Blepharoplasty, also known as eyelid surgery, is a plastic surgery procedure that removes excess skin and fat from the eyelids. This procedure can be performed on the upper eyelid, lower eyelid, or both.
Blepharoplasty is not considered a medically indicated eye surgery, but is rather a cosmetic procedure designed to help you achieve your desired appearance. There are some instances where blepharoplasty is used to correct functional or structural problems with the eyelid.
Here’s everything you need to know about this surgical procedure, including what to expect, different types of blepharoplasty, the costs associated, and how to choose the right plastic surgeon.
Why Should Someone Consider A Blepharoplasty Procedure?
There are a variety of reasons why someone might consider a blepharoplasty procedure. Most patients get this procedure to address signs of aging around the eye. Eyelid surgery will help address excess skin and excess fat (fat herniation), sagging or droopy eyelids, puffiness under the eyes, and wrinkles and creases around the eyelid area. Some patients also opt for blepharoplasty to change the shape of their eyelids or make their eyelids more symmetrical.
While most blepharoplasty procedures are cosmetic, there are some instances where the procedure is used to correct structural problems with the eyelid and improve vision problems. This often happens for patients with congenital eyelid defects or sagging eyelids (brow or eyelid ptosis).
Benefits of a Blepharoplasty Surgery (Eyelid Surgery)
If you’re unhappy with the appearance or structure of your eyelids, blepharoplasty may be a good option for you. Here are some of the benefits that come with this cosmetic surgery procedure. Often eyelid surgery should be coupled with either brow lifting surgery (using bellafill filler or surgical brow lifting), midface suspension or lifting procedures, facial volume replacement around the eye (orbit), and skin texture resurfacing using either a carbon dioxide laser or microneedling radiofrequency.
1. Brighter Appearance
Many eyelid surgery patients opt for this procedure to improve the appearance of their eyes and eyelids. Blepharoplasty corrects many common signs of aging around the eyes, providing a brighter, more youthful appearance.
2. Increased Confidence
If you’re unhappy with the way your eyes look and feel, it might negatively affect your self-esteem. Blepharoplasty can help you feel more confident and comfortable in your appearance.
3. Improved Vision
For some patients, excess skin and fat on the upper lids cause them to droop, which minimizes the lateral or temporal visual field. Blepharoplasty removes this excess fat, which leaves the eyelids feeling lighter and allows patients to see better.
4. Long-Lasting Results
Blepharoplasty is a permanent procedure, and the skin and fat removed during the surgery will not grow back. If you’re looking for a long-lasting solution to your eyelid-related issues, blepharoplasty is the way to go. The typical duration of surgical effect is 12-15 years.
5. Minimal Scarring
Like many facial plastic surgery procedures, blepharoplasty is done in a way that minimizes scarring and creates very natural results. The incisions are very small and are strategically placed in the folds of the eyelids to hide them. The upper eyelid incision is exactly in the normal epicanthal crease, while the lower eyelid incision is either inside the eye (transconjunctival approach) or immediately under the lower eyelid lashes (subciliary approach).
6. Short Recovery Time
The recovery time for this surgical procedure is generally very short. The procedure takes about 15-20 minutes for each eyelid under either complete local anesthesia or coupled with oral sedation. Most patients can resume their normal daily routines in just a few days. Pain is for one or two days (1-2 out of 10 in severity), 20% experience any amount of bruising, swelling that peaks at 2-3 days with 80% swelling resolved at 2 weeks, 90% at 4-6 weeks, 95% at 2 ½ months, and 100% at 3 months.
7. Improved Facial Symmetry
Some people have eyelids that are different shapes or sizes, or are positioned at different angles on the face. Blepharoplasty will help to balance out the structure of your face and make your eyes appear more symmetrical.
8. Reduced Eye Strain
Some blepharoplasty patients experience eye strain due to the excess skin and fat on their upper eyelids. By reducing the extra weight on the eyes, blepharoplasty helps to minimize strain on the eyes as well as headaches.
