Young Woman Touching Her FaceBlepharoplasty is the medical word for eyelid surgery. Some choose the surgery for cosmetic reasons, while others do it for medical reasons. As with any plastic surgery, you should weigh the benefits and the risks before deciding to have it done. Although you can have great results from having the surgery, there are risks involved and you need to approach it with realistic expectations.

Blepharoplasty is used by both men and women. In general, it is a single procedure, although other cosmetic surgery procedures may be recommended in order to get the best results. The surgery is fairly short and can usually be done as an outpatient procedure.

Candidates for Blepharoplasty

Many people choose blepharoplasty for cosmetic reasons. It can help those with puffy or baggy upper eyelids, excess skin on the lower lids, bags under the eyes, or droopy lower eyelids. The surgery removes excess tissue from either the upper eyelids or lower eyelids, and sometimes from both. This helps your eyes appear more alert and younger.

Blepharoplasty is also done to help improve vision. According to the Mayo Clinic, excess skin, especially on the upper lid, can end up interfering with your vision. Having the surgery helps older people see better, especially peripherally.

There are some things that blepharoplasty will not help with. The surgery will not get rid of dark circles under your eyes, facial wrinkles, or crow’s feet. In order to get results for those types of things, you may choose to get a forehead lift, filler injections, brow lift, or laser resurfacing, as is reported by WebMD.

Blepharoplasty Procedure

The procedure for blepharoplasty only takes up to a couple of hours and is done on an outpatient basis. The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery helps explain what goes on during the procedure.

With surgery on the upper eyelid, the individual creases and lines of the lids are marked by the surgeon. This helps to keep the scars to a minimum with the goal of keeping them invisible. When the incision is made, the extra fat is either repositioned or removed and then the loose skin and muscle are removed. The use of fine sutures help close the incision and make scars harder to see.

With surgery of the lower eyelid, an incision is made along the smile creases and lash line of the lower lid. Excess skin, fat, and muscle are trimmed away. Fine sutures are again used to close the incision.

Recovery from blepharoplasty takes a few weeks. Your eyes don’t need to be covered but you may have small sterile bandages applied. Your eyes tend to be dry after the surgery so an ointment may be recommended. You can expect some bruising and swelling, which can be helped with head elevation and cold compresses.

During the first week and a half post-surgery your eyes may feel itchy, dry, and/or sticky. You will need to clean your eyes during this time and possibly use eye drops. If you have noticeable pain or discomfort, you will be prescribed pain medication.

Any stitches will be removed in three to five days, except for the self-absorbing ones, which will dissolve.  During the weeks following the surgery you will be given a list of environments and activities that you should avoid.

Risks of Blepharoplasty

As with any surgery, there are risks associated with blepharoplasty. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons lists many of the possible complications and risks.

In general, the risks are minimal but still possible. You may experience poor wound healing, fluid accumulation, infection, bleeding, blood clots, dry eyes, and unfavorable scarring. You may also notice skin swelling and discoloration, persistent pain, numbness of the skin in the area, difficulty closing the eyes, and risks relating to the anesthesia.

Some complications of blepharoplasty are lid lag, which is when the lower eyelid temporarily pulls down; and ectropion, which is when the eyelid rolls outwards.

Vision loss is a rare complication but there is a chance of it happening. This may include temporarily impaired or blurred vision or loss of eyesight. Complications with pulmonary, cardiac, or deep vein thrombosis may occur.

Long Term Results of Blepharoplasty

Blepharoplasty is a procedure that, when good results are seen, lasts for a long time. However, the results are not permanent. Some subjects may need another surgery right away to get the expected results. Others may want to have it redone years down the road.

The looseness and wrinkling often return over time, which results in some people choosing to have the surgery performed again. Sometimes a brow lift will be recommended in conjunction with the first blepharoplasty, as this reduces the likelihood of the loose skin reoccurring in the future.

Blepharoplasty is a procedure that many choose to help improve the look of their eyes. The increased alertness and youthfulness that usually results is worth the minimal risk that accompanies the surgery, according to many who have had the procedure.