The eyes are arguably the essential facial feature in emotional expression and nonverbal communication; hence the adage “the eyes are the windows to the soul.” They have even been rated by both men and women as the most critical feature in assessing facial beauty. Our eyes change as we age over time. This change can manifest as drooping and wrinkling in the upper eyelids and puffiness or bags in the lower eyelids, which can make a person look older or more tired than they feel. Blepharoplasty is an eyelid surgery Dr. Thompson performs on men and women who want to look younger and more refreshed by correcting these changes and restoring their youthful appearance and self-confidence.
Additionally, blepharoplasty may improve vision for patients by providing a clearer field of view when excessively droopy eyelids are corrected. Dr. Thompson takes a particular interest in addressing each patient’s unique concerns and tailoring treatment to obtain beautiful, natural results.
What Is Blepharoplasty?
Blepharoplasty is a cosmetic or functional surgery used to treat aging upper and lower eyelids. It is done by removing excess skin, and occasionally, lax muscle and fat. Other treatments may be combined with the eyelid lift, such as an eyebrow or forehead cosmetic procedure (Brow Lift). Patients can choose to have either an upper or lower eyelid surgery, but sometimes having both done simultaneously produces the optimal aesthetic result.
Blepharoplasty is divided into two somewhat different procedures:
Upper Eyelid Blepharoplasty
This upper eyelid surgery corrects drooping or overhanging upper eyelids. This can make you look younger and healthier, and in some cases, it can even improve your vision. Typically, the incision is placed at the natural crease in your eyelid, which works well to hide the scar. This procedure can even be done in the office under local anesthesia with or without a mild anxiolytic (a medication used to help patients relax).
Lower Eyelid Blepharoplasty
The other type of blepharoplasty is a lower eyelid surgery, which removes excess skin that causes wrinkles and bags beneath the eyes. Sometimes fat deposits that cause puffiness are removed. This results in a rejuvenated and more alert appearance. Traditionally, this procedure uses an incision in the lash line to remove excess skin and to tighten the underlying muscle. A transconjunctival approach is a surgery that uses an incision inside the eyelid, but this permits only fat removal, with no ability to remove excess skin.
Ideal Candidates for Eyelid Surgery
Ideal candidates for blepharoplasty include nonsmoking, healthy men and women who have realistic expectations and a desire to improve the appearance of wrinkles, drooping eyelids, or puffy bags under the eyes. Your candidacy can be evaluated during a consultation at our Denver practice with Dr. Thompson.
A careful evaluation with Dr. Thompson is completed to determine the procedure of choice. The doctor will listen carefully to your goals and desires. He will review your health history and perform a physical exam before providing you with a personalized treatment plan that will meet your expectations.
The blepharoplasty procedure is used to rejuvenate the eyes, but other options may be discussed at this time as well. The areas under the eyes and brow may be volumized using fat transfer or injection with filler to provide a more youthful appearance to the eye. Fat transfer or filler may be performed alone or in conjunction with conventional blepharoplasty. The surgery may also be combined with other procedures like a facelift or laser resurfacing to erase the signs of aging from the upper or lower face. Patients may also consider combining the treatment of the eyelids with a brow or forehead procedure. A brow lift is used to elevate the position of the eyebrows, which can be a contributing factor to excess skin in the upper eyelid area. Dr. Thompson will take the time during the consultation to make sure your concerns and goals are adequately understood and also to answer any questions you have to ensure that you feel comfortable with any treatment recommendations.
The Blepharoplasty Procedure
Blepharoplasty is used to lift aging eyelids by removing heavy, excess skin and altering lax muscles. Fat may also be excised. The procedure may be completed on both the upper and lower eyelids. The eyelid lift is generally considered a cosmetic eyelid surgery that is not medically necessary unless drooping is severe enough to interfere with vision. In most cases, this process is performed solely to improve the appearance of a man or woman’s eyelids.
