With age, the muscles around the eyes weaken and the overlying skin may become loose due to lower collagen levels. As a result, the drooping skin and bulging pockets of fat create a tired and aged appearance which is called Dermatochalasis. Surgery of the eyelids, referred to as a blepharoplasty, removes excess skin and fat from the eye area. Patients benefit from a younger, more refreshed appearance to the eyes and face. Lifting droopy upper eyelids can improve the shape of the eye, reduce prominences, bulges, and fine wrinkles. Bulging occurs because of an inherited tendency to excess fat and laxity of skin and surgery can remove the fatty deposits, resulting in a less puffy appearance. Bulging can occur in the upper and lower lids.
What Happens During Eyelid Surgery?
An eyelid lift surgery takes approximately two hours, depending on if the upper eyelid, lower eyelid, or both need to be corrected. The procedure typically involves a small incision in the crease of the upper eyelid or inside the lower lid to avoid noticeable scarring and reduce the need for sutures. In an upper eyelid lift, excess skin and folds are trimmed. Lower eyelid surgery typically does not involve skin removal, but the extraction of fatty pockets and contouring to create a smooth and natural, youthful appearance.
Planning and Surgery
During your consultation, Dr. Stelzner will discuss your desires and expectations with you, and an individualized plan tailored to your needs will be explained. You may need an eyelid visual field test tap and untapped for your insurance for medical dermatochalasis. Surgery lasts approximately one to two hours and is performed in the hospital or surgery center under either sedation with local anesthesia or general anesthesia. An upper blepharoplasty is performed by making an incision in one of the natural creases of the eyelid, thus concealing it. In the lower lid, a blepharoplasty incision is either made just below the lash line or inside the lid from the conjunctiva site to avoid skin incision or suture. Only the necessary amount of excess skin is trimmed and fat removed. The goal is to give the patient a refreshing youthful and well-rested appearance.
What Happens During Recovery from Eyelid Surgery?
Patients typically go home the day of surgery. Swelling and bruising are expected and may make reading difficult for one to two days. Cold compresses are applied to the area to minimize these effects, and a lubricating ointment will be applied to the eyes as a protection and prevention of infection. Depending on the suturing material the stitches are removed in a week or dissolve by themselves. Although some bruising may still be apparent two to three weeks after surgery, most patients return to work in about a week. Contact lenses and eye makeup should not be used for at least two weeks. Patients are permitted to walk and return to their activities of daily living the day after surgery, however strenuous exercise must be limited for approximately one month. The patient should also avoid wearing eye cosmetics and contact lenses for at least 2 weeks. If there is any acute pain or loss of vision, the patient should see the doctor immediately.
Results will begin to be evident within days to weeks. The final result should be evident by one to two months after the surgery and may last over ten years.
Complications from blepharoplasty are uncommon but can include bleeding, infection, swelling, dry eyes, and temporary vision changes or difficulty closing the lids completely. Ectropion (a pulling down of the lower lids) is a rare complication from lower lid surgery that may require surgical correction.