Blepharoplasty – Droopy Eyelid Surgery | Eye Love Cares
Do you always look tired? Do you have sagging eyelids that make you look sad and old? Do you feel that you need a facelift? Perhaps instead you should consider a blepharoplasty.
Otherwise known as droopy eyelid surgery, blepharoplasty is a procedure that removes excess skin, muscle, and fat from around the eyes. This surgery not only improves your peripheral vision, but it also makes your eyes appear younger.
As we age, the thin skin around our eyelids starts to lose elasticity and begins to stretch. A layer of muscle is located beneath this delicate skin. The muscle weakens as we age, and the fat deposits found behind the muscle may shift into unwanted places and cause puffiness and dropping. This results in sagging around the eyelids.
If it makes you feel any better, drooping eyelids are a normal part of aging. If you suffer from droopy eyelids and bags around your eyes, you can blame it on your genetics. To a large extent, this condition is caused by heredity.
If you find yourself looking in the mirror, unhappy with the results of “a normal part of aging,” perhaps you should consider doing something about it. If you are sick and tired of always looking sick and tired, maybe it is time to visit a cosmetic surgeon to discuss your surgery options. Your surgeon may recommend that you get a blepharoplasty.
Types of Blepharoplasty
There are two types of blepharoplasty
The first is called “functional” blepharoplasty. If you qualify for this surgery, a doctor has determined that it is medically necessary to remove the excess skin that obscures your vision. Your doctor will test your visual field using a Humphrey Visual Field Analyzer. If it is determined that your vision would improve from a blepharoplasty, it may be covered by your medical insurance.
It is important to note that almost all lower eyelid blepharoplasty is done for cosmetic purposes. Even if you qualify for a functional blepharoplasty for your upper eyelid, you probably will not be able to have insurance pay for your lower lids.
The second type of blepharoplasty is for cosmetic purposes. During this procedure, excess skin is removed from either the upper or lower eyelids or both. Sometimes excess fat is removed from around the eyes, or sometimes the fat is redistributed to other areas.
What Can a Blepharoplasty Treat?
Droopy eyelids are not the only conditions that can be treated during a blepharoplasty. This surgery also addresses bags under the eyes. Those with puffy eyelids that are caused by fatty deposits could benefit from this surgery. If you have excess skin and fine wrinkles around the lower eyelid or drooping lower eyelids that reveal too much white below the iris, you could also find a benefit to having this procedure.
A blepharoplasty only treats the skin around the eye. A functional blepharoplasty will improve sight for certain people, and it can even be helpful for those with dry eyes in some cases.
A blepharoplasty will not get rid of dark circles under the eyes or deep wrinkles around the eyes. To get free of crow’s feet, you may want to ask your doctor about filler injections or forehead lifts.
Are You a Candidate for Blepharoplasty?
If you enjoy good, overall health, you may be a candidate for a blepharoplasty. You should not have any serious eye conditions. You should not be a smoker. Your facial tissue and muscle should be normal and healthy.
Doctors will also ask that you have realistic expectations in regards to the outcome of the surgery. Those who want to look decades younger may be disappointed in the result of the operation. You may want to look at before and after photos online, so you have a clear understanding of what to expect.
It is also worth noting that other skin issues may cause your droopy eyelids. Your forehead skin could be loose and cause a sag around the upper eyelid. This type of sag cannot be treated with blepharoplasty surgery.
If your eyelid droops because of the downward displacement of the brow, then your surgeon may recommend treatment around the eyebrow region of your face.
Your surgeon will be able to determine the cause of your loose skin and recommend which type of surgery will be best for you.
Related: Eyelid Treatment
Risks of Having a Blepharoplasty
There are always risks of having surgery, whether the operation is functional or cosmetic in nature. There could be a reaction to anesthesia, or you could develop blood clots.
Risks include infection at the site of the surgery and bleeding. Other risks include a difficult time closing your eyes, perhaps caused by an injury to the eye’s muscles.
You may have a lid tag or a pulling down of the lower eyelid. Usually, these are temporary.
You may experience ectropion, an outward rolling of the lower eyelid.
You could have skin discoloration in the area or noticeable scarring, but usually, the scars will be well-concealed and will fade as time passes.
You may experience dry eyes and irritation because of a temporary change in your tears’ distribution.
