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Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Surgery)

What is a Blepharoplasty?

As a result of the aging process or genetics, the upper and lower eyelids frequently develop excess skin and herniating (protruding) fat. This results in a tired and aged appearance to the eyes. It can also interfere with visual fields. A blepharoplasty surgery is a surgery performed on either the upper or lower eyelids. During a blepharoplasty, excess skin is excised and herniating eyelid fat is removed or transferred to areas deficient in fat. The goal is to create a natural, youthful, and rejuvenated appearance of the eyes.

Who is a candidate for a Blepharoplasty?

You may want to consider a blepharoplasty if you have:

  • Excess upper eyelid skin resulting in visual field problems or an aged appearance to the eye
  • Herniating (protruding) fat of the eyelid creating upper eyelid fullness or “bags” under the eyes
  • Drooping lower eyelids, fine lines around the eyes, or loss of lower eyelid elasticity

Not all excess skin around the eyes is best treated with a blepharoplasty. Sometimes, an individual requires a brow lift or additional eyelid surgery for eyelid ptosis (weak eyelid muscle resulting in eyelid drooping). During your consult with Dr. Rovelo, she will perform a careful exam to best delineate which procedure will provide an optimal result for your individual needs.

How is a Blepharoplasty Performed?

An upper blepharoplasty is performed through an incision in the natural eyelid crease. Through this incision, excess skin, and occasionally excess fat is excised. The scar is well hidden in the eyelid crease. A lower eyelid blepharoplasty is performed either through incisions inside of the eyelid or just underneath it. Both techniques result in scars that are very well hidden. The incision on the inside of the eye is preferred if there is no excess skin that needs to be removed. Through either incision, herniating fat in the lower eyelid can be removed or transferred to other areas of the lower eyelid that are volume deficient.

Risks

All surgery is associated with risks. Risks associated with blepharoplasty include prolonged swelling and difficulty closing the eye. This is frequently temporary and resolves as the swelling improves. During this time, you may have problems with dry eyes and will need to use eye drops and ointments to assist with lubrication. Other risks include scarring, asymmetry, eyelid malposition, and need for revisional surgery. It is important to talk with Dr. Rovelo about the risks of your surgery and how the risks can be minimized to provide the best possible outcome.

Recovery

Eyelid surgery is performed in an outpatient surgery center under local or general anesthesia, depending on extent and technique of procedure. The procedure can take between 1-3 hours, and patients will go home the same day. After the surgery, patients will need to keep their head elevated and intermittently apply cold compresses to the eyes for 48 hours. An antibacterial ointment will be prescribed and will need to be applied to the eye daily for one week. After one week, any sutures present on the skin will be removed. Eyelid surgery frequently results in swelling and bruising around the eye, which may take several weeks to fully resolve. However, most people can return to light activity and work within 5-7 days.