The upper and lower eyelids may become droopy or develop bags as a result of the aging process. The eyebrows may also sag or droop. Sometimes, genetics may cause the eyelid skin to stretch and the muscles to weaken, allowing fat pockets to become more prominent due to bulging. These signs of aging may detract from the overall attractiveness of your face and eyes, causing you to appear tired or older. Blepharoplasty lifts and treats drooping eyelids and bags under the eyes for a more energetic, youthful appearance.
Dr. Thompson typically completes upper eyelid surgery in the office under local anesthesia. The patient may elect to take a mild anxiolytic prior to the procedure. Lower lid blepharoplasty is completed in one to two hours at the doctor’s surgical facility or an outpatient surgical center or hospital. General anesthesia is typically used, but local anesthesia with sedation is an option for some patients. The eyelid lift incisions are placed in a concealed location in a fold of skin or on the inside of the eyelid. Depending on the patient’s concerns, a combination of excess skin, fat, and muscle can be removed. When skin incisions are performed, very fine sutures are used to close them.
What to Expect During the Procedure
If the operation is done under local anesthesia in the office, Dr. Thompson will ensure patients are comfortable, in a relaxed setting, and do not feel pain during the surgery. If the procedure is done in the operating room, the patient will typically be under sedation or general anesthesia for approximately 1 to 2 hours. Dr. Thompson creates a very fine incision either in the upper eyelid crease, under the lashes of the lower eyelid, or behind the lower eyelid. A variety of techniques can be used to address skin, fat, muscle, and sagging of the eyelid during the procedure and are customized to each patient based on their concerns. He closes the incisions with very fine sutures. If permanent suture is used, it is removed in approximately 5 to 7 days. If absorbable suture is used, it will dissolve over time without the need for removal. Upper eyelid surgery typically has little, if any, bruising or swelling. Mild bruising and swelling are experienced with lower eyelid surgery and may last for about one week or longer.
Patients are given aftercare instructions detailing how to care for the incisions. They are also advised on the application of ice and the need to maintain head elevation while sleeping for the first few nights.
The eyelid lift surgery significantly lifts and rejuvenates the appearance of the eyelids and reduces the appearance of bags from under the eyes. Men and women are usually very pleased with the more energetic and youthful appearance they achieve with blepharoplasty. If other options or recommendations discussed during the consultation are performed, they often enhance and compliment the overall result.
Everyone’s healing process varies, though blepharoplasty recovery normally takes about 5-7 days. Patients typically resume normal routines within a day after surgery, but this excludes strenuous activity. Upper eyelid surgery has very little associated bruising or swelling, but your eyelids may feel tight or sore. For lower eyelid surgery, you may experience additional symptoms, but these usually resolve in several days. Bruising will begin to fade in 1-2 weeks, and you should be able to return to work when stitches are removed in 5-7 days. Any strenuous exercise should be avoided for about two weeks. Patients typically find that Tylenol can treat post-surgical discomfort, but additional pain medication is always made available if needed.
Potential Risks from Blepharoplasty
Dr. Thompson will discuss any possible complications in detail during the initial consultation to ensure each patient is well informed and comfortable before moving forward with surgery. Choosing a plastic surgeon with the appropriate training and certification significantly reduces the risk of complications.
FAQs for Blepharoplasty
Blepharoplasty is a cosmetic treatment that is typically not covered by insurance unless sagging of the upper eyelids is severe enough to interfere with vision. A field of vision study can be completed to determine if this is a medically necessary treatment.
Eyelid lift costs vary and are dependent on the patient’s goals and treatment plan. The price is provided after the consultation, along with payment options and affordable plans.
Dr. Thompson may recommend the treatment of your eyelids and eyebrows. In certain patients, these treatments complement one another and may be combined.
The eyelid lift takes approximately one to two hours.
Yes, but in most cases, they are invisible or nearly so. Upper eyelid scars are neatly hidden in the crease of the eyelid, and lower eyelid scars are concealed beneath the lashes or made utterly invisible by being hidden within the eyelid itself.