As a result of having the procedure, you may become more sensitive to the sun or other bright lights.
You may experience blurred vision temporarily, and, rarely, the surgery could cause loss of eyesight.
Finally, you may feel pain after the procedure. The pain may be persistent.
Before you run screaming for the hills, it is important to realize that usually a blepharoplasty is well tolerated. You should expect to swell and bruise around the site of the surgery, but this is more of a result of the operation rather than a complication or long-term effect.
We all know that in this litigious world that doctors and surgeons need to give an extensive list of risks involved in every procedure. You will sign a document that ensures you were told of such risks before you have the surgery.
According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average price of eyelid surgery is around $3,000. This is determined by the expertise of the surgeon and the location of the office. When discussing costs with your surgeon, make sure you know whether the amount quoted includes any hospital or facility costs, anesthesia fees, prescriptions, or medical testing. There may also be other costs incurred. You may not be able to work for up to two weeks after having the surgery.
Picking a Surgeon
You have read about the risks of surgery and the approximate costs. You are ready and excited to have the surgery performed on you. How do you pick out a surgeon to perform the procedure?
Make a consultation appointment with cosmetic surgeons in your area who are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. When you meet the doctor, ask how many years of experience the doctor has in the field.
Ask the surgeon what kind of treatment he or she would recommend for you, and how often he or she has performed this procedure.
The surgeon should go over the risks associated with surgery and complications that may arise. The surgeon should have before and after photos of patients they had previously treated.
The doctor should give you a realistic expectation of the outcome of the surgery.
Red flags may occur if your doctor paints too rosy of a picture regarding the procedure. If he or she promises to change the whole look of your face, you may want to visit another surgeon.
If the doctor has never performed the procedure, you may want to find another physician.
If you feel uncomfortable with the doctor in any way, do not feel that you have to hire him or her to perform the procedure. You are the patient or customer. Go with your gut on whether you trust this individual or not.
Of course, also reach out to others who have had similar procedures done. Ask for their recommendations for surgeons. Look at their before and after photos.
Related: Optometrist vs Ophthalmologist
Cosmetic Surgery vs. Plastic Surgery
Although the terms are used interchangeably in this article, there is a difference between cosmetic and plastic surgery.
Cosmetic surgeons focus on enhancing their patients’ appearance. They work to improve beauty and appeal, symmetry, and proportions. Blepharoplasty is considered cosmetic surgery. Other cosmetic surgeries include rhinoplasty, chin or cheek enhancements, facelifts, neck lifts, tummy tucks, liposuction, laser resurfacing, Botox, and filler treatments.
Plastic surgery is dedicated to reconstructing a person’s body as a result of a birth defect, burn, trauma, or disease. Often, plastic surgeons are referred to as reconstructive surgeons. Reconstructive surgeries include breast reconstruction, cleft palate repair, hand surgery, and scar revision surgery.
Plastic surgeons have an integrated residency training that combines three years of general surgery and three years of plastic surgery or a five-year residency in general surgery followed by three years of plastic surgery residency. During their plastic surgery residency, the surgeon may or may not perform all the cosmetic surgery procedures. They are highly qualified to perform surgery, but when it comes to cosmetic surgery, you may want to seek out a cosmetic surgeon.
Cosmetic surgeons obtain their training after completing their residency. This is usually done as a part of a fellowship-training program in cosmetic surgery. These surgeons then become board-certified cosmetic surgeons. This means they have specific training in the field of cosmetic surgery that is above what a plastic surgeon may have.
To make a long story short, plastic surgeons can do cosmetic procedures, but they may not have received as much training as cosmetic surgeons. Ask your surgeon about his or her training before determining if you want him or her to perform the procedure.
There are approximately 7,000 board certified plastic surgeons in the U.S. as of 2016.
Questions the Doctor May Ask of You
Perhaps you are comfortable with the surgeon and wish to have the blepharoplasty performed.
Your doctor will ask about your goals for the procedure. He or she will ask about any medical conditions you have, including any problems you have had with your eyes. You will be asked to list your allergies and current medications, vitamins, and herbal supplements. You will be asked about your use of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs.
During this appointment, the doctor may ask to take photographs of the area around your eyes.
