The term blepharoplasty refers to any surgical approach to improve the appearance of the eyelids or the areas immediately around the eyelids. You can have blepharoplasty performed to correct drooping or sagging in the upper or lower eyelid areas or both.
To perform the surgery, your surgeon must make incisions in your upper and/or lower lashline, remove excess fat, and tighten any necessary areas using small sutures that are typically self-dissolving.
Proper patient selection is vital to minimizing the risks associated with blepharoplasty surgery. Your physician will consider your medical history, goals for surgery, and overall quality of your skin before determining if you are a candidate for blepharoplasty. He or she also should thoroughly discuss the surgery’s risks with you to ensure you understand potential complications and how to minimize them post-surgery.
Temporary Blepharoplasty Risks
Because blepharoplasty involves trauma to the eye area, it is not uncommon to experience some often-temporary changes in vision immediately following surgery. Your physician may ask you to apply an ointment or eyedrops to your eye, which can contribute to blurriness of your vision. Double vision is another common occurrence following blepharoplasty.
Because you will likely experience some eyelid swelling and swelling around the eyelid, you also may find you have difficulty keeping your eyes closed while sleeping. This is rarely a permanent occurrence.
Another condition known as ectropion can occur, which makes your eyelids appear as if they are turned outward. If this takes place post-surgery, you may require additional corrective procedures to minimize this effect.
Blepharoplasty Infection Risk
Because blepharoplasty involves exposing the inner portions of your eyelid, it is possible the area could become infected during or after surgery. Carefully following your surgeon’s instructions and keeping the area clean and dry following surgery can help to minimize these risks. If you notice swelling that worsens instead of improves with time, fluid accumulation, numbness, warmth, or redness at the incision site, these can all indicate infection may have occurred. Speak to your physician immediately to ensure you can minimize the infection’s spread.
Risks Related to Medical Conditions
Having certain medical conditions that affect wound healing may make blepharoplasty slightly riskier for you. Your physician will discuss these conditions with you, which can include:
- Dry eyes
- Heart disease or diseases that affect your blood vessels
- High blood pressure
- Thyroid disorders, including hypothyroidism or Graves’ disease
Diabetes and high blood pressure may affect your body’s ability to heal post-surgery. A risk related to these conditions can be slow healing, which can extend your recovery time. You also may experience uneven healing or unexpected scarring.
“Eating a healthy diet is one of the key factors to skin healing time,” says A. Dean Jabs, MD, PhD, FACS, a board-certified plastic surgeon practicing in Bethesda, Md., and McLean, Va.
Dr. Jabs recommends consuming plenty of lean protein sources, which promotes skin healing post-surgery. Examples include skinless chicken, fish, and protein shakes.
Severe Blepharoplasty Risks
In extreme circumstances, blepharoplasty can result in damage to the eye or loss of vision, according to the National Institutes of Health. While these occurrences are rare, it is important to discuss them with your physician and the ways you can minimize your risk post-surgery.
Realistic Expectations for Post-Blepharoplasty
One of the biggest risks associated with plastic surgery procedures such as blepharoplasty is the risk you may not be pleased with the post-surgical results. Your physician should work with you during every step of the pre-surgical process to ensure you fully understand the risks and rewards associated with surgery. Your surgeon may use imaging tools and photographs to help you understand the changes that can be made.
In some instances, your surgeon may recommend additional procedures to ensure the best results, such as a facelift or brow lift. If you desire more dramatic results, you may need to consider these procedures to ensure you meet your overall appearance goals.