Blepharoplasty is another name for eyelid surgery. It can be used to address problems of both the upper and lower eyelids, such as sagging upper eyelids or excess looseness (laxity) of the lower lids. As we get older, our skin changes, including the skin and soft tissues around our upper and lower eyelids. This can lead to cosmetic concerns such as drooping eyelids, bags under the eyes, or unsightly excess eyelid skin. Keep reading to find out what blepharoplasty is used for and what to expect from a blepharoplasty operation.
Will Blepharoplasty Fix The Problems With My Upper and Lower Eyelids?
Eyelid surgery with blepharoplasty is useful for several concerns with the upper and lower eyelids.
A common indication for upper eyelid surgery are droopy eyelids. With older age, skin gradually loses its elasticity, which causes the skin of upper eyelids to sag. Excess fat deposits can also cause puffiness around the eyes. In severe cases, this excess skin can droop so low that it physically interferes with your vision by hanging over your line of sight. In medical terms, this sagging skin of the upper eyelids is known as dermatochalasis. Specialists in either ophthalmology or plastic surgery are able to perform a blepharoplasty.
Another cause of a drooping upper lid is known as a ptosis. Unlike dermatochalasis, eyelid ptosis is not a problem with excess skin, but rather with increasing laxity of the ligaments and muscles that holds up your upper lid. Ptosis of the eyelids is fixed with ptosis surgery, which tightens the muscles of the upper lids. Often a ptosis repair is combined with blepharoplasty to remove excess skin. Only an ophthalmologist, and typically one who has further specialised in eyelid surgery (an oculoplastic surgeon) can perform a ptosis repair.
The lower eyelids can also be subject to excess fatty deposits and sagging skin, which are commonly referred to as bags under the eyes. Similar to blepharoplasty of the top lids, lower eyelid surgery can help to improve the cosmetic appearance of these issues.
The costs of your procedure will depend on whether your situation is considered to be eligible for a Medicare rebate. If it’s considered to be purely cosmetic, private health insurance and Medicare do not contribute to the costs. However, if there is a functional impairment that would be improved, such drooping lids covering your vision, you may be eligible to make a claim.
When Is Blepharoplasty Surgery Not Helpful?In some cases, the upper eyelid may appear to be drooping due to sagging eyebrows or forehead. In these situations, a blepharoplasty would not be useful as it’s not the excess skin of the eyelids that’s the issue.
Blepharoplasty is also not suitable for addressing the fine wrinkles at the corner of the eyes known as crow’s feet or dark circles around the eyes. Other forms of cosmetic surgery such as a face lift or products to remove dark circles may be more appropriate.
The Blepharoplasty Procedure: Before the Surgery
Before undergoing surgery, your surgeon will perform a comprehensive consultation to establish your suitability for a blepharoplasty and to discuss your medical history and possible complications.
Factors that can put you at an increased risk of complications
- Allergic reaction to local anesthesia
- Cardiovascular disease or other circulatory disorders
- Pre-existing dry eyes
- Thyroid disease, such as Graves’
Blepharoplasty can be performed under local anaesthetic, though in some cases your surgeon may decide a general anaesthetic might be more appropriate.
What Happens During Blepharoplasty Surgery?
Once you’re comfortable, the surgeon makes an incision around the eyelids. If you’re having the upper lid treated, this cut is made in the fold of the lid. If it’s the lower lid having surgery, the incision tends to be either just beneath the eyelashes or on the inner surface of the eyelid.
From here, excess fat and skin are removed. Any loose underlying tissue, such as muscles, can also be tightened with stitches at the same time. Finally, all incisions are sealed as subtly as possible, typically by concealing them among the natural contour and creases of your facial structure. This may involve using sutures, surgical tape, or surgical tissue glue.
How Long Does The Operation Last?
In total, blepharoplasty surgery takes around 60 to 90 minutes.
The results of blepharoplasty surgery are expected to last up to 10 years, though in many cases can be permanent.
What If I Have Other Concerns About My Appearance?
If the concerns about your eyelid skin are not suitable for eyelid surgery, such as crow’s feet, your surgeon can suggest other alternatives. This may include reconstructive surgery to lift sagging eyebrows, or skin resurfacing with a laser.
Recovery After Blepharoplasty
Immediately after your surgery, you may need to spend a few hours in the recovery room, especially if you had a general anaesthetic.
What To Expect
You can expect to experience some of the following symptoms:
- Mild discomfort
- Swelling and bruising around the eyes and eyelids
- Dry eyes or sometimes watery eyes
- Light sensitivity
Aftercare and Recovery
Your surgeon will give you some tips on recovering as smoothly as possible in the few weeks after your procedure. This can include using ice packs or cool compresses to reduce swelling after surgery.
If your eyes feel dry and irritated, using lubricating eye drops can help to alleviate this discomfort. During this time, it’s also important to avoid strenuous exercise and any cosmetic products around the eyes.
Potential Complications of Eyelid Surgery
Like any operation, there are risks associated with eyelid surgery. These can include:
- Reaction to the anaesthetic or other tools and products used during the operation
- Irritated scar tissue
- Infection of the incision site
Specific Complications of Eyelid Surgery
- Excessive skin removal, which can lead to difficulty in closing the eyelids
- Bleeding into the whites of the eyes or the eye socket
- Impairment of opening the top eyelid (lid lag or ptosis), which commonly comes with sagging eyebrows
- Vision loss
You can reduce your risk of these complications by giving your surgeon a comprehensive overview of your medical history. It’s also beneficial to quit smoking, both for the operation and your overall health.
Call us today on (03) 9070 3580.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
Blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) – Better Health Channel
Blepharoplasty | healthdirect