Before your Surgery
Before your blepharoplasty surgery, you may be asked to undergo a medical evaluation or testing. Your doctor may ask you to stop taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs or any supplements that can increase the likelihood of bleeding and bruising. If you are a smoker, your doctor could ask you to quit smoking.
You may be asked not to eat any food or drink any liquid after midnight the night before your procedure.
On the day of the surgery, the doctor may ask that you have a friend or family member available to drive you home from surgery. It may also be recommended that you have someone stay with you the first night after your droopy eyelid surgery.
Blepharoplasty is usually performed as an outpatient procedure. The process is often performed in a surgical center or hospital. You will be given local anesthesia and oral sedation. If the procedure is performed in a hospital, you may receive your medicine through an IV.
The procedure may be as fast as 45 minutes or as long as two hours. Of course, the procedure will take longer if you have both the upper and lower eyelids done. The lower eyelids may or may not require stitches. This is dependent upon the procedure the surgeon uses.
During the procedure, the surgeon will place the incision along the natural crease lines of your eyelids. After the incisions have been made, the fat deposits are repositioned or removed. The excess skin will be removed. Your muscles and tissues will be tightened.
After the procedure, your incisions are closed with sutures, skin adhesives, or surgical tape. The eyelid sutures are removed within one week during a follow-up appointment.
After Your Surgery
Your surgeon will give you instructions on how to care for the area around your eyes after your blepharoplasty. You may be given an oral or topical medication to aid healing and reduce the likelihood of infection.
Your surgeon may tell you to expect swelling, bruising, irritation, dry eyes, and some irritation and pain around the surgical sites. Most of the time, the swelling will subside within two weeks.
Your surgeon may recommend that you use cold compresses to help relieve these symptoms. Ice packs may be used for ten minutes every hour the night after the surgery. On the following day, place ice packs on your eyes every five or six hours. While ice packs work well, you may also consider using bags of frozen corn or peas to place on your face. Since the surface is not sterile, do not put the bags of vegetables directly on the surface of your newly-cut skin.
It may also be recommended that you use dark-tinted sunglasses until you are healed.
Your doctor may recommend that you use a specific eyelid cleaner during the healing period.
Your doctor may also recommend a particular type of eye drops or artificial tears to help relieve your eye dryness and irritation.
Depending on the office and surgeon, you may have dressings and bandages that need care after surgery. The doctor or someone from the office will give you instructions on how to change the dressing if you need to.
Ask your doctor when you can return to regular activity. You may be able to return to work in a few days or a week, but you need to avoid strenuous exercise, such as jogging and heavy lifting for at least two weeks. You also will be unable to wear eye makeup or contacts until at least two weeks after the surgery.
Your doctor may recommend that you take acetaminophen to control the pain. Other pain relievers may increase the bleeding from the incisions.
Your surgeon may recommend that you undergo laser resurfacing after your procedure. Laser resurfacing reduces wrinkles and skin irregularities such as blemishes or scars. During this procedure, also called a laser peel, short beams of light remove the skin layer by layer. It is unclear how long you need to wait after your procedure to have laser resurfacing.
When to Seek Medical Attention
Even though complications are rare for a blepharoplasty, if you have any dangerous medical conditions, you should call 911 or visit an emergency room. Such conditions can include shortness of breath, excessive bleeding, severe new eye pain, chest pain, or an unusual heart rate.
How Long Will the Results of the Procedure Last?
We are always aging. Your skin will continue to stretch. Your muscles around your face will continue to weaken. It would be nice if a blepharoplasty lasted forever, but it is not realistic. Upper eyelid surgery can last between five and seven years. Lower eyelid surgery lasts longer and may not need to be repeated.
Other Common Types of Cosmetic Surgeries
Blepharoplasties are very common in the U.S. Cosmetic and plastic surgery, in general, is growing in popularity each year. More men and minorities are getting plastic surgery than before. Read on to discover what procedures are gaining in popularity.
Liposuction sucks the fat from specific areas of the body. There are two types of liposuction. In tumescent liposuction, a liquid, made up of saline, a drug that constricts blood vessels, and a numbing agent is injected into the fatty area. The fluid, as well as the fat, is then suctioned out of the body using small hollow metal instruments.
During the other type of liposuction, the small, hollow instruments release ultrasonic energy that melts the fat. The fat is then suctioned out of the body.
Breast Augmentations, Reductions, or Lifts
Over 350,000 women each year choose to augment their breasts. Sometimes one breast is enlarged to make breasts symmetrical in size. Women and their surgeons choose between silicone or saline breasts.
Women with extremely large or heavy breasts may undergo a breast reduction. Insurance companies sometimes cover this procedure. Large breasts on women may cause them to have back pain or poor posture. Reducing the bulk of the breast may improve the woman’s quality of life.
Women may also choose to have a breast lift. This is often done after a woman loses a substantial amount of weight. It can also be done after a pregnancy. A breast lift repositions the breast higher on the body for a perkier appearance.
Rhinoplasty is the medical term for a nose job and is one of the best medical names ever. Surgeons can change the size and shape of the nose. Rhinoplasties may be medically necessary if the shape of the nose disrupts the breathing process. In this case, insurance companies may pay for the surgery.
Some patients who visit plastic surgeons may at first be seeking a rhytidectomy, or a facelift. These patients may instead have a blepharoplasty. During a rhytidectomy, wrinkles and sagging are reduced after the surgeon gently pulls the skin tighter across the face.
Do you want to rid yourself of the furrows between your eyebrows? You may choose to have a forehead lift. During this procedure, the eyebrows are elevated to help give you a more youthful look.
Some men experience breast growth due to their genetics or steroid use. If the man’s breasts are large because of genetics, the gynecomastia, or breast reduction, will be a permanent fix. If the man continues to use steroids, the surgery may need to be repeated.
During this surgery, the breast tissue is removed. The surgeon may have to remove excess skin during the operation as well.
Cosmetic Surgery Abroad
Some who wish to have cosmetic surgery travel overseas or across the border to try to save money for their elective surgeries. While cosmetic surgeons in the U.S. have the most experience compared with doctors around the world, they are also the most expensive. Because of this, Americans are traveling to Brazil, Japan, Italy, Mexico, Russia, India, Turkey, Germany, and France for their cosmetic procedures. Some report that even after paying for the cost of travel, cosmetic surgeries are cheaper overseas. Plus, they have the benefit of enjoying a trip of a lifetime.
This trend, called medical tourism, is growing. Approximately 1.4 million Americans travel to another country each year for surgery.
The most popular cosmetic procedure that is done outside the U.S. is breast augmentation. This is followed by liposuction, blepharoplasty, rhinoplasty, tummy tucks, and breast lifts. Men also travel overseas for gynecomastia and hair transplants.
This may be of concern. While the idea of discounted cosmetic surgery may be appealing to you, the list of the top 10 surgeries not to have performed overseas may change your mind. Included on the list are rhinoplasty, liposuction, skin tucks, and breast implants. Cosmetic surgery related to dental health is on the list of operations to consider having outside the United States.
It is understandable why traveling for cosmetic surgery is appealing. Medical tourism is often marketed similarly to a spa treatment. The procedures often include fine dining and sight-seeing excursions. The experience is made to look relaxing and rejuvenating.
While some report positive experiences from receiving cosmetic surgery from other countries, others have suffered complications. Your insurance company may not cover those complications that you suffer as the result of elective surgery.
If you are interested in medical tourism, it is important to do extensive background checks on the clinic and surgeon. Check out the surgeon’s training and endorsements. Make sure you can communicate with the staff. Make sure the surgical setting is certified.
Since some doctors prohibit excessive travel after surgery, you may need to wait for the all-clear from your medical doctor before traveling home after your procedure. Flights and long car rides can increase the risk of blood clots in the legs and lungs.
Should You Have Cosmetic Surgery?
No article that you read online should tell you whether or not to have cosmetic surgery. There are some things to think about before signing the consent form.
Are you seeking cosmetic surgery to keep your boyfriend? If so, is he worth it? Will one operation be enough for him? Is his insistence that you have cosmetic surgery a sign that your relationship might not be all that you thought it was cracked up to be?
Are you seeking cosmetic surgery to fit in with your friends? Are they worth it?
Are you seeking cosmetic surgery because you have recently gone through a traumatic event? Could you be suffering from depression?
Even though cosmetic surgery is common, you need to ask yourself if it is right for you in your situation.