Types of Blepharoplasty Procedures
There are several different types of blepharoplasty procedures, each of which are designed to address different eyelid concerns. Some patients opt to have surgery on both their upper and lower eyelids at the same time. Here are the three most common types of blepharoplasty procedures.
Upper Blepharoplasty (Upper Eyelid Surgery)
As the name implies, upper blepharoplasty focuses on the upper eyelid. This procedure is best for patients who have drooping or sagging upper lids, which can affect your vision and give you a tired appearance. During the surgery, an incision is carefully made in the eyelid crease, which allows the surgeon to alter the eyelid skin with minimal scarring.
Lower Blepharoplasty (Lower Eyelid Surgery)
Lower blepharoplasty addresses concerns with the lower lid, such as dark circles and puffiness. If you struggle with severe bags under the eyes, lower eyelid blepharoplasty can help you achieve a brighter, more youthful appearance. This procedure can be done with an incision just under the eyelashes (subciliary). However, Dr. Troell usually implements the transconjunctival incision instead, which is done on the inside of the eyelid to prevent scarring.
This form of blepharoplasty is performed on patients who don’t have a natural upper eyelid crease. During the procedure, the surgeon makes an incision on the upper eyelid to create a natural-looking fold and reshape the eyelid as needed.
This procedure is most common among patients of East Asian descent and is often referred to as “Asian blepharoplasty”. However, the procedure can be performed on patients of any background who are lacking a natural eyelid crease.
Difference Between Ptosis Repair and Blepharoplasty
Many people confuse blepharoplasty and ptosis repair, as the procedures seem very similar at first glance. However, there are some key differences between the two procedures.
Ptosis repair is done purely to correct a medical condition called eyelid ptosis, which is where the eyelid droops over the eye due to weak muscles in the eyelid. This condition can impair vision and even cause pain. Ptosis repair surgery tightens these muscles, allowing the eyelid to sit in its normal position.
Blepharoplasty, on the other hand, is often done for purely cosmetic reasons. Rather than tightening the muscles in the eyelid, this procedure removes skin and fat from the eyelid to change its appearance.
Cost of Blepharoplasty Surgery
The cost of blepharoplasty surgery varies widely depending on several factors, including your location, your surgeon’s experience level and reputation, and the specific type of blepharoplasty you’ll be having. Procedures that are more complex or take longer to complete come with a higher price tag.
Generally, the cost of blepharoplasty is about $3000 , but can cost more in some scenarios. . Your location will also have a significant effect on the total price you pay for surgery. If you live in a major city with a high cost of living, the surgery is going to cost more than it would in a mid-sized city or small town with a lower cost of living.
Candidates for Blepharoplasty
Some patients will be better candidates for blepharoplasty than others. Before you decide to have surgery, you’ll need to have a consultation with a surgeon to make sure you are a good candidate for the procedure and that you are fully informed. The most important symptom when one is considering upper eyelid surgery is the existence and severity of fry eyes. Also, the surgeon should make an analysis for the presence of thyroid disease, that can change the orbital fat content.
The best candidates for blepharoplasty are in good overall health and have no underlying medical conditions that could complicate the procedure. If you are currently a smoker, you will typically need to quit smoking before having surgery. Mental health is an important consideration as well, and you’ll need to have reasonable expectations for the procedure.
Most blepharoplasty candidates struggle with dark circles, droopy eyelids, and excess skin that give the eyes an aged appearance. In order for the procedure to be successful, you’ll need to have a certain amount of elasticity around the eyelids.
Is There A Good Age For Blepharoplasty Surgery?
There isn’t a specific age that is best for blepharoplasty. Most surgeons require patients to be over the age of 18 to have surgery. Many people start to notice signs of aging around their eyes in their 30s and 40s, which is when most patients opt to have the procedure.
