Do your heavy eyelids and bags under eyes make you look tired or older? Do you wish the appearance of your eyes reflected your youthful energy? If you suffer from heavy upper eyelids or extra skin of the upper or lower eyelids then blepharoplasty (eyelid lift) may be the ideal procedure to restore a youthful, refreshed appearance.
Your Restore SD Plastic surgeon will do a thorough eye evaluation and may recommend a visit to an ophthalmologist prior to surgery.
The Best Candidates
- Heavy upper eyelids or excess skin of your eyelids Suffer from eye fatigue at night
- Puffy bags or excess skin of your lower eyelids
- Have up to date lens prescriptions and do not suffer from dry eyes
- Do not have a history of serious eye trauma, Grave’s disease, or uncontrolled glaucoma
- Healthy, non-smoker, and not taking any blood thinner medication
The gold standard for eyelid rejuvenation is surgical removal of excess skin and tissue. Upper eyelid surgery entails removal of the upper eyelid skin, a small amount of muscle, and occasionally some fat. Other treatment modalities to rejuvenate the upper eyelids and surrounding areas include laser therapy, injectable fillers, fat grafting, and neuromodulators such as BOTOX® Cosmetic and Dysport®. Although these complementary procedures provide a measure of eyelid rejuvenation they are often not as effective as blepharoplasty.
Lower eyelid surgery is less commonly performed due to these alternative treatment options which can be effective and less invasive. Lower blepharoplasty can be performed through an incision in the lower eyelid skin or via an incision on the inner aspect of the eyelid depending on your surgical goals.
The expert surgeons at Restore SD will perform a thorough evaluation and partner with you to develop an eyelid rejuvenation plan that will effectively and safely optimize your results.
Upper blepharoplasty can be performed in the office setting with local anesthesia, at an ambulatory surgery center setting under sedation, or with general anesthesia. The type of anesthesia is dependent on your comfort level and safety standards that account for any medical conditions you may have. The surgery generally takes about an hour. Once the anesthesia is in place the surgeon will make incisions in the upper eyelid and carefully remove the skin and a small strip of muscle. Rarely, some fat is also removed through this incision. Your surgeon will then close the incision with a very fine suture and apply eye ointment. You will have ice packs applied immediately after surgery and be positioned with your head elevated.
Lower blepharoplasty is typically performed in conjunction with upper eyelid surgery and accomplished in the ambulatory surgery center under general anesthesia. This surgery takes 1-2 hours. Your Restore SD plastic surgeon will make a lower eyelid incision either in the skin (if excess skin is to be removed) or through the inner eyelid (if fat only is being removed). The excess tissue is carefully removed and the remaining skin and fat is re-draped to smooth the lower lid contour and blend the lid-cheek junction. The lower lid is usually supported with an internal suture and the incision is carefully closed with very fine suture. Ice packs and ointment are applied to assist in your comfort during recovery.
Certain laser treatments can be effective in tightening and smoothing the lower eyelid skin. Not everyone is a candidate for this form of therapy and your Restore SD surgeon will discuss the best options with you to help you achieve your goals.
Once you have recovered from the anesthesia you can return home, as blepharoplasty is an outpatient surgery. You should arrange to have a responsible adult drive you home and stay with you for the next one to two days. Some surgical pain is expected and treated with pain medications. In the immediate post-operative period, your eyelids are swollen and vision is blurry due to the ointment, usually returning to normal over the next day. Most patients can return to work after 1 to 2 weeks. It is generally safe to start applying makeup after 2 weeks. Normal activities such as showering, eating and light activity such as walking can be resumed within 24 hours after surgery. Some post-operative swelling is normal and resolves in the first 4 weeks in the typical patient. You should refrain from intense physical activity for 4 weeks. During the recovery period, you will have follow up with your Restore SD surgeon and will be guided back to your usual activities. Most complications occur from getting too active too early, so select a surgical date that allows an appropriate amount of time to heal and gradually return to your more vigorous activities.
The Combined Procedures
Blepharoplasty is often performed in conjunction with other facial rejuvenation procedures, most commonly brow lift and face lift. It can be combined with laser resurfacing, BOTOX® Cosmetic, filler injection or fat grafting. Blepharoplasty can also be combined with breast augmentation, tummy tuck, liposuction, or enhancement surgery of other areas. Your Restore SD surgeon will discuss which procedures can be safely performed at the same time.
- What happens at my eyelid lift consultation?
When you arrive at Restore SD Plastic Surgery to discuss a possible eyelid lift, your Restore SD surgeon will perform a thorough medical exam and detailed facial analysis as well as review your medical history and any medications you are taking. At your consultation, you will have photos taken with our Vectra 3-D imaging system and discuss treatment areas and options while viewing your photos series. This ensures you can address all areas of concern with your surgeon. With our state of the art Canfield software, potential surgical results can be viewed and adjustments can be made, helping you to visualize possible outcomes.
- How long do the results of eyelid lift surgery last?
