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Facial Cosmetic Surgery

Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty)

Eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) is a facial cosmetic surgery procedure designed to remove fat and excess skin from the upper and lower eyelids. This procedure can be performed on its own or in conjunction with other facial surgeries, such as a facelift or a brow lift. This can lead to improved vision, especially if the excess skin is blocking peripheral visual fields.

Eyelid Surgery Consultation

Every surgical procedure should begin with a consultation that discusses the goals of the surgery, medical conditions, potential risks and other factors to ensure the surgeon and patient have a mutual understanding.

During a consultation for eyelid surgery, patients should be prepared to discuss:

  • The patient’s goals for the surgery (e.g., to remove bags under the eyes, tighten the upper eyelids or part of a multi-procedure effort).
  • Medical conditions, including drug allergies, any previous relevant treatments and any problems with the patient’s eyes.
  • General health, particularly any pre-existing conditions or risk factors for the procedure.

It is important for an honest discussion of expectations to occur during a consultation. A patient’s age, health, skin texture, bone structure and other factors can affect the results of eyelid surgery.

In addition to discussing health concerns, patients should expect a thorough physical examination. The surgeon also may ask the patient to have a pre-surgical vision examination. During the consultation, the surgeon will take photos and discuss specific eyelid surgery options. The photos and discussion will help with planning the surgery and estimating immediate and long-term effects.

A consultation also is the ideal time to ask essential questions about the procedure, such as:

  • What is expected of the patient to achieve the best results?
  • What type(s) of anesthesia will be used?
  • How long will recovery be?
  • What are the risks and complications of eyelid surgery?

Eyelid Surgery Procedure

When patients undergo surgery on upper and lower eyelids, the surgeon typically works on upper eyelids first:

  • He or she places an incision in the natural skin crease on the upper eyelid and removes excess skin, muscle and fat before closing the incision.
  • On the lower lid, the surgeon will make an incision just below the lashes (a transcutaneous approach) or inside the eyelid (a transconjunctival approach). After the incision is made, the surgeon will remove or redistribute excess fat, muscle and skin, then close the incision.

Eyelid Surgery Recovery

Eyelid surgery is typically an outpatient procedure. After the surgery is completed and patients are monitored for any complications, they can leave and recuperate at home. During recovery, cold compresses and lubricating ointment may be applied per the surgeon’s instructions.

After surgery, patients may temporarily experience blurred vision from lubricating ointment, watering eyes, sensitivity to light, puffy or numb eyelids, pain, discomfort or swelling and bruising (similar to having a black eye).

To ensure proper recovery, it is essential for patients to follow the specific instructions provided by their surgeon that will detail how to care for the eyes, medications to take and specific concerns – including when to follow up with the surgeon.

Patients can expect the swelling and bruising to decrease in about 10-14 days, but full healing often takes a few months.

Find an OMS near You

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are experts in face, mouth and jaw surgery, and that includes facial cosmetic procedures, such as eyelid surgery. Patients considering eyelid surgery should find an OMS trained in cosmetic facial procedures and techniques for a consultation.

While surgery may refine, rejuvenate or enhance existing features, the decision to have eyelid surgery or other facial cosmetic procedures should not be made lightly. Please talk with your OMS to understand expectations.

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Last updated March 2020

The information provided here is not intended as a substitute for professional medical or dental advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is provided to help you communicate effectively when you seek the advice of your oral and maxillofacial surgeon.