Upper Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty)
As we age, the upper and lower eyelids may change due to the natural loosening of the skin, bulging fat pads, and drooping eyebrows. Because the fullness of the eyelids and the natural brow position varies from one person to another, age-related changes to the eyes can look very different. With age, some people’s eyes develop a tired appearance. The skin may droop over the eye’s natural crease, making it disappear. In some cases, the skin drops over the eyelashes and into the field of vision. The cosmetic and functional consequences of loose eyelid skin can be corrected with blepharoplasty.
What is Upper Eyelid Blepharoplasty?
Blepharoplasty is often referred to as eyelid rejuvenation. This surgical procedure reverses the signs of aging around the eyes so they can regain their standing as a beautiful, natural focal point on the face.
Upper eyelid blepharoplasty may be performed for cosmetic or functional reasons. Before surgery, a comprehensive evaluation is performed to fully discern the nature of drooping (age-related or ptosis) and the proper technique for correction.
Reasons for Upper Eyelid Surgery
There are several reasons for medical blepharoplasty. Dr. Cockerham has been performing this procedure for more than two decades. Her experience as an oculofacial plastic surgeon has benefited patients dealing with:
- The weakening of eyelid muscle (ptosis)
- Excessive eyelid skin
- Thyroid disorders and allergies
- Eyelid lesions
- Eyelid rotation and abnormal eyelash positioning
- Drooping eyelids
Benefits of Upper Blepharoplasty
Upper blepharoplasty can achieve several objectives, including:
- Restoring eyelid contours
- Correcting puffiness and droopiness
- Reversing the signs of aging that make the eyes look sad, angry, or tired
- Rejuvenating the face by reinstating the eyes as a youthful focal point
What Our Patients Have To Say
“My ‘droopy’ eyelids were causing frustrations with constant rubbing of eyes and minor visual impairment. Dr. Kim performed upper eye lid surgery (blepharoplasty) and the results were wonderful. A few months later she performed Co2 laser resurfacing on eye lid area and forehead, and IPL (pulsed laser treatment) on sunspots and rosacea. I feel better about how I look thanks to Kim. Dr. Cockerham is a positive burst of enthusiasm and an amazing and talented doctor.” – S.
Who Is A Good Candidate For Upper Eyelid Surgery
Blepharoplasty may be appropriate for adults of all ages. Typically, the best results are achieved in patients aged 30 and older who are non-smokers in good general health. Smokers can undergo blepharoplasty, but it is necessary to stop smoking several weeks before surgery to facilitate optimal healing.
Upper Eyelid Surgery Procedure
The blepharoplasty procedure focuses on superficial tissue and can often be conducted in the medical office using a local anesthetic. In certain scenarios, treatment may be performed in a surgery center where deep sedation or general anesthesia can be administered.
After appropriate anesthesia and the patient is comfortable, Dr. Cockerham makes the incisions. The incisions in blepharoplasty are within natural creases in which scarring can be well concealed. They can be contoured as needed to complement the natural curves of the eyelid and maintain them for optimal results. Through the small incisions that are made, muscles can be tightened or removed, fatty tissue can be removed or repositioned, and excess skin can be removed to recreate the suppleness of the eyelid.
The surgeon may close the incisions with standard or dissolvable sutures. Dr. Cockerham will typically remove standard incisions within one week after surgery.
How Can I Prepare For My Blepharoplasty Procedure?
Patients may be advised to change a few habits before undergoing eyelid surgery. Pre-operative steps may include:
- Stop smoking and using nicotine. Smoking and nicotine inhibit healing and can prematurely age the skin. When smoking stops, the body’s cardiovascular activity improves. This can take up approximately one month, so the sooner smoking stops, the better.
- Certain medications and supplements need to be avoided before surgery. These include aspirin, ibuprofen, and vitamin E. Let us know about all prescription and nonprescription medications and supplements you are taking.
- Before surgery, it is necessary to prepare for recovery. This includes arranging time off work, arranging transportation to surgery, and filling post-operative prescriptions. It is also helpful to prepare meals ahead of time, enlist help with pet care and child care, and gather supplies for the brief recovery period.
What Are The Risks of Blepharoplasty?
It is essential that patients interested in blepharoplasty weight the benefits of this procedure against potential complications such as:
- General anesthesia, if used
- Bruising and swelling
- Dry eyes
- Poor healing
- Unfavorable scarring
- Persistent numbness in the eyelid
Recovery After Upper Eyelid Surgery
Patients may apply ice to the eyes after blepharoplasty to begin the management of bruising and swelling quickly. While the tissue around their eyes heals, patients should elevate their head while sleeping. Sleeping on two pillows encourages fluid to drain away from the eyes, which can minimize swelling more quickly. Most patients find blepharoplasty much more comfortable than they had imagined, including their recovery.
Patients may use prescription pain medication that is available. However, over-the-counter medication may be sufficient to control post-operative pain. It may be possible to return to work approximately one week after blepharoplasty, but remnant bruising and swelling may persist for two or more weeks. Makeup is usually successful in disguising any bruising.
Will The Results Of Eyelid Surgery Be Permanent?
Usually, patients will begin to see the results of eyelid rejuvenation surgery within two weeks after their procedure. As the swelling continues to decrease, the eyes appear younger and more vibrant. It is reasonable to expect long-lasting results from blepharoplasty, although natural aging will continue. Wearing sunglasses and applying sunscreen gently around the eyes can support the healthiest possible aging after blepharoplasty.
Is Eyelid Surgery Safe?
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, eyelid surgery was among the top five cosmetic procedures performed in 2018. It was the most popular procedure among patients aged 55 and older. Though eyelid procedures carry a certain amount of risk, most patients recover well from their procedure. Bruising and swelling are the most common effects of surgery, and these typically resolve in two weeks.
Is Blepharoplasty Painful?
Blepharoplasty procedures may be performed with local anesthesia, oral or IV sedation, or general anesthesia. The type of anesthesia that is used is selected based on what makes the patient most comfortable, general health, and the inclusion of complementary procedures such as a brow lift, facelift, or rhinoplasty. Patient comfort can be achieved with a local anesthetic and appropriate sedative. However, some patients prefer the idea of being asleep during their procedure. We help patients decide what will work best for them by discussing details of each option during their consultation.
How Much Does Eyelid Surgery Cost?
Some sites list an average cost of blepharoplasty but this can be confusing because listed average costs often do not include all of the fees associated with surgery. Common fees include anesthesia, surgical facility costs, prescriptions, and post-operative supplies. Costs also reflect the various procedures a patient may have alongside blepharoplasty. It is important to compare the cost of blepharoplasty with the long-term results this procedure achieves. Some patients undergo eyelid rejuvenation only once and enjoy indefinite improvement.
If you would like to learn more about Upper Eyelid Blepharoplasty call 1-800-244-9907 to make an appointment at Central Valley Eye Medical Group.