What Is Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty)?
Blepharoplasty is the removal of excess fat and skin on the upper and/or lower eyelid area. Ageing effects of the skin are apparent earlier in the eyelid than elsewhere. The skin loses its elasticity and the muscles slacks with age. This results in an accumulation of loose skin, which collects, folds in the upper lids and forms deepening creases in the lower lids. At the same time fat, which cushions the eyes in their sockets, protrudes forward to give the appearance of bagginess. In some families there is an inherited tendency for bags to develop during early adulthood before any skin changes.
Why Is It Popular and What Are the Benefits?
Ageing of the skin is apparent earlier in the delicate eye area than most other parts of the body. With increasing age the skin around your eyes loses its elasticity and the muscles become slacker. The fat behind the eyelids can also bulge forwards creating "bags". In some cases this is worsened by hereditary factors. The problem often seems worse in the morning and also during periods of prolonged stress and/or lack of sleep. In some cases, so much skin accumulates in the upper lids that it hangs over the eyelashes and can obstruct vision. Blepharoplasty surgery removes the excess skin and fat on the upper and/or lower eyelids and restores a fresher, more youthful appearance.
What Does the Procedure Involve?
The procedure is usually performed under heavy or "twilight" sedation, which generally means that an overnight stay in hospital is not necessary and that recovery time is decreased. Incisions are made following the natural lines of your eyelids: in the creases of the upper lids and just below the lashes in the lower lids. These incisions are extended a little way into the crow's feet or laughter lines at the corner of the eye. Through this incision surplus fat and skin is removed and sagging muscle tightened. In the lower eyelid the cutting of skin may not be necessary and fat may be removed from inside the eyelid.
What Are the Risks and Likely After-Effects?
Cosmetic surgery, like any other surgery, involves a "trauma" to the human body and there are risks associated with any procedure. Each person's body is different, and your general health, level of fitness, age and genetic profile will all have an effect on the speed of healing and also on the risk of side-effects.
If you smoke, drink alcohol, are overweight and/or take drugs for medical or other reasons, the risk of complication during and after surgery can be greatly increased. Smoking, in particular, is discouraged because it increases the risk both of wound breakdown and thrombosis (blood clots).
After eyelid surgery it is normal for all patients to experience some pain and discomfort, swelling, numbness and bruising. These symptoms can be controlled and reduced by taking regular prescribed medication. Occasionally a pool of blood (haematoma) can collect under the skin after the operation, but this usually disperses over two or three weeks. If very large, your surgeon will drain it. Rarely, a lower eyelid may droop, a condition called ectropion. This can be corrected by further surgery.
What Will Happen After the Operation?
Bruising and swelling will gradually subside although the eyes may remain watery for a few weeks afterwards. Occasionally you may experience dryness and itchiness. Tightening of scars can make lids feel heavy or "different" for the first few weeks. Vision may be hazy for first 1-2 weeks.
Full Post-Operative Cover
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