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Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Surgery): An overview

  • Posted on- Mar 02, 2016
  • 590 Views

For years, those suffering from the drooping, sagging eyelids and under eye bags that come with age had no recourse or remedy. Thanks to blepharoplasty, that has changed. Blepharoplasty, also known as eyelid surgery, can be performed on the upper or lower eyelids to remove excess fat and tighten the muscles around the eye.

In addition to making you look tired and old, excessively puffy eyelids also impair your vision, which is one reason why more men and women currently undergo the outpatient procedure each year. Although blepharoplasty is commonly performed as a single procedure, many cosmetic surgeons also recommend it as an additional measure for patients planning to undergo brow lifts, facelifts, or skin resurfacing.

What is blepharoplasty?

Commonly referred to as eyelid surgery, blepharoplasty is a medical procedure used to repair droopy eyelids by removing the excess skin, fat, and muscle that can build up with age. Patients undergoing blepharoplasty are typically awake during the procedure, although many are given medicine to relieve anxiety and numbing injections to reduce pain around the eyes. It is extremely rare that a patient undergoing blepharoplasty requires an overnight stay in the hospital, as most doctors prefer to perform the procedure in their own offices or in an outpatient surgery centre.

Although it is typically performed for cosmetic purposes, blepharoplasty can also be used as a medical intervention for those suffering from diseases such as myasthenia gravis, which is when excessive upper eyelid skin is causing a loss of peripheral vision.

It is important that patients understand the limitations of a blepharoplasty procedures. Although doctors can cut out loose skin and fat tissue and tighten eyelid muscles to give patients a refreshed appearance, they cannot remove wrinkles around the eyes, lift sagging eyebrows, or eliminate dark circles with a blepharoplasty procedure.

Who are suitable candidates for blepharoplasty?

As with all cosmetic surgery, it is important that patients seeking blepharoplasty be in excellent physical health and have realistic expectations as to the results of the surgery. Factors that are commonly weighed when determining a patient's candidacy for blepharoplasty include age, skin type and ethnic background, as well as the degree to which vision is obstructed for those who are looking into the procedure for medical purposes rather than cosmetic.

Patients suffering from circulatory or ophthalmological issues, heart disease, diabetes, dry eyes, thyroid problems, or other health issues should tell their doctors beforehand, as these issues could be exacerbated by the blepharoplasty procedure.

In addition, patients must be willing to make the commitment to follow all post-operative surgical instructions, which may include daily cleaning of the eye area for the three to five days until permanent stitches are removed. Physical activities and certain dry environments should be avoided in the weeks following surgery, as well. Any patients who cannot meet the above requirements are generally not considered good candidates for blepharoplasty.

What are the benefits of blepharoplasty?

Undergoing blepharoplasty benefits patients by removing excess skin and fat under the eyes to reveal a more youthful, taut appearance. Because the procedure itself is relatively short-usually lasting between one and three hours-and minimally invasive-patients are put under a local anaesthetic and never go completely under-blepharoplasty is commonly seen as relatively quick and easy fix to a problem that affects millions of adults.

Aside from the obvious benefits of improving the overall appearance of the eyes, those who have undergone blepharoplasty say the procedure has changed the way they feel about themselves and improved self esteem and confidence issues.

For those undergoing the surgery because of medical concerns, blepharoplasty can greatly improve a patient's vision and restore the peripheral vision that was obscured by sagging eyelids.

What risks are involved?

Risks of a blepharoplasty may include temporary numbness of the eyelid skin, blurred vision, irritated eyes, difficulty closing eyes while sleeping, swelling, scarring, tiny whiteheads after stitches are removed, and infection from the local anaesthesia used in the procedure. Although rare, blepharoplasty patients should also be aware that there is a very small risk of blindness due to bleeding behind the eye. For many patients, scars may remain pink for six or more months after surgery, although these scars eventually fade with time into a nearly invisible white line.

Despite the bevy of risks, blepharoplasty is known as a relatively safe and effective procedure when performed by a licensed cosmetic surgeon. All patients should consult with their doctor about potential risks and side effects before undergoing the surgery, and may need to weigh the risks and benefits when deciding whether blepharoplasty is the right option.