Of all the facial features, the eyes have the most dramatic impact on appearance. They’re also often the first to show signs of aging. Heredity factors; sun and other environmental conditions; and the relative thinness of the skin and limited number oil glands around the eyes can eventually cause the upper lids to droop and puffy bags to form below the eyes. All of which can make you look tired, sad and years older than you really are or feel.
Blepharoplasty, or “lid lift” is a surgical procedure to remove excess fat, skin and muscle from the upper eyelids, lower eyelids or both. Surgery will not erase dark circles, “crow’s feet” and other wrinkles around the eyes; nor will it lift a sagging eyebrow or reshape basic eye structure to enhance symmetry. Blepharoplasty can, however, correct conditions that can sometimes interfere with normal vision; enhance self-image; and give you a noticeably healthier, more rested, wider-eyed and youthful appearance.
Blepharoplasty takes 1 to 3 hours, depending on the extent of surgical correction, and is performed on an outpatient basis under local or general anesthesia. Inconspicuous incisions follow the curvature of the eyes—along the natural crease of the upper lid and/or just underneath the lashes of the lower lid. Working through these incisions, your Doctor carefully removes the excess fat deposits responsible for bulging, then trims any loose skin and muscle.
The few small sutures used to close the incisions are removed in 7 to 10 days; after which patients may resume wearing eye makeup. Artificial tears are helpful in controlling light sensitivity, dryness and increased tearing of the eyes that often occurs during the first few weeks of recovery. Numbness around the incision lines and a slight pulling sensation when blinking are equally common and may last anywhere from a few days to several months. The degree of swelling and bruising that occurs depends on the extent of the operation and on your susceptibility; but usually disappears within two weeks of upper eyelid surgery and three weeks of lower eyelid surgery.
The discomfort associated with blepharoplasty is typically minimal and well-controlled with head elevation, cold compresses and pain medication. Most patients return to work and nonvigorous activity once the sutures have been removed; however, some do so in as little as two or three days. Strenuous activity which could cause the eyes to swell should be avoided for at least two weeks. The excellent blood supply to the face and strategic placement of the incisions typically results in virtually undetectable scarring. Nonetheless, it may be six months or longer before recovery is complete and you can see the final result.