Patients considering eyelid surgery often start off noticing a tired look that doesn’t seem to go away. Even after a vacation, long weekend, or a good night’s sleep, they see a “tired” person in the mirror. Unfortunately, as people age muscles and skin around the eyes stretches, and fat can accumulate in pockets creating a tired or stressed appearance. Looking tired is frequently associated with aging, not being “sharp,” or not being “on your game.” Patients seeking eyelid surgery often feel young, vibrant, and engaged and want their eyes to match the youthfulness they feel inside. Men and women often consider eyelid surgery as a way to maintain a competitive edge either in business or social situations.
Eyelid surgery, also known as blepharoplasty, is a procedure designed to create a more youthful, refreshed appearance by removing or relocating excess fat, muscle, and skin from the upper and lower eyelids.
Our West Palm Beach plastic surgeon, Mark Pinsky, MD, utilizes a conservative approach to achieve the most subtle, natural-looking results possible. Being conservative ensures that our patients don’t have a “pop-eyed” look that can occur when surgeons are overly aggressive and remove too much of the lid.
Though eyelid surgery can often produce a rejuvenated appearance, it’s not intended to remove wrinkles, eliminate dark shadows, or lift sagging eyebrows. Many patients opt for additional treatments, such as face lift or brow/forehead lift, in conjunction with eyelid surgery for more comprehensive facial rejuvenation. Most patients seeking eyelid surgery are 35 years of age or older. However, occasionally patients need correction of a hereditary predisposition or as a result of environmental effects or injury.
Benefits of Blepharoplasty
Eyelid surgery can provide several benefits, including:
- Removes excess skin on the upper and/or lower lids
- Reduces bagginess, puffiness, and sagging skin
- Smoothes and firms the skin of the upper and/or lower eyelids
- Can improve vision for patients affected by visual obstruction caused by sagging skin over the eyes
- Typically, scarring from the procedure is very minimal and virtually invisible to others
- Long-lasting results
How Does it Work?
The three types of eyelid surgery procedures treat different areas of concern, and there is more than one approach for each:
Upper eyelid surgery: Aligning with the natural crease of your eyelid, a small incision is made and skin is separated from muscle and fatty tissues. Excess fat is removed and sagging skin and muscle trimmed, if necessary, before closing the incision with very fine sutures. Because the incision is typically placed in the natural crease of the eyelid scars are usually barely noticeable.
Lower eyelid surgery: An incision is made below the lashes on the lower eyelid, which is well hidden by the smile creases of your eye. The skin is separated from the muscle and fatty tissue and excess skin is removed. Some fat may be relocated to fill the deep channel in the tear trough and depression that exists below the lower eyelids. The incisions are generally closed with dissolvable sutures.
Transconjunctival blepharoplasty: Deep fat pockets under the eye, commonly called bags, can occur without developing excess skin. In this case, skin does not need to be removed, and the incision is made inside the lower eyelid. This technique can completely avoid visible scars.
A consultation will determine which eyelid procedures are most suited to your eyelids and your aesthetic goals.
Preparing for Surgery
During the initial consultation, Dr. Pinsky will discuss which procedures are best suited to achieve your goals. Your consultation should be a comfortable exchange where you speak freely, ask questions, and clearly describe your desired outcome. The doctor will examine you and ask questions related to goals, desired outcomes, and medical and surgical history. Prior to surgery, patients will be asked to:
- Avoid ibuprofen or aspirin for at least two weeks
- Avoid consuming alcohol for at least two weeks
- Abstain from smoking for at least six weeks
- Avoid taking vitamins and herbs for two weeks
- Limit salt intake
- Remain hydrated
- Avoid sunbathing, facials, steaming, masks, and other skin irritants for one week
Our office will provide complete instructions for follow-up care and any necessary prescriptions before surgery.
What About After My Procedure?
Some temporary bruising and swelling at the corner of the eyelids is to be expected, and medication will be provided to manage discomfort. Patients should keep their head elevated for several days following surgery while applying cold compresses or small ice packs. Stitches are removed approximately 5-7 days after surgery. Bruising may last from two weeks to a month; however, this varies from person to person. In the event small whiteheads appear, Dr. Pinsky can clear them with a very fine needle. Eyes must be cleaned regularly, and eye drops and ointment will be used to keep the eyes moist. Contact lenses can be worn one to two weeks after surgery or when comfortable, and makeup may be applied approximately one week after the procedure.
Most patients can return to work in 7-10 days, though they should plan to take it easy for the first week post-surgery. Physical exertion and heavy lifting are best avoided for several weeks after eyelid surgery. Patients awakening from blepharoplasty may experience dry, tight, or itchy eyes or excessive tearing, sensitivity to light, and even temporary changes in eyesight (blurry vision). This is normal. The level of discomfort varies by individual; however, if you experience any severe or sudden pain, notify Dr. Pinsky immediately. Optimal results are often noticeable several weeks after surgery and are typically long-lasting.