If your baggy or sagging eyelids are affecting your vision or how you feel about your appearance, blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery can help.
Aging doesn’t just hit your crow’s feet or smile lines — it also can cause sagging in the area around your eyelids. Lost muscle tone and elastic fibers in your skin can make your upper eyelids start to droop or the area underneath your eyes start to become baggy or puffy. Blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery, can help to correct these concerns, revealing a fresher, more youthful-looking you. Here’s what you need to know about blepharoplasty.
Who Is a Candidate for Blepharoplasty?
From brow lifts to fillers to blepharoplasty, a variety of plastic surgery options are available to address wrinkling and sagging in the areas around your eyes. Blepharoplasty may be for you if you have some of the following characteristics:
- Baggy or puffy upper eyelids
- Drooping upper eyelids that interfere with your vision
- Lower eyelids that droop beyond the colored portion of your eyes
- Bagging under your eyes
You can ask your plastic surgeon for photographic “before” and “after” examples for how blepharoplasty can alter a person’s appearance. Blepharoplasty can be performed on the upper and/or lower eyelids, depending upon your individual cosmetic concerns.
Also, blepharoplasty can be performed along with other cosmetic adjustments, such as laser skin resurfacing, a facelift or brow lift.
Eyelid Fold Surgery
Blepharoplasty is not always for those looking to correct aging- or injury-related effects of eyelid drooping. Another option is creating an upper eyelid in Asian eyelids, which typically do not have an upper eyelid fold. Adding an eyelid crease can reduce sagging or pulling that can occur due to the absence of an eyelid fold.
How Blepharoplasty Is Performed
If you are undergoing both upper and lower eyelid surgery, your surgeon will likely correct the upper eyelids first. Upper eyelid blepharoplasty typically is performed under local anesthesia, meaning the area around your eyes will be completely numbed, and you will not feel any aspect of the surgery. Your anesthesiologist may provide an intravenous medication to relax you, however. Your surgeon will have marked natural folds and creases on your eye prior to surgery and will use these as a guide to make an incision or incisions and remove excess fat and tighten your skin. Tiny stitches are then used to close the incisions, reducing the likelihood for scarring.
Surgeons typically performed lower eyelid surgery while you are under general anesthesia. This is a more deep sleep, and you will not be conscious during surgery. The surgical approach depends upon your eyelid concerns. For example, if you have eyelid puffiness due to excess fatty tissue, your surgeon may make an incision inside your eyelid. This is known as transconjunctival blepharoplasty. This approach utilizes self-dissolving sutures and because the incisions are on the inner portion of the eyelid, scarring is not visible. However, sagging or drooping may be corrected with incisions to the outer portion of your lower eyelids.
Recovering from Blepharoplasty
Puffiness, swelling, draining and redness can occur after surgery. Your surgeon will prescribe an ointment that can keep your eyes from becoming too dry post-surgery. Keeping your head elevated, taking pain-relieving medications or applying cold compresses can help to reduce eye swelling and discomfort. If you have sutures that need to be removed, your surgeon will likely do this about three to five days post-surgery.
You should avoid strenuous activity, such as running or aerobics until your eyelids have had time to sufficiently heal. The scars from your surgery may be visible for about six months post-surgery, but should fade and heal with time. Some patients find the skin-tightening results from blepharoplasty last a lifetime while others may have their results last a few years.
Paying for Blepharoplasty
Insurance companies may cover some or all of your blepharoplasty costs if your eyelid sagging is related to a condition known as ptosis. This condition occurs when muscles in the eyelids become so lax your eyelids droop and impair your vision. Because this is a medical and safety concern, your insurance company may cover the costs for this procedure.
Total costs for blepharoplasty can vary from $2,000 to $5,000, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. Many plastic surgeons offer financing packages that involve making installment payments to help make blepharoplasty more affordable.
Blepharoplasty Surgery Risks
Any type of surgery can come with risks and blepharoplasty is no exception. Examples of complications that can occur post-eyelid surgery include:
- Double or blurry vision
- Trouble closing your eyes while sleeping
- Uneven healing
- Damage or loss of vision, which occur in extremely rare instances
One of the greatest risks after blepharoplasty is that you will not be pleased with the results. Open and honest communication with your physician until you feel you have a clear understanding of the procedure and potential results can ensure you are pleased with your results.