Eyelid Surgery Explained

Posted on August 4, 2011

by Dr. Steven Covici

Also known as blepharoplasty, eyelid lift surgery can be performed on either the upper or lower eyelid. It is sometimes combined with other facial surgeries, such as a brow lift or facelift. The procedure is designed to alleviate droopy eyelids. Additional procedures may be needed to address wrinkles around the eyes, improve sagging eyebrows, or remove dark circles.

Generally, blepharoplasty procedures are performed on an outpatient basis, without a hospital stay. Usually, patients remain awake and receive a local anesthetic and medication to reduce anxiety during the procedure.

In performing an eyelid lift, the surgeon makes a number of very small incisions in the natural folds of the eyelids, removing any extra fatty tissue or loose skin. The doctor then tightens the muscles of the eyelid and places stitches to close the incisions.

Patients usually go home on the same day of the surgery. A nurse or doctor covers the patient’s eyes with ointment and bandages before he or she leaves the office or surgical suite. Most patients experience some swelling, soreness, and a tight sensation, but the discomfort is easily managed with pain medication. For the first few days, patients should keep the head elevated and use cold packs to prevent swelling and bruising.

After two or three days, patients usually have their sight back to normal, although they should not wear contact lenses for two weeks, as it may irritate the eyelids. The stitches are removed after two to seven days, and bruising may last as long as four weeks.

People with diabetes, low tear production, heart disease, high blood pressure, or thyroid problems can face additional risks during an eyelid lift surgery. Generally, side effects are mild, although they may include temporary swelling of the eyelids, double or blurred vision, or difficulty closing the eyes. These side effects should go away as healing progresses.

Posted in: Plastic Surgery