Eyelid Lift (Blepharoplasty)

Blepharoplasty can be both a functional and cosmetic surgical procedure intended to reshape the upper eyelid and/or the lower eyelid by the removal or repositioning of excess tissue. Many people feel like their droopy or puffy eyelids make them look tired or sad. In some instances, drooping of the upper eyelids can impair one's vision. An eyelid lift, or blepharoplasty, which removes excess skin and fat, can help you look more rested, refreshed and youthful. The procedure can be for only the lower eyelids, only the upper eyelids or both upper and lower. When an advanced amount of upper eyelid skin is present, the skin may protrude over the eyelashes and causing a loss of peripheral vision. The outer and upper parts of the visual field are most commonly affected and the condition may cause difficulty with activities such as driving or reading. In this circumstance, upper eyelid blepharoplasty is performed to improve peripheral vision. Patients with a less severe amount of excess skin may have a similar procedure performed for cosmetic reasons. Lower eyelid blepharoplasty is almost always done for cosmetic reasons, to improve puffy lower eyelid "bags" and reduce the wrinkling of skin.

Specifically, eyelid surgery can treat:

  • Loose or sagging skin that creates folds or disturbs the natural contour of the upper eyelid, sometimes impairing vision
  • Excess fatty deposits that appear as puffiness in the upper eyelids
  • Bags under the eyes
  • Droopiness of the lower eyelids, showing white below the iris (colored portion of the eye)
  • Excess skin and fine wrinkles of the lower eyelid

Good candidates are:

  • Healthy individuals who do not have a life-threatening illness or medical conditions that can impair healing
  • Non-smokers
  • Individuals with a positive outlook and specific goals in mind for blepharoplasty
  • Individuals without serious eye conditions

Please advise Dr. Nichols if you have any of these medical conditions:

  • Eye disease such as glaucoma, dry eye or a detached retina
  • Thyroid disorders such as Graves' disease and under or overactive thyroid
  • Cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure or other circulatory disorders or diabetes

Potential risks or complications include:

  • Unfavorable scarring
  • Temporarily blurred or impaired vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Difficulty closing your eyes
  • Lid lag, a pulling down of the lower eyelid may occur and is often temporary
  • Ectropion, rolling of the eyelid outwards
  • Bleeding (hematoma)
  • Poor wound healing
  • Infection
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Blood clots
  • Numbness and other changes in skin sensation
  • Anesthesia risks
  • Eyelid disorders that involve abnormal position of the upper eyelids (eyelid ptosis), loose eyelid skin, or abnormal laxness of the lower eyelid (ectropion) can coexist with sagging forehead and eyebrow structures; brow lift surgery will not correct these disorders; additional surgery may be required
  • Pain, which may persist
  • Skin discoloration and swelling
  • Sutures may spontaneously surface through the skin, become visible or produce irritation that require removal
  • Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
  • Possibility of revisional surgery
  • Loss of eyesight

Recovery

After your procedure is completed, lubricating ointment and cold compresses may be applied, and in some cases your eyes may be loosely covered with gauze.

Initial healing may include some swelling, bruising, irritation or dry eyes and discomfort that can be controlled with medication, cold compresses and ointment. Irritation at the incision sites also is possible. Dr. Nichols will discuss what to expect with your individual recovery.

You must practice diligent sun protection, including wearing sunscreen and use dark sunglasses until the healing process is fully complete.

Results

Your final results will appear within several weeks, but it may take up to a year for incision lines to fully refine. While eyelid surgery can be expected to correct certain conditions permanently, you will continue to age naturally. Life-long sun protection will help to maintain your results.

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Dr. Chris Nichols is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon in Tacoma Washington specializing in all aspects of cosmetic and plastic surgery
including breast augmentation, liposuction, rhinoplasty and more.
6002 North Westgate Blvd. Suite 160, Tacoma, WA 98406