The results of both upper and lower blepharoplasty surgeries are quite durable. The swelling and scars generally heal very well and patients are happy for many years with their more youthful and energetic appearance. There are many factors that determine the length of time that a surgical procedure lasts and your Restore SD surgeon will discuss a comprehensive aftercare program that includes sun protection and skin care.
- Why is eyelid lift for me?
Much like the double-chin, heavy and redundant upper and lower eyelid skin patterns can be passed along in families. In others, natural aging or weight loss can be the factors that stimulate interest in eyelid surgery. Over the years our patients consistently say that the fresh and well-rested look they see after eyelid surgery is one of the best treats they have given themselves.
- How do I choose a surgeon?
It is important to ask if your surgeon is Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. As Board Certified plastic surgeons at Restore SD, we have years of training and expertise in facial rejuvenation surgery that cannot be imitated by short courses and alternative certifications. Ensure that your surgeon is proficient in facial rejuvenation surgery and eyelid surgery in particular. The American Board of Plastic Surgery is one of 23 members of the American Board of Medical Specialties. These specialties represent the traditional core of fully trained specialists. Alternative boards have cropped up over the last several years to lend legitimacy to incompletely trained or poorly trained practitioners. Accept nothing less than a surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery who preferably is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS).
- Why should I choose Restore SD for my eyelid lift surgery?
The surgeons at Restore SD Plastic Surgery have over a decade of experience in cosmetic and reconstructive facial surgery. We take the time to listen to your goals and partner with you to achieve the best possible results. We use our VECTRA 3D camera system to take a detailed three-dimensional photo of your face. We then perform a complete facial analysis and demonstrate the potential outcomes of various procedures using the Canfield imaging software. Viewing potential outcomes with you allows us to use our years of experience to deliver a safe, quality, and age appropriate facial rejuvenation surgery that will leave you looking and feeling younger and more self-confident.
- I have dry eyes – can I have eyelid lift surgery?
Dry eyes are a common condition and frequently treated with lubricating eye drops. Upper and lower eyelid lift surgery can worsen dry eye symptoms during the recovery period and in some cases, after healing is complete. It is important to discuss any dry eye symptoms with your Restore SD surgeon during your detailed consultation.
- I wear contact lenses – how will eyelid lift surgery affect me?
During the healing process, you will need to wear your glasses. Contact lens wear can typically be resumed 10-14 days after eyelid surgery after the majority of the swelling has resolved. You will want to be cautious with contact lens wear early on and will want to keep a pair of glasses close by in case your eye become dry or irritated.
- How much time off work should I take after eyelid lift surgery?
Depending on your profession, you should expect to take 1-2 weeks off from work. You will not be able to drive until your vision is clear and you are no longer taking narcotic pain medications. You will need a ride home after having general anesthesia and have a friend or family member stay with you for the first night and a day or two if possible.
- How do I minimize post-operative scarring after eyelid lift surgery?
Unfortunately, scarless surgery does not yet exist. Your Restore SD surgeons will educate you about scar management postoperatively. A surgical scar will take 9-12 months to fully mature. Your scar will go through changes during the healing process and your Restore SD team will help you manage this part of your recovery. This can consist of sun avoidance, scar massage, scar cream, and fractionated laser treatments.
- What should I do to prepare for eyelid lift surgery?
If you have close friends or relatives who have had eyelid lift surgery – start there! A personal story of their journey may guide you to questions to ask your surgeon, and having someone with a shared experience is invaluable. Educate yourself by reading our procedure page and viewing our educational videos. Other sources of information include RealSelf and WebMD. It is a good idea to invest in a glamorous pair of sunglasses to shield your eyes from damaging solar rays during the first few weeks of recovery.
- I am a smoker – can I have eyelid lift surgery?
At Restore SD Plastic surgery, we pride ourselves in delivering safe, consistent, and reproducible results. Smoking tobacco or using any nicotine products has adverse effects on wound healing. Your risk of tissue loss, infection, and prolonged incision healing are much higher if you use nicotine. We recommend a nicotine free period of 8 weeks prior to surgery and at a minimum of 4 weeks post operatively. We have a simple urinary nicotine test that we complete in the office to help you on your journey to a safe and gratifying surgical experience with us.
- I have Diabetes – what do I need to know about eyelid lift surgery?
If you have diabetes it is important to work with your medical team to maintain an ideal HgbA1C. Diabetes can increase your risk for prolonged wound healing and certain types of infections. Surgery can be safely performed but requires a coordinated effort from patients, surgeons, and medical doctors to attain outstanding results. There are some instances where your Restore SD surgeon may want to postpone surgery until your diabetes is under better control.
- How soon can I travel after having eyelid lift surgery?
Having surgery means a commitment to an appropriate recovery. We recommend scheduling your surgery at a time that allows enough time to recover and gradually return to your normal activities. Flying, driving long distances, or leaving the immediate area are not recommended until you have been cleared by your surgeon. If you have specific travel needs or require advice for emergency travel soon after a procedure, please let us know and we will be glad to discuss the details with you.