Blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery, can help to correct sagging eyelids or the baggy area underneath your eyes. This does not mean the surgery should be undertaken lightly, however. You must understand the blepharoplasty recovery process to determine if the procedure is right for you. Here’s what you need to know about recovering from blepharoplasty.
As you age, the elasticity and muscles in your skin start to become more lax, which can contribute to wrinkling and sagging. Your eyelids and the thin, delicate skin under your eyes are no exception. If you find the skin around your eyes is aging you or even impeding your vision, blepharoplasty may be an option for you. This surgery type can be performed on your upper or lower eyelids and can make you appear more refreshed and younger.
To perform the surgery, your surgeon must make incisions to remove excess fat and tighten the skin around your eyes to make them appear less baggy or saggy. Your surgeon uses small stitches to fit in the folds of your eyelid skin. After a recovery period, the results can be tighter, younger-looking skin.
Your physician should evaluate you thoroughly to ensure you are a good candidate for blepharoplasty. Your expectations for surgery, health history and a physical examination can all help your surgeon to determine if the surgery can improve your appearance or medical conditions. You also should discuss the recovery process with your physician to ensure you know what to expect and are prepared post-surgery. This can help you experience the best results.
Blepharoplasty Recovery: Post-Procedure
You will be taken to a recovery room post-surgery where your vital signs will be regularly monitored to ensure you are not experiencing complications from the surgery or anesthesia. Providing you do not experience complications post-operatively, you will likely be released to return home the day after your blepharoplasty.
Home Care during Blepharoplasty Recovery
While at home, your goals will be to keep your incisions clean and your eyes moist. Your physician may give you individual instructions for your care post-surgery, which should be carefully followed.
Your eyelids will likely feel puffy and swollen during your blepharoplasty recovery period. You will be given an ointment to apply to your eyes to help keep your eyes moist and prevent dryness, which can keep your skin from recovering as quickly post-surgery. The ointment may cause your vision to appear blurred or doubled, but this is to be expected. Your eyes may not necessarily be dry — you may have excessive tearing instead.
To minimize puffiness and swelling, you can apply ice packs or cold compresses to your eyes. Use caution, however, as excess application can lead to skin burning. Apply in 10- to 15-minute intervals to keep damage from occurring. Elevating your head while sleeping also can help to minimize swelling.
Blepharoplasty is not associated with intense pain. You should be able to take over-the-counter medications to relieve any pain you may be experiencing. Your physician may prescribe a pain medication if discomfort is expected post-surgery.
“Not taking aspirin or other medications that have blood-thinning side effects can reduce bleeding risk following surgery,” says A. Dean Jabs, MD, PhD., FACS, a board-certified plastic surgeon practicing in Bethesda, Md., and McLean, Va. “Always disclose all medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, you are taking.”
Your physician will likely schedule a follow-up appointment for stitches removal three to four days after surgery. You should refrain from wearing contacts for at least two weeks post-surgery.
You may find your eyes are especially sensitive to light during blepharoplasty recovery. For this reason, you should always wear sunglasses when going outdoors to protect your eyes from dust and wind. During the first few weeks following surgery, you should avoid strenuous physical activity such as aerobics, sports, or running. This can help to prevent stitches and incisions from bursting.
You also should avoid wearing makeup in the first few weeks after surgery because the makeup can be irritating and lead to increased risk for infection.
In total, it may take six months or longer for the scars from your incisions to fade completely and for you to enjoy the full results from your blepharoplasty procedure.
As with any surgery, there are some health risks. If you suspect you may be experiencing complications, it’s important to notify your physician as soon as possible. Potential post-surgical risks of blepharoplasty can include:
- Bleeding behind the eyes, which can lead to blindness
- Changes in eyelid function
- Dry, red eyes
- Numbness around the eyelid
Always discuss these risks with your surgeon and notify him or her immediately if you suspect you may be experiencing adverse effects.