Eyelid lift (blepharoplasty) is a surgical procedure that corrects the signs of aging in the upper and lower eyelids. The eyelids in youth typically have a flat, tight, and rested appearance, and an eyelid lift helps improve eyelids that have changed with aging. In addition, some patients have eyelid conditions that are inherited, and these can also be helped with an eyelid lift. Eyelid surgery removes and tightens tissue to make the eyelids appear more youthful. A number of techniques have been described to improve the aging eyelid, including conventional surgical techniques, laser surgery, and chemical peels. Dr. Stephen Herring, our board-certified plastic surgeon, may use a combination of these techniques for optimal blepharoplasty results.
- Types of Eyelid Surgery
- Blepharoplasty Procedure
- Eyelid Surgery Recovery
- Blepharoplasty Scars
- How Long Blepharoplasty Lasts
- Blepharoplasty Cost
- Additional Eyelid Surgery FAQs
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What Are the Different Types of Eyelid Surgery?
Several surgical techniques are available to address different areas of the eyelids, particularly for patients with concerns primarily in one location or another. Dr. Herring will discuss all of your options and review his recommendations with you at your initial consultation.
Upper Eyelid Surgery
The upper eyelid lift repairs three basic tissues. The first and most obvious one is excess skin. Excess skin is removed, leaving approximately the amount found in youth for a natural-looking result. The second is excess muscle, which is thinned. The third is excess fat, which is removed to achieve the optimal final appearance. There are other procedures that are sometimes performed with the upper eyelid lift, such as the lower eyelid lift.
The lower eyelid lift has changed over the past 30-plus years. In many patients, the procedure is done from inside the eyelid so there is no external scar. The changes in the lower eyelid are the same as in the upper eyelid, and include removing excess skin, excess fat, and excess muscle. The same changes in anatomical structures cause the aged appearance of the lower eyelid. The excess skin in most patients can be improved with laser skin resurfacing, which doesn’t cause an external scar.
How Is the Blepharoplasty Procedure Performed?
The eyelid lift can be performed with local anesthesia only, sedation with local anesthesia, or general anesthesia. The procedure can be easily performed with sedation and local anesthesia, which is a common choice by surgeons and patients. If you are having upper blepharoplasty, an incision is made along the natural crease of the upper eyelid, which minimizes visibility of the scar once healed. For the lower eyelids, a transconjunctival incision may be used, which is placed along the inside of the lower lid where it is inconspicuous to the point of being virtually invisible once recovery is complete.
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What Is Recovery from Eyelid Surgery Like?
The recovery from the eyelid lift is very fast in most patients. Oral pain medicine is usually taken for several days and the discomfort is easily controlled with that regimen. There is usually only one suture in the upper eyelid, which is removed in about five days. In most patients there are not any sutures in the lower eyelids. Swelling and bruising usually resolves in about one week in most patients. The recovery period for blepharoplasty is about five to seven days. It is possible to perform daily living activities the day after an eyelid lift.
Where Are the Scars for Blepharoplasty Located?
On the upper eyelids the scars are usually in the eyelid crease. The scars for upper eyelid lift are usually very difficult to see without very close inspection. The incisions for the lower eyelid lift are sometimes placed just under the lower eyelid lashes, but the preferred location is just inside the eyelid to best conceal the scar. Many surgeons now prefer the inside incision for the lower blepharoplasty because of scar concealment and also the access to the lower eyelid structures is better.
How Long Does Blepharoplasty Last?
The eyelid lift, like all surgical procedures, does not stop the aging process. Experience has shown that some patients will get a revision eyelid lift sometime later. In most patients, eyelid surgery gives good improvement for many years. It is important to avoid excessive sunlight and tobacco products to prevent the rapid recurrence of the problems associated with aging skin.
How Much Does Blepharoplasty Cost?
The price of eyelid surgery will depend on whether you are having upper eyelid surgery, lower eyelid surgery, or both. Additionally, the technique used and whether you combine other treatments will affect the total cost. At our practice, upper eyelid surgery starts at $4,200 and lower eyelid surgery starts at $4,200. Your care, comfort, and education are our highest priorities, and we will review the full cost of your program with you at your initial consultation. The eyelid lift is usually performed in the office setting, which is convenient and cost-effective.
