What is blepharoplasty?
Sometimes known as eyelid surgery, blepharoplasty is a delicate surgical procedure performed on the eyelids. Its purpose is to improve the general appearance of the upper and lower eyelids. It can, therefore, be categorised as a plastic or cosmetic surgical operation. All types of eyelid defects, disfigurations or deformities can be corrected by this procedure. For instance, droopy eyelids are repaired by removing the unwanted skin fat and muscle. Blepharoplasty normally occurs in two types: the lower eyelid surgery and the upper eyelid surgery.
Upper blepharoplasty / upper eyelid surgery
The surgery involves incisions that allow for the removal of fats and skin. Upon removal, a stitch is used to bring the skin together. This allows for the formation of an eyelid crease.
Lower eyelid surgery / lower blepharoplasty
Skin incisions are made directly beneath the lash line or through a transconjunctival approach (an incision made inside the eyelid). The approach enables access to the eyelids. The incisions made are not visible, making the procedure ideal for patients who want fat from their eyelids removed or added. Furthermore, the combination of the transconjunctival approach and the eyelid laser resurfacing is used in reducing wrinkles and eye lines.
What are some of the causes associated with blepharoplasty?
Muscles that support the eyelid are weakened as you age. Excess fat will then gather either above or below your eyelids resulting in a sagging effect of the eyebrows, droopy eyelids (upper lids) and bags (under the eyes). The excess sagging skin around your eyes will make you look old.
Why is blepharoplasty performed?
Besides having an older look associated with the sagging skin, the sagging skin can also impair your field of vision. Therefore, upper blepharoplasty is carried out to remove the redundant skin and fat, hence improving your field of vision. Your eyelids will appear alerted, and you will look younger, thanks to the procedure.
The eyelid crease will also be enhanced through double eyelid surgery (Asian eyelid surgery). The name, as the name suggests, is associated with Asians as they usually undergo this type of surgery to look more like the Western people (bigger, wider eyes).
The removal of excess fat and skin is also another reason for this surgery. Through lower blepharoplasty, contours of the eyelids are improved and fats are either removed or added. The result is a face free of wrinkles and a smooth skin texture.
Who are the potential candidates for blepharoplasty?
The procedure is usually done on outpatients. Any individual with outstanding health record is suitable for the surgery. Candidates with realistic expectations, coupled with good health, are also suitable. However, before making a decision for blepharoplasty, candidates are expected to find out what they anticipate and proceed to analyze the effects of blepharoplasty. This prepares you for any possible outcomes from the surgery.
What are some of the preparations for this type of procedure?
The patient before making a decision should have done thorough examinations and discussions related to the procedure. He should be in a position to clearly understand the benefits and potential risks associated with the operation. You should therefore never rush to make a decision. A pre-operative doctor’s instructions must be adhered to the letter and critically review the post-operative guidelines. All this is done so that you can sure you're aware and prepared before going through with the procedure.
Before the day of surgery, ensure that everything is checked. These prior preparations are important before, during, and also after the surgery.
Your medical doctor will be required to clear you for the surgery. Your doctor’s approval is of importance as he has all the relevant medication records about you, and can determine whether the procedure should be done or not. In some instances, he might clear you if sedation or general anesthesia is used for the operation.
Are there any potential risks associated with blepharoplasty?
Just like all surgeries, complications and potential risks are always present. During blepharoplasty, complications may arise, as well as potential risks. The primary risks associated with the procedure include bleeding, infections, scarring, inability to close your eyes, double vision, loss of vision, dry eyes, or abnormal eyelid position. In the event of these complications, contact your physician immediately for further assistance.
How is the surgery performed?
When both the upper and lower eyelids are to be operated together, the procedure takes approximately two hours. A local anesthesia is always administered together with an oral sedation.
When all the four eyelids are to be worked upon, the doctor will begin with the upper ones first and then proceed with the lower ones.
The summary of the blepharoplasty procedure is as follows:
- A long cut is made along the natural lines of the eyelids. The doctor then separates the skin through these cuts and removes the excess skin and fat. The cuts are then closed by very small stitches that will stay up to six days. This will however depend on the blepharoplasty technique that is used. The lower eyelids normally don’t require the stitches.
Summary of the recovery
The recovery period after the surgery is usually short. On the day after the surgery, you will likely to experience worsened bruising and swelling on the eyelids. This situation can be reduced by using cool compresses. Gently apply the cool compresses on the affected area to ease the pain. Frequent walks can also assist in speeding the healing process. The effects of the anesthesia and sedation may also be experienced if they haven’t worn off. However, overtime, the effects decline and you'll feel normal again.
The bandages placed over the incisions may be removed after several days while stitches can stay up to a week. This is done in the follow-up appointment with your doctor as he monitors your progress. In the case of self-absorbing stitches, they will need to be removed. Thus there's no need for an appointment. Never remove the bandages or the stitches by yourself. You might cause further damage to the eye in the process. After the surgery, normal activities usually resume after 7-10 days depending on the patient. After the 2-3 weeks, the bruising and swelling will have begun to disappear, and you will be on your way to full recovery and back to your normal life.
How much does a blepharoplasty operation cost?
The operation cost will depend on the complexity and the type of procedure to be done. Therefore, the price will always differ from one patient to another, and, furthermore, from one hospital to another. Choose a reasonable budget.
Health insurance normally covers the cost for the upper eyelid surgery when the patient is impaired from their visual field. However, for the cover to be granted, everything will need to be documented before the procedure after a series of visual tests have been made. This will aim to prove whether your visual field is blocked or not. The insurance company will require you to produce the submission reports from the visual tests before they can approve the procedure. All this process is because most health insurance companies don’t cover procedures that may be deemed cosmetic in nature. You therefore have to prove that your intended operation is purely for medical reasons.