What is blepharoplasty?
Blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery, is designed to remove excess fat, skin, and, in some cases, reposition muscles on the upper eyelids. The word blepharoplasty is sometimes used to describe surgery to either the lower eyelids or upper eyelids, however canthoplasty is used to describe plastic surgery to the lower lids. Another type of surgery to the lower lids is canthopexy.
Blepharoplasty is a very common procedure and it can refresh or rejuvenate the look of the eyes, especially when drooping or loose skin or fat make the eyes look hooded or seem to lack luster and seem old or tired. The normal pockets of fat around the eye may start to slip out of place, or herniate. For some people, their upper eyelids seem to disappear within the herniated fat of the upper eye area. Fat herniation is quite normal and will usually happen to everyone as they age. However, some individuals have herniated fat in the upper area of their eyes even in their early twenties. The condition can be hereditary.
Sometimes a blepharoplasty can improve an individual's vision by removing excess fat and skin that may block part of an individual's field of vision. Whatever the case, the purpose of a blepharoplasty is for the aesthetic appeal that wider, youthful eyes possess.
How is the procedure performed?
Blepharoplasty is usually performed using local anesthesia and light sleep sedation, but it can be done with general anesthesia. During the surgery, your eye will be protected with a special shield rather like a large contact lens. The incisions are made within the natural creases of the eyelids, where scarring is hidden. Your surgeon removes herniated fat and excess skin and then sutures the incision with very fine sutures. At one time, surgeons removed all or most of the fat pads around the eye, but this is rarely done anymore unless the bagginess around the eye is severe. Overly aggressive removal of these fat pads can result in a gaunt or hollow look or in the turning in or out of the eyelid later on in life.
Is there much scarring with a blepharoplasty?
Usually not, and what scars exist are usually hidden in the folds of the eyelids. The scars are placed within the normal creases and folds of the upper and lower eyelids so that when the eyes are open the scars are invisible. As with any surgical procedure some scarring should be expected. However, some visible scarring can occur if there are complications such as infection or in individuals (such as smokers) who do not heal well. With lower blepharoplasty (canthoplasty), where only fat is removed, the incision is normally made on the inside of the eyelid.
Will a blepharoplasty rid me of my eye wrinkles?
This depends on where the wrinkles are. Blepharoplasty will removed loose skin on the upper eyelids and below the eye, but it is not designed to remove wrinkles at the outer corners of the eye (i.e. crow's feet) or sagging brows. It is designed to remove the excess skin and herniated fat from the upper and lower lid areas only.
What should I expect postoperatively?
In the days immediately after surgery, you will have some swelling and bruising around the eyes. Your eyelids may feel tight and sore, but your pain medication should be able to control any discomfort. Your vision may be a little blurry for the first few days due to the swelling, and your eyes may be watery or may be very dry. Patients have described postoperative pain associated with blepharoplasty as mild discomfort and even a wind burned sensation.
When will my stitches be taken out?
The hair-thin sutures are normally removed within 3 to 5 days of the operation. The removal process may sting a little bit.
When will I be able to see the results?
After the swelling goes down, you will be able to see a definite improvement in how you look. You must realize that when you wake up there will be increased swelling as the tissues fill with fluid. Keeping your head elevated and sleeping with two or more pillows for a week or two will help alleviate the swelling.
What are the risks of blepharoplasty?
There are risks with any surgical procedure, and blepharoplasty is no exception. There is a very small possibility of damage to the eye. There is also the possibility that your eyelids will not close completely or that you will lose sensation in the skin around the eye. For specific information on the risks associated with this surgery, please visit our section on blepharoplasty risks. Additionally, you should address all risks with your surgeon during your consultation to be sure you are prepared.
Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute
3023 Hamaker Court
Fairfax, VA 22031
Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute
8650 Sudley Road
Manassas, VA 20110
George Washington University Hospital
2150 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington DC, DC 20037