Additional Eyelid Surgery Frequently Asked Questions
To help you better understand all aspects of eyelid surgery and what this procedure can do, Dr. Herring has provided answers to some frequently asked questions about blepharoplasty. For more specific information, please contact our practice to schedule a consultation.
What causes the eyelids to age?
The eyelids change with age for multiple reasons. The forehead (brow) droops or falls towards the eyes, which causes eyebrow droop. This in turn causes tissue to be pushed into the eye socket (orbit). This can be easily demonstrated by pushing the eyebrow down with the fingers. Weight gain also changes the eyes as more fat is deposited around the eyes, making them look full. The skin around the eyes loses elasticity, which results in skin drooping and wrinkling. The muscles around the eye can become “enlarged” (hypertrophied), meaning they are too thick. The connective tissue around the eye, which helps hold structures in place is very complex. When this tissue becomes loose, the structures of the eye change, resulting in an aged appearance. The combination of all these changes can be helped with the eyelid lift.
Will insurance help pay for blepharoplasty?
Sometimes if there is excessive skin in the upper eyelid that blocks the vision, confirmed by a visual field test, then insurance companies will sometimes help pay for blepharoplasty. There are some other eyelid reconstructive procedures that are sometimes covered by insurance. Because insurance policies differ, it is important to know exactly what your policy specifically covers.
Will the eyelid lift (blepharoplasty) lift my eyebrows?
No. An eyelid lift does not lift the eyebrows. A different procedure is used for drooping eyebrows, called the brow lift. There are many techniques used for the browlift, and this procedure is sometimes combined with an eyelid lift. Many patients that get an eyelid lift do not need a brow lift because the eyebrows are in good position while the eyelids have the appearance of aging.
Can another procedure be done at the same time as an eyelid lift?
Yes. Patients commonly get other procedures done at the same time as blepharoplasty, such as facelift, laser skin resurfacing, and brow lift.
Will I be asleep during blepharoplasty?
An eyelid lift can be done with combination anesthesia, which is intravenous sedation plus local anesthesia, or local anesthesia alone. When intravenous anesthesia is given for blepharoplasty, it is usually given by a formally trained anesthesia professional.
Will eyelid surgery improve my vision?
When the upper eyelids start drooping, it can interfere with a patient’s vision. Blepharoplasty is able to reshape the upper eyelids by removing or repositioning excess tissue and fat. By doing this, a patient’s vision can be significantly improved.
What’s the difference between blepharoplasty and ptosis repair?
Patients who have trouble fully opening their eyes due to weakened or stretched upper eyelid muscles are typically better suited for ptosis repair rather than blepharoplasty. Blepharoplasty is designed to address cosmetic concerns by improving drooping, excess skin and fat in the upper or lower eyelids. On the other hand, ptosis repair is performed to treat medical issues by tightening the upper eyelid muscles. Blepharoplasty is more concerned with reducing signs of aging, while ptosis repair helps patients regain function of their upper eyelids.
How can I reduce swelling after eyelid surgery?
A few ways you can reduce swelling after eyelid surgery is by doing the following:
- Apply cold compresses on the treatment areas regularly
- Avoid touching and rubbing your eyes
- Keep your head elevated as much as possible during the day and while sleeping
- Limit your salt intake and avoid highly processed foods
- Carefully follow any post-surgical instructions given by Dr. Herring
When can I wear contacts again after eyelid surgery?
Patients who wear contact lenses will be instructed to wear eyeglasses for the first couple of weeks following eyelid surgery. This helps limit touching of the eyelid area and avoid additional discomfort, pain, and risk of infection while the eyelids are still healing.
When can I wear eye makeup after blepharoplasty?
Similar to not wearing contact lenses, patients who undergo eyelid surgery will also be advised to not use eye makeup for about two to three weeks. Makeup can irritate the eyes and increase the risk of infection, interfering with the healing process. It is best to avoid applying makeup until instructed that it is okay to do so.
Talk to our medical team today to learn more about how eyelid surgery can rejuvenate your features with natural-looking results.