduced puffiness, fewer wrinkles, and a more youthful and refreshed appearance.
CHOOSE AN EXPERIENCED SURGEON
It’s important to choose an experienced and skilled facial plastic surgeon for your blepharoplasty procedure who has received specialized training in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery of the face and eyes and has a thorough understanding of the anatomy of the eyes and face. Look for a surgeon who is board-certified and has a proven track record of success with this type of surgery. You should also ask to see before-and-after photos of their previous patients to get an idea of what to expect.
Blepharoplasty surgery can help you say goodbye to droopy eyelids and enjoy a more youthful and alert appearance. It can also improve your vision and boost your self-confidence. If you are considering this procedure, be sure to choose a facial plastic surgeon.