Upper eyelid blepharoplasty is one of the most popular facial plastic operations. This surgery is performed to remove excess skin from the upper eyelids in individuals whose skin hangs over the lashes or eyes feel heavy or look tired. Blepharoplasty is usually a quick and safe surgery with little downtime and long-lasting results. However, blepharoplasty is not a simple procedure; it must be approached by an experienced surgeon who knows how to achieve the best results while avoiding complications.
Complications of blepharoplasty: eyelid scarring & lagophthalmos
If the surgeon is not careful to mark the appropriate amount of skin to be removed or, better said, the right amount of skin to leave on the eyelid, and he removes too much skin, the patient will almost certainly experience complications. The most common complication is the inability to close the eyes after the operation, a condition known as lagophthalmos.
Mild lagophthalmos after blepharoplasty is fairly common and may not cause the patient any symptoms. However, when eyelid scarring is moderate to severe, and the lack of skin is significant, lagophthalmos will be more pronounced. In such cases, the patient’s cornea will be exposed to air all the time, causing severe dry eye symptoms such as tearing, irritation, blurry vision, and pain.
Treatment of lagophthalmos with skin grafts
Since the reason the patient cannot close the eyes is a lack of sufficient skin on the upper eyelids, the only effective way to treat this complication is to add skin. A surgeon will achieve this by harvesting a skin graft, either from the lower eyelid or from behind the ear and use it to correct the skin shortage on the upper eyelid. Skin grafts may not be aesthetically pleasing in the first few months after the operation, but when done correctly, the final result should be very acceptable.
In summary, the best way to prevent complications from upper blepharoplasty is to consult with an experienced surgeon who will be extremely careful with the amount of skin that he will remove. Once present, the only effective way to address a complication is by using a skin graft on the affected eyelid(s). When executed by an eyelid specialist with experience, the result can be entirely satisfactory and make a world of difference aesthetically and functionally.