Blepharoplasty is a form of cosmetic surgery that changes the appearance of the eyelids. This surgery can be done on the upper eyelid, lower eyelid, or both, and removes both skin and fat to help the patient achieve their desired appearance. Blepharoplasty is typically performed to address signs of aging and give the patient a more youthful look, but some patients also opt for the procedure to address drooping eyelids and improve their vision.
If you’re interested in getting eyelid surgery, you’re likely wondering about the recovery process. The exact recovery time will vary depending on the type of blepharoplasty you get and the complexity of the surgery. However, most patients return to their normal routines one to two weeks after surgery.
Here’s everything you need to know about recovery after blepharoplasty surgery to help you prepare.
What to Expect During Blepharoplasty Recovery
During the first few days after your surgery, you’re likely to experience some discomfort. Your surgeon and their team will advise you on how to manage this, and you should follow their instructions closely.
You’ll likely experience pain, bruising, and swelling. Some patients also experience blurry vision and dry eyes. These symptoms are temporary and should subside after a few days. In most cases, you’ll be prescribed an antibiotic and a pain medication to take for the first few days after surgery, and you’ll be able to manage the pain with over-the-counter medications after that.
Swelling typically peaks three days after surgery and should begin to subside after that. To manage the swelling, use cold compresses on your eyes for approximately 20 minutes at a time. You’ll also need to sleep with your head elevated to prevent the swelling from getting worse.
Bruises in the eye area are normal after eyelid surgery and may resemble a black eye. You’ll also need to avoid contact lenses and eye makeup during your initial recovery period, although you may be able to use some light makeup to cover your bruises as your healing progresses. Avoid rubbing or touching your eyes, and use eye drops and cooling gauze as directed by your doctor to keep your eyes moisturized.
During your initial recovery period, you’ll need to avoid exercise and other strenuous activities. You’ll also need to avoid driving and operating heavy machinery until your vision fully recovers and your doctor has given you the go-ahead.
Timeline for Recovery
Day One: Since blepharoplasty is an outpatient surgery, you’ll be able to return home after your procedure. You’ll be cleared to return home once your anesthesia has worn off, however, you will need to have someone accompany you home. Make sure to fill any prescriptions your surgeon gives you before the appointment to ensure you have them on hand at home.
During the first day after surgery, you’ll need to stay in bed with your head propped up with firm, supportive pillows. Avoid turning or moving your head too much. Follow your doctor’s instructions regarding pain medication, eye drops, and wound care, and be sure to call if you notice anything abnormal.
Day Two – Three: Pain and discomfort should slowly start to subside during this period. Your swelling will likely peak on the third day. Continue to keep your incisions clean according to your doctor’s instructions and avoid rubbing your eyes. You may also continue to experience blurry vision or numb eyelids during this time.
Day Four – Seven: During this time frame, pain, swelling, and other symptoms will start to subside. However, you’ll still need to take it easy and likely won’t be ready to return to work yet. You’ll also have your first follow-up appointment at the end of the week, where your surgeon will take out stitches if they used them.
Week Two: During the second week after surgery, you’ll likely be able to return to work or school. However, you’ll need to continue to avoid strenuous exercise. You’ll also need to continue to avoid wearing makeup or contact lenses, and wear dark sunglasses when you are outside to protect your eyes. Minimize your ‘screen time’ during this period to avoid unnecessary eye strain.
Week Three: At this point, most of the bruising will have subsided. You’ll also be able to carefully resume your exercise routine, although you should continue to be mindful of your eyes. If you want to wear eye makeup or contact lenses, you’ll be able to do so at this point.
Week Four to Six: During this period, your symptoms will be almost completely gone. You may experience some minor swelling as your body adjusts to the change. At six weeks, you’ll be able to see the final results of your surgery.
Tips For The Fastest Way to Recover From Blepharoplasty
While blepharoplasty recovery does take time, there are things you can do to help speed the process along and bounce back quickly after your eyelid surgery. Here are some of the top recovery tips to help you feel better as quickly as possible.
Follow Post-Operative Instructions
The key to a successful recovery after eyelid surgery is to follow your surgeon’s instructions very carefully. They will provide a detailed list of instructions that are customized to your surgery and your needs.
Your doctor will likely go over these instructions with you before your surgery so you know what to expect. Be sure to ask any questions you have to avoid confusion.
Using cold compresses on your eye area will help to reduce swelling and bruising in this area. The cold causes your blood vessels to constrict, which reduces blood flow to the area and helps to minimize the swelling. Cold compresses also make the pain less intense by numbing the eye area. Use cold compresses for approximately 20 minutes at a time to minimize any skin irritation.
Sleep With Head Elevated
Another way to keep swelling to a minimum is to sleep with your head elevated, especially for the first few days after surgery. This allows blood to flow away from your eyes instead of pooling in this area. The best way to keep your head elevated is to use a wedge pillow that’s designed specifically to hold your head up. However, if you don’t have a wedge pillow available, stacking multiple firm pillows together can help you achieve the same effect.
