Cosmetic Surgery Facial Eyelid

Eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty, is a procedure that can correct and/or improve an individual’s appearance. Eyes are part of the human non-verbal communication system. When they’re puffy or sagging, they can send a very different message from the one intended.

Performed on the upper or lower lids, or both, eyelid surgery produces many positive results, such as a younger, revitalized profile. Other plastic surgery procedures, such as nose surgery or a brow lift, when applied at the same time, can enhance the revitalization effects.

Eyelid Surgery Benefits

The effects of aging usually lead to many types of eyelid problems. However, eyelid problems are sometimes present at birth or develop in children and young adults.

Surgery can correct a number of physical issues associated with the upper and lower lids, including:

  • drooping upper lids (ptosis)
  • effects of aging, including excessive, deep wrinkling
  • excess fat deposits
  • lower lid turning inward (entropion)
  • lower lid turning outward (ectropion)
  • puffy lower lids
  • sagging lower lids.

In extreme cases, conditions involving the upper lid impair peripheral vision or cause discomfort. As individuals age, sagging, known as dermatochalasis, can lead to headaches and unnatural eye twitching.

Surgery cannot correct the surface effects of aging, including fine-line wrinkles or dark circles under the eyes.

Eyelid Surgery Procedures

Eyelid surgery is an outpatient procedure at a hospital or surgeon’s office and may require up to two hours. The patient is under general or local anesthesia.

For upper eyelids, the surgeon makes an incision at the crease. He will remove excess fat, if necessary, and adjust or remove the muscle tissue. For drooping lids, some skin is also trimmed away before suturing.

A lower eyelid surgery involves an incision at the lash line and often an incision into the natural creases surrounding the eye area. In some cases, a surgeon will perform a transconjunctival blepharoplasty, which involves an incision inside the lower lid.

In any surgery around the eye, fine sutures minimize the potential for scarring. The stitches are either standard, to be removed at a follow-up visit, or self-dissolving.

Laser applications result in reduced swelling and less blood loss but may not be as effective as traditional methods.

Recovering from Eyelid Surgery

Recovery time varies, as the eye area has thin, delicate skin. The surgeon and staff will tell you what you can expect in the days following your surgery. They will also advise against physical activity for a few days following the surgery.

Bruising is common, as are irritation and dry eyes. The surgeon will prescribe drops and ointments to soothe dryness. Sometimes, numbness occurs along the lash line, lasing for up to eight weeks or longer. Numbness, however, should eventually subside.

Swelling is perhaps the worst part of the recovery period and generally lasts the longest. It may not interfere with day-to-day activities but can take up to six months to disappear completely. Some stiffness or awkward blinking movements could also occur during this time.

Scars in the eye area will also gradually recede. They first appear red and sometimes develop cyst-like knots. When the healing process is complete, a barely noticeable white line remains. Within 12 months, all effects of eyelid surgery will have resolved.

This type of surgery rarely requires repeating. While natural aging does occur, drooping and puffiness generally do not reach an extreme. Some individuals see extra tissue development after 10 years or so and choose to have it surgically removed.

Potential Risks of Eyelid Surgery

As with any surgery, long- and short-term side effects are possible. Most are moderate, although rarely some may be severe. These include:

  • bleeding following eyelid surgery caused by clot development
  • excessive scarring that further impairs vision
  • infection following eyelid surgery
  • loss of vision
  • reaction to anesthesia ranging from nausea to vomiting but also leading to more severe health issues including heart and breathing complications
  • separation of stitches
  • uneven appearance
  • unnatural, over-modified look
  • under-correction, which leads to little or no difference from the appearance prior to surgery

Going into eyelid surgery with realistic expectations is very important. Even when performed in conjunction with other procedures, including nose surgery and neck lifts, individuals should not expect drastic changes. The point is to see a fresher countenance in the mirror.

Cost of Eyelid Surgery

Most health insurance policies do not cover any eyelid surgery cost or complications that arise. As a cosmetic procedure, fees also vary for several reasons, including geographical location and the type of surgery performed.

On the other hand, insurance may cover the procedure if it is to correct a medical condition, such as impaired vision. Typical cost is about $3,000 for either upper or lower eyelid surgery but can be as high as $5,000 for all peripheral costs, including anesthesia.

Resources

Eyelids-Blepharoplasty.com (2002-2006). Blepharoplasty Risks and Complications. Retrieved December 2, 2007, from the Blepharoplasty Information Service Web site: http://www.eyelids-blepharoplasty.com/in_risks/risks.html.

Eyelids-Blepharoplasty.com (2002-2006). Blepharoplasty Timing: Now or Later? Retrieved December 2, 2007, from the Blepharoplasty Information Service Web site: http://www.eyelids-blepharoplasty.com/in_before/timing.html.

LocateADoc.com (1999-2007). Blepharoplasty Basics. Retrieved December 2, 2007, from the LocateADoc Web site: http://www.locateadoc.com/articles.cfm/1978/1314.