It’s a fact of life. As you get older, things start to droop. Some people develop jowls and sagging chins, others notice that the skin in other areas of the face starts to loosen and hang. It could be your upper eyelids that get heavy and saggy, your lower eyelids, or both.
Blepharoplasty, or an eyelid lift, can help to minimize sagging and drooping in either the upper or lower eyelids and can improve the look of the eye area in other ways. Although it’s a relatively straightforward procedure, it helps to have a full understanding of what it can and cannot do before you decide if it’s the option for you.
What it Does
The major goal of an eyelid lift is often to make the eyes look more youthful and alert. If sagging, heavy upper lids are also obstructing a person’s vision, one of the goals for the surgery can be to improve vision as well.
The surgery can remove excess skin from the eyelids, as well as extra fat and loose muscle. It not only tightens the upper lids, it can also smooth the area, reducing the appearance of certain wrinkles. When performed on the lower lids, an eyelid surgery can reduce or eliminate under eye bags or make under eye hollows less visible.
What Happens During Surgery
Depending on your own preference and the preference of the surgeon, an eyelid lift can be performed using just a local anesthetic, a local anesthetic with sedation, so that you’re somewhat out of it, or in some cases general anesthesia, so that you’re completely under. The procedure can take as little as 30 minutes or last for as long as three hours, depending on how much work the surgeon needs to perform.
When performed on the upper eyelids, the surgery typically involves making a small incision inside the eyelid crease, so that any scarring afterwards isn’t visible. The surgeon will remove the extra skin, creating a brighter, more wide-eyed look. If performed on the lower lids, the surgery often involves making an incision just inside the lower lid, then removing extra fat or skin.
Blepharoplasty doesn’t correct every concern related to the eye area. However, if you are generally in good health and have the following concerns, it might be the right choice for you: If your eyelids droop so much that it is difficult to see or there is sufficient drooping so that when you look in the mirror, you look tired or sad, even if you feel fine, you might benefit from an upper eyelid lift. If you have puffiness or bags in the under eye area, or your eyes have developed a sunken look over time, a lower eyelid lift might be right for you.
Who Isn’t a Good Candidate?
An eyelid lift won’t necessarily help crow’s feet and it isn’t a good choice if your major concern is dark circles beneath the eyes. Your overall health and habits also determine whether or not the surgery is appropriate for you. If you’re a smoker, your surgeon will recommend quitting for at least two weeks before and after surgery. If you have a bleeding disorder or are taking medications that thin the blood, your surgeon might advise against an eyelid procedure or might recommend taking additional precautions.
What Happens Afterwards
Although the actual surgery is over in just a few hours (or even less time), the recovery can take some time. It’s good idea to know what to expect during the recovery period before you decide to have an eyelid lift. For example, you’re going to need to take some time off from work, usually about a week, but in some cases as long as two weeks.
During the first few days of recovery, you’re likely to have dramatic swelling and bruising. You can reduce the swelling considerably by applying cold compresses to the eye area and by keeping upright. When you sleep, place a few pillows under your head to prop yourself up and lie on your back. You might also find that you really want to rest your eyes during the recovery process. If reading a book or watching TV causes too much eye strain, switch to relaxing activities that don’t require the use of your eyes, such as listening to an audio book or tuning into a podcast.
At the Naderi Center in Maryland and Virginia, Dr. Jessica Kulak, who specializes in surgery to minimize the signs of aging on the face, regularly performs blepharoplasty. She typically performs the surgery in a hospital setting, but might perform it in the office in some instances. To learn more about the procedure and to see if it’s what you want, schedule a consultation with Dr. Kulak today. To reach the practice in Virginia, call (703) 481-0002. For the practice in Maryland, call (301) 222-2020.