Blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery, corrects droopy or baggy excess skin that has collected on the upper or lower eyelids as a result of the aging process or heredity. Blepharoplasty is used to enhance the appearance of the face by restoring a youthful and rejuvenated look to the eye area without greatly altering one’s identity. At Eyesthetica, our blepharoplasty technique is tailored to each patient, taking into account their specific anatomy, ethnicity and personal goals. Contact us for more information on your blepharoplasty options and find out which are right for your needs.
Are You a Candidate for Eyelid Surgery?
Blepharoplasty can be performed on the upper eyelids, lower eyelids or both, depending on the needs of the patient. You may benefit from having a blepharoplasty procedure if you:
- Are in overall good health
- Have no serious eye conditions or diseases
- Have drooping upper eyelids
- Have puffy, baggy lower eyelids
- Have wrinkles or excess skin around the eyelids
Types of Eyelid Procedures
In an upper blepharoplasty procedure, excess fat is removed, as required, from the upper eyelids. The amount of fat removed is tailored to each person’s anatomic requirements. During this procedure, we do not excise or remove the orbicularis oculi muscle, which is used to close the eyelids. Preserving this muscle maintains the strength of closing and blinking and helps maintain fullness in the upper eyelid for a natural appearance that doesn’t look like it has been surgically altered. The one exception to this is in Asian eyelid surgery, where a thin strip of muscle is excised to help form the eyelid crease. An upper blepharoplasty procedure is appropriate for both women and men, yet must be planned differently for each gender. For men, the incision is usually marked lower on the upper eyelid than for women, and a much more conservative removal of fat is recommended in order to avoid giving the eyes a feminized look.
In Asian blepharoplasty, a “single” eyelid (an upper eyelid without a crease) is changed to a “double fold” eyelid (with the crease). This procedure is performed with a careful technique that creates a subtle difference without significantly altering a patient’s appearance or identity. During the procedure, skin and fat and also a small strip of the orbicularis muscle is excised from the upper eyelid. The incision is then closed with sutures in a technique called “supratarsal fixation,” which helps to create a natural-looking eyelid crease and fold that doesn’t look surgically altered.
Rejuvenating the lower eyelid with a lower blepharoplasty procedure involves the removal of fat and/or skin from the lower eyelid. Eyesthetica oculofacial surgeons use a technique called transconjunctival lower blepharoplasty, which involves excising or repositioning the fatty compartments of the lower eyelid through a hidden incision inside the lid. This approach provides a natural look that also preserves the structure and function of the orbicularis muscles in the lower eyelid.
For a lower blepharoplasty procedure, there are many different surgical methods that may be used, whether standalone or in conjunction with the standard procedure, based on the patient’s anatomy and desires. A “skin pinch” is used in which only a small amount of skin is removed from the lower lid. Volume augmentation through the use of fillers such as Restylane is used to reduce the “hollowing” effect under the eyes. Laser skin resurfacing may be used to tighten or smooth the skin of the lower eyelid. Lateral canthopexy tightens and elevates the position of the lower lid, correcting drooping or sagging lower eyelids. Canthoplasty (the detachment of the canthal tendon from the orbital bone to reinforce lower eyelid support) or a full-thickness lower eyelid tightening procedure (the removal of a small portion of the lower eyelid, with the edges then sewn together) is used for patients with significant lower eyelid laxity, which causes the eyelid to turn inward or outward.
What to Expect During Your Consultation
The eyelid surgery consultation is a good opportunity to discuss your treatment goals with our doctors, and for us to evaluate you as a surgical candidate. You will be asked to describe your ideal outcome of treatment, and we will explain whether eyelid surgery is likely to help you achieve that. We will take down a detailed health history, including your current medications, chronic medical conditions and any previous surgeries, to confirm that you are a good candidate. If we determine that eyelid surgery is, indeed, suitable for your needs and goals, we can discuss the procedure in more detail. We will go over the surgical steps, your anesthesia options, how to prepare for the day of surgery and how to plan for your recovery. You will have ample time to ask any questions you have about the operation and its likely outcomes.
Eyelid Surgery Recovery
Blepharoplasty is an outpatient surgery that allows you to return home after surgery. After surgery, eyelids may feel tight and sore. The head should be elevated for several days, with cold compresses used for bruising and swelling. For the first few weeks, there may temporary changes in your eyesight, sensitivity to light and excessive tearing, but normal activities can be resumed within a few days of surgery.
Cost of Eyelid Surgery
The cost of eyelid surgery varies, depending on the patient and the scope of the case. We can provide specific pricing information upon consultation, once we have a clearer idea of your needs. Typically, eyelid surgery cost includes the facility fees, surgeon’s fees and cost of anesthesia.
Will It Be Covered by Insurance?
In many cases, eyelid surgery is considered an elective cosmetic procedure and therefore patients do not qualify for health insurance coverage (including coverage in the case of a complication). However, sometimes eyelid surgery is performed to eliminate redundant skin that hangs over the eyelash line into the line of sight; in this scenario, it is likely to be covered by insurance because of the element of visual impairment. Please check with your individual policy and insurer for details.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Will blepharoplasty get rid of my eye wrinkles?
It depends on the type of wrinkles. Blepharoplasty can reduce or eliminate wrinkles in the eyelids, but not around the corners of the eye (i.e., “crow’s feet”). Eyelid wrinkles can also be treated with Botox, laser resurfacing and chemical peels. It is best to consult with a qualified surgeon that can evaluate your needs and recommend an appropriate solution.
When will I be able to see the results?
Every patient heals at their own pace, but typically patients see noticeable improvement in their eyelids two to four weeks after surgery. The final results of eyelid surgery can be seen two to three months after the operation; at this point, the incision has healed and the swelling has subsided.
What are the risks of blepharoplasty?
When performed by a qualified surgeon, eyelid surgery is safe and complications are rare. However, any surgery carries some degree of risk. Possible complications include infection, bleeding, adverse reaction to anesthesia, damage to the eye or nerves, chronic dry eye, poor results or recurrence of the problem.
Browlift vs. blepharoplasty: Which is best for sagging eyelids?
Browlift and blepharoplasty are designed to accomplish different goals. Blepharoplasty focuses on correcting loose, sagging skin on the eyelids; brow lift raises a drooping brow to a more youthful position. By elevating the brow, browlift can in turn lift a bit of eyelid skin. But in general, blepharoplasty is the more appropriate treatment option for sagging eyelids.