Our eyes are a small but powerful part of the facial appearance. They’re what others see during every conversation we have, and they’re a large part of what makes us look lively or tired, friendly or unhappy, and refreshed or aged. And yet, the eyes often age faster than other areas because the skin around them is particularly thin and because the skin and muscles are constantly moving and creasing with our facial expressions. That’s why blepharoplasty, or cosmetic eyelid surgery, is such a popular procedure, and the facts below offer a helpful snapshot to introduce you to the surgery.
What blepharoplasty does: Aging can affect the eyes in two major ways: causing the skin of the upper eyelid to sag, creating a “hooded” appearance for the eyes, and forming “bags under the eyes,” which occur when the natural fat deposits below the eye become more prominent. Blepharoplasty can be performed to improve one or both of these concerns.
How blepharoplasty works: Whether or not they’re performed at the same time, upper eyelid surgery and lower eyelid surgery are two different procedures. Upper blepharoplasty removes a strip of excess skin from the upper eyelid area, providing a youthful lift for the eyelid. Lower eyelid plastic surgery, on the other hand, may involve removing the fat deposits under the eyes, removing excess skin under the eyes and restoring firmness to the area, or a combination of both.
What blepharoplasty scars look like: The incisions for eyelid surgery will depend on the unique details of your procedure. For upper blepharoplasty, the incision is made along the natural folds of the upper eyelid, so the remaining scar is thin and discrete. During lower eyelid surgery, the incision may be made along the lower lash line, especially if you are having excess skin removed. However, if your surgery only involves removing the fat deposits, the incision may be limited to the inside of the eyelid, leaving no visible scar in your plastic surgery results.
Considerations to weigh before blepharoplasty: During your cosmetic surgery consultation, be sure to be open and honest about your medical history, including any vitamins, supplements, and medications you’re taking and any issues you may have with your eyes (like dry eyes, glaucoma, etc.), because it could impact the way your surgery is performed and the way your eyes feel after surgery. In the case of upper blepharoplasty, you should also discuss whether your vision has been impacted by the sagging skin, because this problem can often be resolved with the procedure.
How long blepharoplasty recovery takes: Every patient is unique, so your recovery will vary based on the extensiveness of your procedure and your body’s natural healing process. In general, most patients see their bruising and swelling diminish around a week after the procedure, and are able to return to work or their other daily activities around seven to ten days after surgery. Most exercise regimens can be resumed after about two to three weeks, but your activity limitations will be discussed in more detail in your plastic surgery consultation, as well as your post-surgical follow-up appointments.
For the right patients, eyelid surgery can restore their appearance to one with more youth, energy, and brightness. But the key is determining whether blepharoplasty is truly the best option for your needs or whether your aesthetic concerns would actually be addressed more effectively with a brow lift or a short scar facelift. To get started and learn about the procedures you may be a candidate for, schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon like me. Or, to stay up-to-date on more plastic surgery facts and other helpful information, follow me, Dr. Franklyn Elliott, on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.