Avoid Certain Activities
After your surgery, you’ll need to be very cautious with the activities you participate in. In particular, you’ll need to avoid exercising or other strenuous activities that could damage your stitches or put excess strain on your body. In the worst-case scenarios, exercise could even cause bleeding or infection, which will require further medical treatment. In general, you should keep your routine as stress-free as possible until your doctor gives you the go-ahead to exercise again.
Stay Hydrated and Eat Healthy
Eating well and drinking plenty of fluids makes a huge difference in your recovery, particularly during the first 14 days. Keep a water bottle with you throughout the day to stay hydrated. Avoid drinking coffee, alcohol, and anything else that could dehydrate you, as this will make it more difficult for your body to heal.
Additionally, you’ll want to make sure to eat a balanced diet with plenty of vitamins and minerals to speed up the recovery process. Be sure to include plenty of fruits and vegetables as well as sources of protein and healthy fat.
Attend Follow-Up Appointments
After any plastic surgery procedure, you’ll have multiple follow-up appointments with your doctor – and you shouldn’t skip them. The exact schedule will vary from person to person, but most patients have at least two follow-up appointments in the first two weeks.
During these appointments, your doctor will check to make sure that you’re healing properly and address any questions or concerns you may have. If you aren’t healing properly for any reason, your doctor will recommend appropriate care to get you back on track.
Keep In Touch With Your Surgeon
It’s important to continue to keep in touch with your surgeon, even after the initial healing period has passed. If you notice anything with your eyes that feels or looks abnormal, be sure to get in touch with them for advice. Your surgeon may advise you to continue attending follow-up appointments for several months to ensure that your eyelids heal properly and that you’re happy with the results.
Recovery Time For Different Types of Blepharoplasty Procedures
Your eyelid surgery recovery time will vary depending on the exact type of blepharoplasty you’re having done. Each type of blepharoplasty affects the eyes differently and will affect your healing.
Upper blepharoplasty has the shortest recovery time of all the eyelid cosmetic surgery procedures. Most patients will be able to carefully resume their daily routine seven to 10 days after surgery, although they will need to continue to avoid strenuous exercise.
Lower blepharoplasty comes with a slightly longer recovery period. Many patients need a full two weeks before returning to their This is because lower blepharoplasty typically causes more extensive bruising and swelling.
Double blepharoplasty is when patients have operations on both their upper and lower eyelids. This procedure has the longest recovery process of all the forms of blepharoplasty. Patients may need two weeks or more before resuming their regular routine, although some patients are able to return to work faster.
Factors That Can Affect Blepharoplasty Recovery
In addition to the type of blepharoplasty you have, there are a variety of other factors that can affect your recovery time. These include:
- Skin Elasticity: The level of natural elasticity in your skin has a significant effect on your recovery time. Those with less natural elasticity are likely to experience more intense swelling and bruising.
- Age: In general, younger patients tend to recover from surgery faster than older patients.
- Health Status: There are some pre-existing health conditions that may make it more difficult to recover from surgery.
- History of Smoking: If you are a smoker, you’ll be required to stop smoking before your procedure. However, if you have a history of smoking in the past, it could have a negative effect on your body’s ability to recover.
- Compliance With Post-operative Instructions: Following your surgeon’s post-operative care instructions will help ensure your recovery goes as quickly as possible.
Blepharoplasty Recovery Photos and Examples
Here are some examples of blepharoplasty procedures that we have completed. These photos illustrate what the eyelids look like in the weeks following surgery.
When to Call The Doctor
If you experience any of the following problems while recovering from blepharoplasty, you should contact your surgeon’s office immediately.
- Worsening pain: Your pain should gradually get more manageable rather than increasing over time.
- Signs of infection: If you have a fever, notice red streaks around the incision, or have excess drainage from your eyelids, your incision could be infected and you should seek medical care immediately.
- Vision changes: Your vision might be slightly blurry during the first day or two after surgery. However, if you notice more severe vision changes at any point throughout your recovery, seek medical care.
- Bleeding or loose stitches: If you’re bleeding from your incision or notice that your stitches are loose, contact your doctor right away to have them adjusted.
While these things don’t necessarily mean that something is wrong, it is important to get care as soon as possible if you are experiencing any complications. If you cannot reach your surgeon’s office, contact your primary care provider or an emergency healthcare provider for guidance. It’s always best to err on the side of caution when concerns arise.
The key to recovering quickly after any cosmetic procedure is to follow your surgeon’s instructions closely and take good care of yourself.
If you’re interested in blepharoplasty in Las Vegas or southern California, contact Dr. Robert J. Troell today to schedule your consultation. As a leading provider of cosmetic surgery, we help our clients achieve the look they’ve dreamed of while also providing the highest quality care possible.