The Blepharoplasty Procedure
Blepharoplasty surgery is a straightforward procedure that typically takes less than one hour . This is usually performed under local anesthesia with or without oral sedation. This means that your eyelids and the surrounding area will be numbed, and the sedation will help you relax or even lightly sleep during the procedure. Rarely are blepharoplasty procedures performed under general anesthesia, depending on the patient’s wishes or when combining with additional cosmetic surgical procedures, such as a facelift.
During the procedure, the surgeon will make incisions in the creases of your eyelids, placing them carefully to avoid scarring. They will remove skin and fat as needed. They may also adjust the placement of skin and muscle to change the structure of your eyelids.
Preparing For Blepharoplasty Surgery
Before your blepharoplasty procedure, you’ll have a consultation with your surgeon. During the consultation, they will tell you what to expect from the procedure and answer all of your questions. They’ll also take a basic health history to make sure that you’re a good candidate for the surgery.
Your surgeon will also talk to you about any medications you’re taking as well as your diet and lifestyle choices. You may need to stop taking certain medications or adjust the dosage of your medications leading up to the surgery. Your surgeon will give you personalized instructions to help you prepare.
Recovery After Blepharoplasty Surgery
After your blepharoplasty procedure, you’ll need a friend or family member available to help you get home. You’ll likely notice some bruises and swelling around your eyes. Mild pain (1-2 out of ten) is normal,, but your surgeon will prescribe pain medication for you.
You’ll need to keep your head elevated and use cold packs to keep your swelling under control. Keep your incision sites clean and avoid wearing makeup or contacts until your surgeon advises you to do so. You’ll also need to avoid vigorous physical activity until your incisions have healed.
Typically, you’ll be able to return to your normal routine about one week after surgery, although you may still need to take care with some activities. It usually takes about one month for the incisions to heal completely.
Are There Non-Surgical Options?
If you want to reduce signs of aging around your eyes, but do not want to commit to blepharoplasty, there are some non-surgical options available that are less invasive. For mild wrinkles and eye bags, Botox is a popular option. It relaxes the muscles that cause fine lines around the eyes, and can help prevent aging as well.
Another popular option is skin resurfacing. There are a variety of skin resurfacing treatments available, all of which reduce signs of aging and give the skin a firm texture. Ultrasound therapy has also become a popular non-surgical alternative to correct the signs of aging.
Risks and Complications of Blepharoplasty
Like all surgical procedures, blepharoplasty does come with some risks. Some of the most common risks include scarring, dry eyes, itchiness, temporarily blurred or impaired vision, and temporary numbness. Dry eyes experienced after surgery occurs in less than 1% of patients. You also may experience lumps inside the eyes or even ectropion, which is where the lower eyelid rolls outwards.
There are also some more serious risks that are very rare. These include blood clots and infection. If you notice anything abnormal during your recovery, contact your surgeon right away to address the problem.
How Long Does Blepharoplasty Last?
On average, the results of blepharoplasty last for 12-15 years. The natural process of aging means that your eyelids may still change over time. However, for some patients, blepharoplasty lasts a lifetime.
How long your blepharoplasty lasts will depend on a variety of factors. These include lifestyle factors like smoking and sun exposure as well as your age at the time of the procedure.
Choosing A Surgeon For Blepharoplasty
It’s very important to choose a trustworthy, reputable surgeon for your blepharoplasty procedure. When choosing a surgeon, it’s important to make sure they are board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons and have completed their education and residency at an accredited institution.
It’s also important to read reviews from previous patients and look at before and after photos of their work. The initial consultation should also be a very important part of your decision. You’ll want to make sure that you feel comfortable talking with your doctor and asking them questions. You should also feel comfortable and relaxed in the surgery facility.
If you want to make your eyes look brighter and more youthful or want to correct structural issues with your eyelids, you could benefit from blepharoplasty surgery. It’s important to understand how the procedure works and what to expect before making a commitment.
If you’re interested in blepharoplasty in Las Vegas or southern California, schedule your consultation with Dr. Robert J. Troell today. Dr. Troell is one of Nevada’s leading cosmetic surgeons and has decades of experience providing exceptional patient experiences.