Blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) is a plastic surgery procedure for correcting sagging or drooping eyelids. The eyelid, because its skin is much thinner than that in other parts of the face, is often one of the first facial areas to exhibit signs of aging. Eyelids that sag or droop can affect peripheral vision, making daily activities such as driving more difficult. Eyelid surgery may become necessary when various factors, which include aging, sun damage, smoking and obesity, cause the muscles and tissue that support the eyelids to weaken.
Why should I get a Blepharoplasty?
Upper or lower eyelid surgery is the preferred treatment for removing bags under the eyes or for droopy eyelids as well as conditions that can add years to your appearance and might even impair your vision.
Eyelid surgery is also ideal for correction of the following:
- Puffy fat deposits in the eyelids
- Sagging lower eyelids that may show the whites of the eyes below the irises
- Excess skin in the lower eyelids
- Fine wrinkles in the lower eyelids
This surgery cannot raise the eyebrows, or treat deep wrinkles, dark circles under the eyes, or crow’s feet.
Types of Eyelid Surgery
If the eyelids begin sagging into the field of vision, a functional blepharoplasty may be required. The procedure may be covered by medical insurance if it is deemed medically necessary. A determination of how much vision is affected is done by checking the peripheral visual field with an instrument called the Humphrey Visual Field (HVF) Analyzer.
Blepharoplasty can be performed on either the upper or lower eyelid, or on both, for cosmetic purposes. For a lower eyelid that needs fat rather than skin removed, a transconjunctival blepharoplasty is performed. During transconjunctival blepharoplasty, an incision is made inside the lower eyelid, so there are no visible scars, and the fat is removed. This procedure has no effect on vision, but results in a person’s looking younger and more refreshed.
It is important for our patients in the San Jose area to have realistic expectations before undergoing this cosmetic surgery. Although the procedure can enhance appearance and improve self-confidence, it does not radically alter the face.
Candidates For Blepharoplasty
The best candidates for eyelid surgery are those who are in good overall health, do not smoke, do not have any serious eye conditions, and have healthy facial tissue and muscle.
People with eye disease, including glaucoma or retinal detachment, thyroid disorders, diabetes, cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure are not good candidates for blepharoplasty.
How is Blepharoplasty Surgery Performed?
Eyelid surgery is usually performed under local anesthesia. General anesthesia may be used for anxious patients. During your surgery at our San Jose area office, Dr. Rosenthal will make small incisions along the natural lines of your eyelids, through which excess fat, skin and muscle are removed. Patients can choose to have this procedure on their upper or lower eyelids, or both. The procedure can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours, depending on whether both the upper and lower eyelids are operated on. If the upper eyelid is being operated on, an incision is typically made along its natural crease. Once the incision is made, fat deposits are repositioned or removed, muscles and tissue are tightened, and excess skin is removed. For the lower eyelid, an incision is usually made just below the lash line so that excess skin can be removed. Sometimes lower eyelid fat can be removed through incisions inside the eyelid, which eliminates any external scars. After the procedure, the incisions are closed with sutures, tissue glue or surgical tape, and usually loosely covered with gauze so the area can heal. These will leave scars that are inconspicuous.
What is the Recovery/Aftercare Process After Getting this Eyelid Surgery?
Most patients are back to their normal routines within days, although complete recovery may take a few weeks. Swelling, bruising and some discomfort are part of the recovery process, and usually can be alleviated with cold compresses, lubricating drops/ointment and appropriate medication. Most patients return to work within a few days to a week, but should avoid exercise and strenuous activities for at least 2 weeks. Stitches are usually removed after 3 or 4 days. Most swelling and other side effects typically subside within 2 weeks. Contact lenses and eye makeup may not be worn for 2 weeks after surgery. Patients are typically advised to wear dark sunglasses outside or in bright light for 2 weeks to protect their eyes from sun and wind.
Risks Of Eyelid Surgery
Although there may be swelling and bruising around the surgical site, they will subside on their own, and the eyelids will improve in appearance for up to a year. Uncommon side effects include infection, reaction to anesthesia, and double or blurred vision. Eyes may be irritated and dry due to a temporary change in tear distribution. Side effects such as uneven healing and permanent scarring are rare but, if they occur, may require surgical correction. The scars from this eyelid surgery are well-concealed, and usually fade with time until they are virtually undetectable. Although the eyelids are still subject to aging, blepharoplasty produces long-lasting results.
For eyelid surgery in the San Jose and Los Gatos areas, contact female plastic surgeon Regina Rosenthal today!