Our eyes are our most important attribute. After all, we rely on them to obtain information from the world around us. From the Internet to video telecommunication, the technological world strives to accommodate a visually oriented society.
We also communicate with our eyes. Eye contact reinforces communication in business and personal relationships, which is why it is important that your eyes appear open and ready to interact. Nonetheless, genetics and time change the shape of the eyes. Drooping upper eyelids and lower eyelid puffiness (bags) make people look tired and old. In some cases, they may even obstruct vision. Blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) can restore open and alert eyes by reshaping the upper and lower eyelids.
Blepharoplasty best aids those with excess or loose skin that hides the natural fold of the upper eyelids, excess skin and fine wrinkles of the lower eyelids, or puffiness in the upper and lower eyelids. The procedure is commonly done on patients as early as their mid-thirties and can be performed on all four eyelids or just the upper or lower eyelids alone. After carefully discussing your goals and expectations, your surgeon can recommend the appropriate course of action for you.
The procedure is performed in our office, usually on an outpatient basis. Blepharoplasty can be performed under local or general anesthesia. With local anesthesia you'll be awake during the procedure but anesthetized and relaxed. The surgery takes from 1 to 3 hours, depending on the extent of the procedure.
Eat a balanced, nutrient-rich diet before surgery. A healthy diet will help speed recovery. Plan ahead and prepare nutritious meals that are easy to warm up so that you won't need to spend too much time in the kitchen during your recovery.
If you smoke, abstain from smoking for at least six weeks before and after surgery. This reduces the risk of infection and encourages faster healing.
Do not take any medicines containing aspirin or ibuprofen during the two weeks preceding surgery.
Do not eat or drink after midnight the night before surgery.
Be certain you do not have a cold or sunburn the day of surgery.
Do not wear make-up or contact lenses to surgery.
Arrange to have someone take you home after surgery and, if possible, help you around the house for a few days while you recover.
Eyelid Surgery Procedure
Incisions are made along the natural lines of the eyelids. For the lower eyelid, the most common approach used is the transconjuctival technique in which the incision is placed inside the eyelid, invisible from the outside.
Through these incisions the surgeon separates the skin from the underlying fatty tissue and muscle, removing excess fat, muscle, or sagging skin. In a transconjuctival procedure, excess skin is not removed.
The incisions are then closed with very fine sutures.
After the surgery, the eyes are lubricated with an ointment and bandaged.
What to Expect
After the procedure is over, patients may experience some numbness and mild swelling and/or discomfort at the incision site. This is normal and will pass with time. Incision site pain is usually minimal and can be controlled with medication, if necessary. Swelling can be treated with cold compresses. If you experience severe pain, contact our office immediately.
You'll be instructed on how to clean and care for your eyes. They may feel goopy from the ointment used to lubricate your eyes. Swelling and bruising may last anywhere from two weeks to a month. To reduce swelling and bruising, you'll want to keep your head elevated and apply a cold compress.
As with any surgery, there is the risk of complication. Possible complications include temporary swelling at the corner of the eyelids, blurred vision, difficulty closing eyes, and slight asymmetry in healing--all of which pass within a few days. In rare cases patients' difficulty to close their eyes completely when they sleep has become permanent. Also, an extremely rare complication, ectropion (a pulling down of the lower lids), may require corrective surgery.
If you have thyroid problems such as hypothyroidism; circulatory disorders such as high blood pressure; cardiac disease; diabetes; or eye conditions such as glaucoma, a detached retina, or dry eye, you may not be a good candidate for blepharoplasty. Please discuss any of these concerns during your consultation. You can reduce your risk of complication by carefully following your surgeon's instructions before and after surgery.
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Dave Stringham is the President of LookingYourBest.com an online resource for plastic surgery procedures. Learn more about eyelid surgery and other plastic surgery procedures.
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