Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty) Frequently Asked Questions
- Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
- Where and how will you perform my procedure? What surgical technique is recommended for me?
- How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?
- What are the risks and complications associated with my facelift?
- How can I expect to look over time?
1. Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
The following are some common reasons why you may want to consider eyelid surgery:
- You have excess skin obscuring the natural fold of the upper eyelids.
- You have loose upper eyelid skin that impairs your vision.
- You have a puffy appearance to the upper eyelids, making your eyes look tired and sad.
- You have excess skin and fine, ‘crepe paper’ type lower eyelid wrinkles.
- You have bags and dark circles under the eyes.
- Your upper eye surface is too small or not smooth enough to apply makeup.
If you are in good general health, have a positive attitude and realistic expectations, you are most likely a good candidate for this procedure.
2. Where and how will you perform my procedure? What surgical technique is recommended for me?
Upper eyelid surgery: During the surgery, Dr. Hsu will mark the natural lines and creases of your lids and keep your scars as hidden as possible along these natural folds. Fine sutures will be used to close the incisions, thereby minimizing scar visibility.
Lower eyelid surgery: In traditional blepharoplasty, Dr. Hsu will make the incision in an inconspicuous site along the lash line and smile creases of the lower lid. In a transconjunctival approach, he will correct eyelid puffiness caused by excess fat by making an incision inside the lower eyelid. This technique requires no external incision, but it cannot be used to remove excess skin.
The type of eyelid surgery you undergo will be based on your facial features and aesthetic preferences. The goal is to help you achieve the most beautiful and natural-looking results.
3. How long of a recovery period can I expect, and what kind of help will I need during my recovery?
During the initial consultation, we will discuss how long it will be before you can return to your normal level of activity and work. After surgery, you and your caregiver will receive detailed instructions about your postsurgical care, including information about normal symptoms you will experience and potential signs of complication.
For the easiest recovery period, have the following items readily accessible at home:
- Ice cubes, ice pack, or freezer bags filled with ice, frozen corn, or peas (based on recommendation for cold application to the eyelids).
- Small gauze pads.
- Eye drops or artificial tears (ask Dr. Hsu to recommend the proper type to meet your particular needs).
- Clean washcloths and towels.
- Over-the-counter painkillers, which Dr. Hsu will prescribe.
- Plan to stay home from work and limit your activities for a prescribed time after surgery to give your eyelids a chance to heal.
Immediately after eyelid surgery
- You may experience excessive tearing, light sensitivity, and double vision just after the surgery.
- Your incisions will be red and visible at first, and your eyelids may be puffy and feel numb for several days.
- Swelling and bruising, similar to having "black eyes," will likely last a week or more.
- Apply ice packs or cold compresses to your eyes to help reduce swelling.
- Pain is usually minimal. You will be given a pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol or others) for mild discomfort, but remember to avoid aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, or others), naproxen (Aleve), and any other medications or herbal supplements that may increase bleeding.
- If stitches were used, they'll be removed after three or four days.
If you experience extreme or long-lasting pain or redness and swelling after the surgery, contact us to find out if these symptoms are normal or a sign of a problem.
Recovery time frame after eyelid surgery
It is vitally important that you follow all postoperative instructions provided. This will include information about bandages, taking an antibiotic if prescribed, and the level and type of activity that is safe. We will also provide detailed instructions about the normal symptoms you will experience and any potential signs of complications. It is important to realize that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies greatly among individuals.
The first two weeks
Although you will not have to rest in bed following surgery, you should plan to relax, stay home, and use cold compresses on your eyes on the day of surgery as well as the day after. The amount of time it takes for recovery varies. Here are some helpful guidelines:
- Follow our instructions for care. For the first couple of days following surgery, place cold compresses on the eyes to reduce swelling for intervals of twenty minutes on and off. You will be advised to use eye drops to keep the eyes from drying. If you have dry eyes lasting more than two weeks, please let us know.
- Sleep with your head raised higher than your chest. You can use regular pillows, wedge pillows, or sleep on a recliner. Minimize swelling and bruising by keeping your head elevated as much as possible during the first few days of recovery.
- After upper and lower blepharoplasty surgery your eyelids will typically feel tight. You can treat soreness with acetaminophen. Significant bruising typically occurs, but will resolve within two weeks.
- Avoid straining, heavy lifting, swimming, and strenuous activities, such as aerobics and jogging, for at least six weeks. Specifically, you should avoid activities in which you must move your head abruptly or that increase the blood pressure in your head. This restriction includes, but is not limited to, bending over, which causes your head to be lower than your heart, and lifting objects heavy enough to cause you to strain.
- You may notice that your eyes tire easily for the first several weeks of the recovery period. Take frequent naps. Avoid activities that may dry the eyes, including reading, watching television, wearing contacts, and using a computer.
- For the first two weeks after your surgery, wear dark sunglasses to protect the eyes from irritation caused by sun and wind.
- Dr. Hsu will remove the stitches between two and seven days after your eyelid surgery.
- You may feel well enough to resume normal activities around the tenth day of recovery.
- Seek medical attention immediately if you experience shortness of breath, chest pains, an unusual heart rate, new pain, bleeding, or visual disturbance.
4. What are the risks and complications associated with my procedure
Fortunately, significant complications from eyelid surgery are infrequent. Every year, thousands of people undergo successful eyelid surgery and are pleased with the results. Blepharoplasty, which remains the gold standard for eyelid rejuvenation, is usually performed without any major problems. All surgical procedures have some degree of risk. Some of the potential complications of all surgeries are:
- Adverse reaction to anesthesia
- Hematoma or seroma (an accumulation of blood or fluid under the skin that may require removal)
- Infection and bleeding
- Changes in sensation
- Allergic reactions
- Damage to underlying structures
- Unsatisfactory results that may necessitate additional procedures.
You can help minimize certain risks by following our advice and instructions, both before and after your eyelid surgery.
5. How can I expect my face to look over time?
Your eyelid surgery results should be long-lasting. For the most part, removal of hooding and upper eyelid skin is a procedure that is performed only once. As aging continues, your brow can drop or descend, causing excess skin to reappear on the upper eyelid, but in this case the solution is a brow lift, not a second upper blepharoplasty. Lower blepharoplasty is usually performed to remove eye bags and puffiness around the eyes, and it too should only need to be performed once.