The eyes are the one feature of a face to show the first signs of aging. To correct sagging eyelids, a cosmetic procedure known as lower eye lid surgery or blepharoplasty is performed. This procedure involves the removal of excess skin, muscle or fat from droopy eyelids. Blepharoplasty is effective in improving the appearance of the skin particularly in the areas under the eye. It also reduces baggy skin, receding upper eyelids and droopy eyelashes that affect vision. Eyelid surgery is also used to correct ptosis, a type of medical condition that leads to drooping eyelids as a result of nerve damage or inadequate muscle tone. Because of the abnormally low position of the eyelids in people with ptosis, they also suffer from blocked vision.
Lower eyelid surgery (Blepharoplasty) corrects drooping eyelids but it will not correct wrinkles around the eye area or drooping eyebrows. It is usually performed along with other cosmetic procedures, particularly a facelift or a brow lift to improve facial sagging and diminish crow’s feet and droopy eyebrows.
Eyelid surgery: A Necessity?
With age, the skin gradually loses elasticity, which results to excess skin forming around the eyes. Fat also begins to accumulate beneath the skin surface, which leads to the tired, puffy appearance of the eyes. Even with a regular skincare regimen, puffiness, drooping eyelids and wrinkles will begin to appear. Skin aging can also be caused by body chemistry and genetic factors and can affect even the relatively young. Plastic surgery may be the best option to restore a refreshed and youthful appearance to the face, particularly the eye area.
Is Blepharoplasty Right For You?
The ideal candidate for the procedure is someone who is healthy, well-informed regarding the procedure and emotionally stable. The minimum age for this surgery is 35, although certain genetic factors could necessitate treatment for younger individuals. Some people may be refused treatment if they have hypertension, diabetes, glaucoma, Graves’ disease, hypothyroidism or dry eyes. The potential patient’s anatomy, including bone structure and built will also be considered prior to surgery.
Incisions are made along the crease of the eyelids and may extend to the outer lower portion and corner of the eye. The surgeon may also perform a procedure called transconjunctival blepharoplasty to remove fatty tissue beneath the skin. Fat and muscle tissue are then divided and any excess skin, muscle or fat are removed.
Eyelid surgeries are usually outpatient procedures performed using local anesthesia, so the patient is awake yet numbed and sedated. It can be performed at a surgeon’s office, outpatient care center or hospital. However, general anesthesia may also be used. When considering a surgical procedure, always discuss your concerns and options with medical professionals.
In general, lower eye lid surgery could last as long as 3 hours, depending on the procedure. Patients are usually discharged a few hours after surgery.
What Happens After the Lower Eye lid Surgery?
Patient’s eyes are typically lubricated and bandaged after the lower eye lid surgery (blepharoplasty) is performed. To ease pain and any discomfort, oral medications may also be prescribed. If there is persistent, unmanageable pain, make sure to ask your doctor for advice immediately. He may also prescribe a course of antibiotics to minimize the risk of infection.
Patients are also given instructions on what to do to care for their eyes post surgery, such as how to:
- clean the eyes properly
- use cold compresses to reduce inflammation
- use eye drops to maintain moisture
- elevate the head frequently
- reduce stress on the eyes by avoiding makeup, alcohol, television and contact lenses
Stitches are typically removed after about a week post surgery. Swelling and bruising are to be expected, although they will begin to subside after stitches have been removed. During the first few weeks, it’s important that patients use sunglasses and sun block. Patients can return to their normal activities in 10 days. They could begin engaging in more strenuous activities light to moderate exercise after 3 weeks.
Risks and Complications of Lower Eye Lid Surgery
It’s common for patients to experience tearing, itchiness, dry eyes, blurry/double vision, burning sensations and light sensitivity during the first few days. These symptoms can be relieved with the use of lubricating eye medications. Swelling can also occur in the eye area, while scarring is a possible complication.
There may also be patients who find it difficult to keep their eyes closed while sleeping. Although this complication is rare, it could be permanent if left untreated. A condition called ectropion where lower lids appear pulled down, could also occur and necessitate additional surgery. Another possible complication may also result to the eyes appearing slightly asymmetrical.
With every surgery, there will always be a possibility of infection and adverse reaction to anesthesia. These complications can be avoided, however, by ensuring that you only work with a qualified cosmetic surgeon and that you follow instructions regarding proper care and medications before and after the operation. As long as sufficient precautions are implemented by your surgical team, the possibility of complications will be significantly minimized and prevented.
Consulting a Qualified Cosmetic Surgeon
Always discuss your blepharoplasty procedures with an ophthalmologist and a board-certified cosmetic surgeon. Your eye surgeon should have an extensive experience and skill in performing blepharoplasty.
Your surgeon can also show you proof of their skills with photos of past lower eye lid surgery procedures they have performed on patients with eyelids similar to yours. You can use these photos to discuss your unique surgical plan and also obtain realistic expectations regarding your plastic surgery.
Some Questions You Might Want to Ask Your Doctor
- His training, credentials and number of treatments and eyelid surgery procedures he has performed
- The specific anesthesia that will be used for the procedure
- Where he will perform the surgery (hospital, clinic, surgical suite, other facilities)
- Extent of eyelid modification and reshaping, along with other related procedures
- Length of recovery period and any limitations to normal activities
- Possible risks, complications and possible results
Lower Eye Lid Surgery Cost
Because blepharoplasty is performed to remove fatty tissue, muscle and skin, the procedure itself can vary, so the expected average cost is not easy to determine. It’s also possible that operation on one eye may cost differently from the other. Overall, the cost of blepharoplasty can only be determined accurately after a thorough examination and a discussion of your surgical plan.
In general, lower eye lid surgery (blepharoplasty) cost covers anesthesia fees, surgeon’s fees and facility. Since it is usually performed along with procedures such as facelifts, brow lifts and/or chemical peels, fees for facility use and anesthesia could also increase. The total amount can go as low as $2,000 to as much as $5,000 or higher. The average cost is roughly $4,000 total with all fees included.