Eye bag removal or eyelid surgery, also known as a blepharoplasty, is an operation to change the appearance of the eyes. It can be carried out on the upper or lower eyelids or both.
The surgery can involve the removal of excess skin around the eyes, tightening of the muscle under the skin and repositioning or removal of bulging fat. The aim of the surgery is a fresher, less tired appearance that loses overhanging skin and eye bags.
What does the operation involve?
In the upper eyelid an incision is made within the natural skin crease and therefore is often completely hidden.
In the lower eyelid, there may be no skin incision at all depending on the technique used but if an incision is required this will be just below the eyelashes.
The operation is performed under general anaesthetic, where you are asleep during the procedure.
The surgery usually takes one to two hours, less if just the upper or lower eyelid is being done. You may need to stay in hospital one night but it is possible for the surgery to be performed as a day case.
What can a blepharoplasty improve?
A blepharoplasty is best at smoothing droopy eyelids or bags under the eyes, but it cannot remove fine wrinkles or crow’s feet around the eye.
How long will it take to recover?
After surgery there will be some bruising for approximately two weeks. There will also be some swelling that will greatly decrease in the first two weeks, and this will continue to reduce and improve over the next three months.
Antibiotic ointment is applied to any incisions for two weeks and eye ointment is used for the first week. Cool compresses for the first week can also help to reduce swelling.
Patients can expect to return to work two weeks after surgery.
How long will the results last?
Unlike many other non-surgical cosmetic treatments, the effects of a blepharoplasty can last a very long time – for most people, lasting their lifetime.
Of course the face will continue to age and everyone’s skin is different, but it may take decades for these changes to appear significant again.
Your consultant surgeon will discuss with you thoroughly what you want to achieve with the operation and set your expectations.
Always ask your surgeon what results you can expect and the associated risks and alternatives before you decide to go ahead.
Mr Austin McCormick is a consultant plastic surgeon at Spire Liverpool Hospital.
The content of this article is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the professional medical advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional.