Why & How is Blepharoplasty Done? Know the Recovery Period & Complications of Blepharoplasty

Eyes are one of the most beautiful features of a human being, which makes it essential for the person to take care of them. At times, there is a possibility that eyelids might be droopy with a bit of excessive skin. When a person starts aging, eyelids happen to get stretched and the muscle tends to weaken. It is because of this reason that fat starts accumulating around eyelids, leading to sagging eyebrows. This is a problem calling for treating the eyes and getting them back to proper shape.

What is Blepharoplasty?

One way of correcting droopy eyelids is through Blepharoplasty, which is a surgical procedure. Considered to be a minor procedure, the surgery and the recovery time post Blepharoplasty is not too long. Patients can consult their doctor and get this procedure done either for medical or cosmetic reasons. It is especially important to get professional advice if the patient opts for the surgery for cosmetic reasons. Depending on the person’s health and some other factors, the results of Blepharoplasty surgery can last for up to 10 years.

What is Blepharoplasty?

Blepharoplasty is an outpatient surgical procedure, which is directed towards repairing the droopy eyelids by eliminating excessive skin around the eyes. Blepharoplasty, basically, is a form of plastic surgery carried out to fine-tune flaws, malformations and disfiguration of the eyelids. Everyone wants excellent looking eyes, which mandates for excessive care. When the aging process approaches, Blepharoplasty helps a lot in providing best looking eyes. Indeed, this procedural treatment is quite an effective way of restoring the efficient functioning of eyelids.

Laser blepharoplasty is also an option available for patients. In this surgery the surgeon uses laser instead of scalpel for the procedure. Usually surgeons combine laser blepharoplasty with laser eyelid rejuvenation procedure. Not everyone is a good candidate for the eyelid surgery. The purpose of getting this surgery done could be medical as well as cosmetic reasons.

Why is Blepharoplasty Done?

Blepharoplasty is done to treat droopy or sagging eyelids. This condition not only makes a person look aged and tired, but can also effect vision. The procedure involves removing excess upper or lower eyelid tissue to improve vision and make the eye look attractive. Patients can undergo this procedure during getting other procedures such as brow lift or face lift. Blepharoplasty can be done to treat or get rid of the following conditions-

  • Bags under eyes
  • Droopy or baggy eyelids
  • Extra skin on lower eyelids
  • Irritation due to rubbings of excess folds on the eyelids
  • Excess skin in upper and lower eyelids that obstructs vision
  • Droopy lower eyelids that makes the white portion of iris visible
  • Discomfort on forehead due to strain and overuse of eyelid muscles

A person who has sagging eyelids due to puffy eyes caused by edema or an eye allergy can also require the surgery for medical reasons. However, some people opt for this surgery strictly for cosmetic reasons.

How is Blepharoplasty Done?

Blepharoplasty is a surgical procedure done with external surgical incisions made along the eyelids creases. The surgery usually requires around 1 to 3 hours. The surgeon makes an incision on the eyelid’s surface and removes the fat. The surgeon then uses a small medical retractor to keep away the extra tissue so that the operation can be done without any hindrance.

To retain the inner tissue on the surface of the eyelid over the eyeball, the surgeon uses a suture. Forceps are used to hold the fat and is clamped with a haemostat. The excess fat is then cut away with surgical scissors. Some surgeons use a carbon dioxide (CO2) laser to enhance the results by resurfacing the skin and smoothening out any residual wrinkles in the eyelid and eyebrow region. The result of Blepharoplasty can vary based on various factors, some of them are –

  • Condition of the skin
  • Age of the patient
  • Wear and tear on the eyelid
  • General condition of tissues surrounding the eyes

What is the Recovery Period Post Blepharoplasty?

The rate of healing and recovery period following Blepharoplasty varies depending on a patient’s condition. One thing which worries patient’s recovering from this surgery is that the face and eye are always on display and they cannot hide it. Due to this visibility, anyone who sees the patients keeps on looking for signs of recovery or change. This can make patient’s feel that the healing process is taking long. Initially there will be lots of swelling, but this change soon.

Discoloration of the eyelids initially after the Blepharoplasty surgery is common. The main reason for this is that the eyelid tissue is thin and the accumulation of even a few drops of blood makes the area look bruised. That is why prior to the surgery the doctor ask patients who are taking blood thinners to stop taking them. Numbness and itching following Blepharoplasty surgery is also common. The entire recovery process following Blepharoplasty can take 1 or two weeks and the results are visible after about 5 to six weeks.

What is the Possible Complications Post Blepharoplasty?

Like any surgery there are some risks and complications associated with Blepharoplasty surgery. It is important to talk with the doctor to find out what is involved with this surgery so that a patient can make an informed choice about the procedure. Some of the complications that can result from this eyelid surgery include –

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Dis-colored skin
  • Visible scarring
  • Follow-up surgery
  • Loss of eyesight
  • Dry, irritated eyes
  • Injured eye muscles
  • Temporary blurred vision
  • Difficulty in closing eyes

Dryness in eyes is a common complication as a result of eyelid surgery. If the condition is serious that it does not allow the eyes to close properly, patients are recommended by the doctor to use eye drops. The other risks associated with eyelid surgery that are common to other surgeries include blood clot, reaction to anaesthesia and cardiac complications. If there are any other adverse reactions after the Blepharoplasty surgery, patients must immediately consult the doctor.

Precautions Post Blepharoplasty

Usually patients take about two weeks to recover from Blepharoplasty. It is very important for patients to discuss not only how the surgery will be done, but the recovery time involved in this. The surgery is done at a very visible area on the face and patients want to recover soon from the entire procedure. The incisions on the eyelid must be treated with lubricants prescribed by the doctor to keep the area sufficiently lubricated. Use cold compressions to reduce the swelling and eye drops for extremely dry eyes.

In the first week after Blepharoplasty surgery it is advised that patients avoid activities that put strain on the eyes. These activities include wearing contact lens, watching television, reading and using a computer or other gadgets that strain the eyes. Stitches are usually removed after two to seven days depending on the patient’s overall recovery rate following Blepharoplasty. It is recommended that patients use dark sunglasses for a few weeks after the surgery to avoid irritation from the sun. Frequent naps are recommended for the first few weeks so that that the eye gets ample time to recover. It is recommended that any type of strain on the eyes must be avoided post-surgery to get the best results.

Blepharoplasty is a minor surgery; however, since eyes are the most delicate organ extra care must be taken to avoid further complications. The patients must discuss the precautions to be taken in details with the surgeon and also inform if they are taking any medications and the chances of possible drug interaction complications.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 23, 2019

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