Blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery, can take years off of your appearance and make you look more rested and alert. The surgery involves trimming away extra skin, muscle and fat from the area around the eyes, reducing drooping, sagging and bags under the eyes. A consultation with a facial plastic surgeon is the first step towards an eyelid procedure. If you decide to go through with it, the surgeon will give a number of instructions and pointers to help you get ready for the surgery and to help make your recovery period more enjoyable.
Give Up Some Habits
In the weeks before your surgery, you may have to give up some habits, to reduce the risk for complications during and after the procedure and to help improve healing. One of those habits is smoking.
Smoking isn’t a great idea when you’re concerned about aging in the first place. It’s one of the leading causes of premature wrinkles and signs of aging, for one thing. It also increases your risk for complications after eyelid surgery, for another. Nicotine in tobacco products acts as a vasoconstrictor, meaning it shrinks the size of your blood vessels, reducing blood flow and circulation. Healing incisions need an adequate amount of blood flow, to reduce the likelihood of scarring and other issues. For that reason, most surgeons advise quitting smoking and other tobacco products no later than two weeks before your surgery.
Evaluate Your Medicines
A number of seemingly innocuous medicines and supplements can be bad news if taken before eyelid surgery. Certain pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, thin the blood, which increases your risk for bleeding during the procedure. Your surgeon will most likely tell you to avoid those medications for a few weeks before your surgery. If you have a headache or other pain in the weeks leading up to the procedure, it’s usually safe to take acetaminophen.
Certain supplements can also interfere with your surgery, either by increasing bleeding risk or by interacting with the anesthetic. St. John’s Wort and vitamin E are just two examples of supplements that should be avoided before surgery. Let your surgeon know what pills you usually take and she’ll let you know which ones should be avoided until after the eyelid lift.
Make Plans for the Day of Surgery
Even if you opt for local anesthesia during your eyelid surgery, you won’t be in any condition to drive afterwards. Make plans with someone, such as your spouse, well in advance of the surgery, so that you know who is driving you home after. Along with making sure you get home safely, your companion should stay with you, preferably overnight. If you can’t find a person to drive you home and stay with you, consider having two close friends or relatives share the responsibility.
Set up your resting area before you head to the hospital. You’ll want to put any pillows, water glasses, and bottles of pills on a table near where you plan on sitting or reclining. The last thing you want to have to do when you get back from your surgery is search your home for a bottle of medication or hunt around for another pillow.
Prep Your Kitchen
There are not too many dietary restrictions after eyelid surgery, but you will want to do some prep work so that you have meals ready. If you like to cook, put together a few meals before the surgery, which you can simply reheat and eat afterwards. Cut up some vegetables and fruits, so that they are easy to get to when you want a snack. You can also stock up on healthy freezer meals if you’re not much of a cook.
You may find that you want to stick with pretty bland, soft foods in the first few hours after your surgery. Stock up on foods such as yogurt, soup, and pudding, so that you have something soothing to eat afterwards.
Stock Up on Audiobooks
You’ll want to give your eyes plenty of opportunity to rest after your surgery, so it’s a good idea to stock up on activities that don’t rely on your eyes. Head to the library a few days before your procedure and check out a few audiobooks, so that you have something to listen to while recuperating. You can also catch up on your favorite podcasts while recovering. Your surgeon will let you know when you can start reading or watching movies and TV again.
After your surgery, your eyes might itch or feel dry, which can make wearing contacts unpleasant. If you usually wear contact lenses, it’s a good idea to make sure you have a pair of glasses, with an up-to-date prescription, to wear for the few days or weeks after your eyelid surgery. While you should try to avoid the sun as much as possible after your surgery, if you do go outdoors, make sure you wear sunglasses with UV protection to shield your eyes and the area around them from the sun’s rays.
Eyelid surgery can take years off of your face, but it’s not a procedure to rush into. Learn more about how you can prepare the surgery and what you can expect by speaking with Dr. Jessica Kulak, an aging face specialist with practices in Maryland and Virginia. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Kulak in Virginia, call 703-481-0002. For a consultation in Maryland, call 301-222-2020 today.