An eyelid lift, also known as an upper or lower blepharoplasty, surgically removes excess skin and fat to rejuvenate the appearance of the eyes. In the upper eyelid a blepharoplasty is designed primarily to improve the aged, tired appearance caused by the redundant fold of skin that descends over the eyelids. If severe enough, the redundant skin can produce obstruction of one’s vision. In this case, the procedure may be covered by insurance. Ptosis, which refers to the droopy position of the upper eyelid in the outer corner, is a distinct problem from excess upper eyelid skin. If the ptosis is severe enough to obstruct one’s vision, correction may be covered by insurance. PeaceHealth Medical Group plastic surgeons Dr. Gabriel and Dr. Champaneria perform upper and lower eyelid lifts for patients in the Portland metro area to help them refresh their eyes and face.
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The procedure may either be performed on the upper eyelid only or the lower lid, or both. There will be a difference in approaches when it comes to the upper and lower eyelids but the method is similar; removing any loose skin or tissue, and extracting or repositioning the fat deposit. There will also be separate incisions spots. It is important to understand that this will not help with other cosmetic issues such as crow’s feet, wrinkles or dark circles. The results of an eyelid surgery are fairly isolated within the upper and lower lid section only. There are other procedures that can be combined, for example the use of BOTOX®, to create a maximized outcome.
Upper Eyelid Surgery
The most common problem with the upper eyelid is excess skin that droops and hangs over the eyes. Not only does this look unappealing, but it can also obstruct vision for a patient. The doctor will create an incision along the natural fold of the eyelid and extract any excess fat and tissue to remove any bulges. Once done, excess skin will also be trimmed and the cut will be closed with fine sutures. There are cases when fat tissues are only repositioned instead of excised.
Lower Eyelid Surgery
There are two options for incisions when it comes to lower eyelid surgery. This treatment will improve any appearance of bulging and sagging below the eye. Incisions may be made just slightly below the lash line and excess fat, tissue or skin will be excised. If the skin has retained good elasticity, a transconjunctival incision may be a better option as the cut is made inside the lower eyelid, which effectively makes any resulting scar concealed. A lower lid lift does not necessarily improve the dark circles that may occur under the eyes. The surgeon may recommend combining a lower blepharoplasty with another procedure such as a chemical peel or an injectable filler.
Eyelid surgery is performed with general anesthesia. If the procedure involves both upper and lower eyelids, the plastic surgeon will typically manage the upper eyelid first. On average, it takes 1-2 hours to complete the operation. The patient will be sent home for recovery. For the first few days, there will be swelling and discoloration around the area. It is advised that the head is elevated for the first few days. Pain medications and antibiotics will be prescribed to manage the initial discomfort. Strenuous activities must also be restricted.
Plan Your Procedure
- Recovery Time
- 2-3 Weeks
- Average Procedure Time
- 2 Hours
- Post-op Follow-up
- Procedure Recovery Location
Eyelid Surgery FAQs
Eyelid surgery, whether upper or lower, generally does not cause visible scarring. This is because the surgeon takes great care to ensure that the incisions are made within the natural lines and folds of the eyes. Once the surgical healing has passed, the incisions will not be noticeable even to the naked eye.
Wrinkles and Crow's Feet?
Crow’s feet and forehead wrinkles are better treated with procedures such as a facelift, browlift or a cheek lift as the results of the eyelid surgery are confined to the eyelids only. Eyelid surgery can also be combined with a nonsurgical procedure such as BOTOX, which combats wrinkles on the forehead and around the eyes. An injectable filler can also be effective because it adds volume to hollow areas for a softer, smoother appearance.
Complications and irritations after surgery are rare. Patients must strictly adhere to care instructions prescribed by the surgeon to minimize any risks of infection as the eyes can be sensitive after surgery. Patients must always take precaution of protecting the eyes from the sun and wind during the first few weeks of recovery.
Blepharoplasty not only corrects a cosmetic issue, but a functional one as well. Many patients with excess hanging skin on their upper eyelid are able to regain normal vision after surgery. For many, simply applying makeup without maneuvering around the excess skin is refreshing in and of itself.