What is the Blepharoplasty
Blepharoplasty is a common cosmetic surgery that is not well known by this name. Commonly referred to as an “eyelid lift” or just a “lid lift”, this procedure is done by a plastic surgeon in order to alter the skin and fat composition of the eyelid in order to change the way that it looks. This surgery can be requested by people who are unhappy with the appearance of their eyelids but is typically not performed as a standalone surgery. It is often combined with a general facelift, also known as a rhytidectomy procedure. The outcomes which one may expect from an eyelid lift include:
- Removal of fat from the eyelid
- Removal of sagging skin on the eyelid
- Helping with the improvement of vision
- Removal of bags under the eyes
- Give the eyes a larger and more youthful appearance
- Alter the appearance of the eyelid, e.g. changing a monolid to double eyelid
- Increases self-confidence and helps to boost self-esteem
Before deciding whether you would like to have an eyelid lift procedure, it is important to understand the composition of the eyelid and how it is affected by age and how the procedure is carried out.
What is the eyelid made of?
The eyelid is a thin layer of skin that covers the top and bottom of the eye. The eyelid has a small thin muscle, which helps to retract the eyelid away from the eye, opening it. At the tip of the eyelid, there are a row of eyelash which serve the purpose of protecting the eye from foreign debris and dirt. The eyelid is made of different levels, with the skin and subcutaneous layers being of the greatest importance in blepharoplasty surgery.
Skin is made up of different fibres called collagen and elastin. Collagen is found everywhere in the body and is a protein that that helps to sustain the structure of the body. Elastin is what give skin and other body structures the ability to stretch and recoil. These two structures are affected by the process of ageing. Additionally, in the deepest layer of skin, there is a layer of fatty tissue that is for padding the skin and giving a fuller appearance.
As we age, these fibres become weaker and degrade and the fatty tissue under the eyelid shifts and there is poor deposition in the eyelid, causing it too droop, sag or look abnormal. Additionally, this causes an accumulation of loose skin on the upper eyelid, which forms folds and deep creases. This makes the eyes look smaller and gives the face an overall tired and aged impression.
Who is eligible to have blepharoplasty?
Typically, blepharoplasty is done in order to give the face a more youthful and younger appearance. Because of this, it is not often done before the age of 35. However, there is no age limit for blepharoplasty surgery if the client would like something changed. With any cosmetic surgery, it is important to make sure that the decision to get the surgery is done out of your own will and desire to change your appearance, rather than at the request of someone else. Having said this, there may be some patients who do NOT qualify to receive the surgery, for one or other reason. The following would make one a good candidate for blepharoplasty surgery:
- Being physically fit and healthy to undergo surgery
- Dissatisfaction with the shape or look of the eyelids
- If there is any vision impairment due to excessively sagging eyelids
Before having the surgery, it is imperative to have a conversation with your surgeon regarding all your medical conditions and relevant medical history because certain health conditions may affect the type of anesthetic or your eligibility to have the surgery.
Details of the blepharoplasty procedure
After speaking to your surgeon about the concerns you have regarding your eyelids and where you would like changes to be made, the surgeon will decide how best to achieve the result you are looking for. Once this has been decided, you will be given anesthetics for the procedure to ensure that you are comfortable and do not feel pain. There are different anesthetic options which are dependent on the extent of the surgery. Typically, standalone blepharoplasty procedures are done under local anesthetic (where the patient is awake or a little drowsy for the procedure), but if the procedure is being combined with other cosmetic procedures, the surgeon and anesthetist might decide that a general anesthetic (where the person is completely asleep and unaware) is better. Blepharoplasty is an outpatient procedure which means that it does not require an overnight stay in the hospital.
The anesthetist will put some drops in your eyes to numb them and the surrounding area. They will then clean and drape the area, and mark where they will cut away excess skin. The anesthetist will then inject around the eyelids. The incisions of the surgery will be made along the natural creases of the eyelid. The allows the surgeon access to cut away excess fat, sagging muscle and skin.
Once this is all done, the incisions are closed with absorbable sutures, which will dissolve over time and eventually fall out. After the surgery, ointment is put around the eyes and the incisions are protected with eye pads. These eye pads will be removed after approximately an hour. nose is protected with something called a nose splint. An eyelid lift will typically take between 1 and 2 and a half hours long, after which point most patients can go home on the same day.
After the blepharoplasty surgery
Most people will experience minimal pain following an eyelid lift but your surgeon will still prescribe medication for you to combat any pain that you may experience. Like most surgeries, there will be some degree of bruising and swelling, which is normal and unavoidable, but will resolve after some time. The swelling and bruising from blepharoplasty is not as severe or noticeable as other cosmetic procedures. The swelling and bruising usually goes away after 10 days to 2 weeks.
For the first few days following your eyelid lift, it is advisable to do the following:
- Use cold compresses to minimize the swelling
- Keep your head elevated when resting
- Take pain medication as prescribed by your surgeon
- Avoid exposing the incisions to pressure
- Clean the eyes gently with tissues soaked in cooled, boiled water
- Avoid eye makeup for approximately 3 weeks after surgery
Your surgeon will give you instructions regarding the continuation of daily activities, such as bathing, washing your face and other physical activities. You will return to your surgeon after a few days. Here they will assess the healing of the wound and the level of swelling and bruising.
Like all surgeries, there are risks that are involved. It is uncommon to get complications from an eyelid lift since it is a minimally invasive and low-risk surgery. Most facial cosmetic procedures are safe and carry low risk of complications. Some complications that may occur include:
- Infection after surgery
- Bruising and swelling
- Hematoma or seroma
- Unsatisfied with the outcome
- Delayed wound healing
If you are interested in feeling more comfortable with your body and having improved self-esteem, contact your plastic surgeon in order to discuss whether you are eligible for blepharoplasty surgery and which option would best suit what you are looking for.