What is a blepharoplasty?
A blepharoplasty is an operation to change the appearance of the eyelids. Modern surgery may involve the removal of excess skin, tightening of the muscle under the skin and repositioning or removal of bulging fat. The result is a fresher, less tired appearance with loss of overhanging skin and eye bags.
What does the operation involve?
In the upper eyelid the incision is made within the natural skin crease and therefore is often completely hidden. In the lower eyelid, if a transconjunctival blepharoplasty is performed, there may be no skin incision at all. If an incision is required, to remove skin for example, this will be just below the eyelashes and heals very well.
What are the limitations of blepharoplasty surgery?
Fine wrinkles of the eyelid do not tend to improve with blepharoplasty surgery and are better treated by skin resurfacing techniques such as laser or chemical peel. Crows feet lines at the edge of the eyes are best treated with anti-wrinkle treatment injections.
How long will it take to recover?
After blepharoplasty surgery there will be bruising for approximately two weeks. Swelling will also greatly decrease in the first two weeks but there will be further reductions and improvements in this for up to 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 also help to reduce swelling.
How quickly could I return to work?
In my experience many patients under estimate the downtime and effects of surgery, despite appropriate pre-operative counseling, however post operative help and advice mean that this is an operation after which most people are able to get on with their lives without delay. Most would return to work in 2 weeks.
How long will the results last?
Unlike many other non-surgical cosmetic treatments a blepharoplasty is very long lasting. For most people that will mean the beneficial effects of surgery last their life times. Of course the face will continue to age but it may take decades for these changes to appear significant again.
What are the risks?
Blepharoplasty is a low risk procedure but like any operation there are potential risks that your surgeon should discuss with you. Loss of vision may occur in 1 in 20 000 operations due to post operative bleeding, although if correctly managed this may be avoided. It is possible to remove too much skin causing a lower lid to be pulled downwards or making it difficult to close the upper eyelid. This should be avoided by good surgical technique. Rarely does a cosmetic operation achieve 100% of the aims of a patient or surgeon: realistic expectations are important and part of the initial consultation. On the whole it is reasonable to expect 90% of what you want from upper eyelid surgery and 75% from the lower lid. There are other equally rare complications such as infection, scar, double vision, loss of skin sensation and needing further surgery but it should be noted that the vast majority of patients experience a simple and uncomplicated operation and recovery period.