Eyelid surgery (otherwise known as blepharoplasty, eyelid lift surgery, or simply ‘eye lift’) is a procedure that improves the appearance of the lower and upper eyelids via the removal of excess skin to create a youthful, rejuvenated effect. This cosmetic procedure comes in two forms:
Eyelid surgery aims to rejuvenate and refresh one’s appearance via enhancements made to the surrounding eye area as well as through the elimination of visual disturbances caused by lids hanging down over the lashes.
As you age, the skin around your eyes will gradually lose elasticity over time, causing your upper lids to droop and obstruct your vision. Removal of excess skin through upper blepharoplasty can get rid of this obstruction, helping you to see better while making you look younger and more relaxed. During lower blepharoplasty, swollen fat pockets and extra skin are removed to make the lower lids look less puffy and improve the appearance of under-eye bags.
$970 to $3,200
There are two types of blepharoplasty: upper and lower. If you are planning to have both upper and lower blepharoplasty performed, your upper lids will usually be worked on first.
During upper eyelid surgery, your surgeon will make an incision across the eyelid fold to allow for the removal of some excess skin, fat, and muscle before thinly stitching up the incision to form a creased eyelid. If the drooping skin in the upper lid is in close proximity to your pupil, an additional procedure known as ptosis may be performed to further support the eyebrow muscle.
With lower eyelid surgery, your surgeon will make an incision just underneath the lashes (lash line), or within the lower lid if following the transconjunctival approach. Any excess fat, skin, and muscle will then be removed or repositioned before closing up the incision. The transconjunctival approach enables your surgeon to access the eyelid without having to make any noticeable incisions and is most suitable for patients who are undergoing blepharoplasty for fat removal or addition. Further reduction of fine lines and wrinkles in the eyelid area can also be achieved via laser resurfacing in conjunction with this approach.
Both types of blepharoplasties may take on average one to three hours for completion. Either sedation or local anesthesia may be administered before the procedure — this will be determined via a discussion between you and your surgeon prior to surgery.
Before eyelid surgery, you will first have a consultation with a plastic surgeon and an ophthalmologist, or an oculoplastic surgeon (a specialized ophthalmologist who performs eye surgeries). During this consultation, you will have a discussion about:
- Your health history/past medical records: Your surgeon will inquire about any surgeries you’ve had in the past and any conditions you may have, such as:
o Dry eyes
o Thyroid issues
o Circulatory issues
They will also ask about the medications you are currently taking, as well as any vitamins or herbal supplements/pills, and whether you consume alcohol or take tobacco/any other drugs.
- Your expected results: It is important that you make it known to your surgeon about the outcome you expect to see after the surgery so that you will be pleased with the final results. This will also help to determine whether blepharoplasty is particularly suitable for you.
After a thorough discussion with your surgeon, you will be asked to take:
- A physical assessment which may involve a tear production test as well as some eyelid measurements.
- A vision examination during which your eyes and vision will be tested and examined — this is necessary for insurance claim purposes.
- Photographs of your eyelids from various different angles. This will help in planning out your surgery and evaluating any effects that may arise from the procedure, as well as for insurance claim purposes.
You will also be asked to:
- Discontinue smoking several weeks prior to blepharoplasty as it may impact post-surgery healing.
- Discontinue any herbal supplements or other medications that may induce increased bleeding, such as:
o Warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven)
o Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, etc.)
o Naproxen (Aleve, Apronax, Naprosyn, etc.)
Make sure to ask how many days/weeks prior to surgery you would need to discontinue these medications and only continue taking those that your surgeon has approved.
- Make arrangements to have someone drive you to the clinic before surgery and back home afterward as blepharoplasty is typically performed as an outpatient procedure. You won’t be able to travel home by yourself as an anesthetic will be injected into your eyelids and intravenous medication will be administered to ensure you remain relaxed throughout the surgery. You should also make plans to have a friend or family member keep you company during the first night after blepharoplasty.
All preoperative instructions given by your surgeon should be followed meticulously and any postoperative guidelines should be carefully reviewed long before the surgery is scheduled to take place. This will give you the opportunity to prepare and keep ready any pain-relieving medications or other items that may be necessary post-procedure, such as eye drops, gel packs, or gauze. A physical examination to determine whether anesthesia or intravenous sedation can be administered prior to surgery may also be requested to prevent any potential adverse reactions to the anesthetics.
You may experience temporary post-surgery side effects such as:
To alleviate these side effects, your surgeon may recommend the following:
In most cases, patients can resume normal activities about 7 to 10 days after eyelid surgery. Most of the bruising and swelling will subside within the next two weeks post-surgery.
Do seek immediate medical attention in case any of the following symptoms are experienced:
We understand you may want to change your plans due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and its health implications.
All surgical procedures are associated with a certain level of risk but you need to be aware of all the potential risks of eyelid surgery before consenting to have it performed. These risks will be informed by your surgeon during your consultation throughout which you should ask any questions you may have about the procedure.
Before eyelid surgery, you will be asked to sign a consent form as proof that you:
Since this is standard hospital protocol, you will not be able to undergo surgery if you do not sign this form.
Potential risks and complications include:
You should have a thorough discussion with your surgeon about these risks as a complete understanding of this procedure can help you weigh the benefits and risks to determine whether blepharoplasty is a suitable option to settle for.
It is imperative that you let your surgeon know of any underlying conditions as these may have a negative impact on your surgery and raise the risk level. You should also let them know of any medications you are currently taking and your past history of illnesses/diseases. Since no two patients are the same, the level of risk will vary among individuals and will depend on a number of factors.
Will I be asleep during eyelid surgery?
Local anesthesia with sedation will be administered prior to surgery to ensure you remain pain-free and relaxed throughout. However, you won’t be asleep as your surgeon will ask you to move your eyes at certain points during the procedure.
How long will I be in the operating room?
Depending on your situation, eyelid surgery can typically be expected to last about one to two hours.
What should I expect after the surgery?
You can return to your home/hotel after surgery is done but you need to be accompanied by either a friend or family member. You will also be asked to attend a follow-up session a week later.
Will the scars be visible after?
As the incisions will be inconspicuously placed within the skin creases, scars will not be visible after surgery.
What is the length of time for recovery after eyelid surgery?
You may notice that your eyelids have become swollen and discolored after surgery but these effects will gradually subside over the next two to four weeks. You may also experience some irritation and teary eyes which will improve over time, and it is expected that your eyes will return to near-normal after about two weeks. You will be able to see your results over the next 6 to 12 months as the scar tissue heals and undergoes full maturation.
You may resume:
This information acts only as a guide, and any specific details will be discussed and reviewed by your surgeon during your consultation.
What could go wrong?
Certain risks associated with eyelid surgery include:
How do I prepare for eyelid surgery?
It is imperative that your eyes, eyelids, and lashes are kept free from infection in order to prevent any potential complications or risks. At least two weeks before your surgery is scheduled to take place, you must discontinue smoking and alcohol consumption, as well as certain medications and hormonal/herbal pills and supplements except those permitted by your surgeon to continue.