What exactly is an upper eyelid blepharoplasty?

A blepharoplasty, commonly known as an eyelid lift, is a surgical procedure that aims to improve the function and appearance of the upper eyelids by treating excess skin and restoring the natural eyelid shape. This operation involves precise manipulation of eyelid tissues to achieve a more youthful appearance.

We are aware of the unfavorable effects that the aging process has on the appearance of our eyes.  In addition to the influences of heredity and sun damage, the delicate eyelid skin begins to sag and droop. These are more evident in individuals with fair skin, but no one is exempt. Heavy eyelids and excess skin can add years to our facial appearance.

Upper eyelid surgery can be performed with local anesthesia alone or with intravenous sedation. The choice will depend on the patient’s request and the surgeon’s judgment.

Our eyes are unquestionably our most expressive facial feature. They are the focus of attention to the people with whom we interact daily. With age, we notice loose or sagging skin that disrupts the youthful contour of the upper eyelid. This undesirable phenomenon can affect our appearance, making us look sad and fatigued rather than asserting our inner vitality. For many individuals, it is also a matter of functional impairment. In these cases, excess, lax skin that hangs over the eyelashes causes eye fatigue and decreases peripheral vision.

Regardless of your primary concern, whether you are experiencing visual symptoms or desire to improve your appearance, upper blepharoplasty is the ideal surgical procedure to restore the natural contour of your eyelids.

First, an incision is marked on the natural crease of the eyelids to guarantee an inconspicuous scar. The length and height of the incision are designed to achieve the best cosmetic result while minimizing the possibility of complications. This step is probably the most important of the entire operation. If the markings are done incorrectly, and too much skin is removed, the patient will not be able to close his eyelids fully after surgery.

The next step involves the removal of excess skin and fat. Depending on the case, some surgeons will modify the anatomy of the eyebrows at this point to produce a more elegant outcome and may occasionally weaken the muscles responsible for frowning.

The last step of blepharoplasty will be to close the incisions with non-absorbable sutures. These are typically removed in the office within one week of surgery.

Am I a good candidate for upper blepharoplasty?

Upper eyelid blepharoplasty is a safe, straightforward, and elegant operation that yields excellent results; however, it is not suitable for everyone. This point is especially true for individuals with a heavy or low eyebrow. Not uncommonly, these patients seek a plastic surgeon to treat the loose skin on the upper eyelids, unaware that the cause of their symptoms is brow descent. It is important to note that the brows and eyelids make up a single anatomical unit. The presence of a drooping eyelid may be explained by excess eyelid skin or by the relaxation of eyebrow tissues. Therefore, the first and most important distinction that a surgeon must make is between a low brow and the presence of actual skin surplus in the upper eyelid.

The best candidates for upper blepharoplasty are healthy individuals with significant laxity of the eyelid skin and who have realistic expectations about surgery outcomes. Certain chronic medical conditions, such as autoimmune disease or uncontrolled diabetes, can impair healing and thus, represent a relative contraindication for surgery.

The recovery process after blepharoplasty

Before deciding to proceed with upper eyelid surgery, you should know the basics of the recovery process and the amount of downtime required after surgery. Understanding this information will be helpful when planning the date for your operation.

Similarly, keep in mind that the recovery process begins before the operation. Your surgeon will give you specific instructions about preoperative care, including a list of medications and supplements that you should avoid to minimize postoperative swelling and bruising. You will also learn how to care for the wounds after surgery, identify signs of concern at the surgical site, and which medications will assist in the healing process.

Your eyes will not be covered after the procedure; thus, computer work and mobile device use are allowed. However, lifting heavy objects and exercise is prohibited for about a week after surgery. You should expect mild discomfort and some irritation the first few days. Over-the-counter analgesics and cold compresses are usually enough to control these symptoms. On the other hand, significant pain is not normal and should prompt you to contact your surgeon immediately.

As mentioned previously, swelling and bruising are the norm after blepharoplasty. These will disappear within a week to ten days after the operation. Lastly, sun protection is a must after eyelid surgery, so plan to wear UV-protective sunglasses during the recovery period. They will aid in the healing of the wound as well as prevent unsightly scars.