Blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery, is a procedure that removes fat deposits and excess skin from the upper and lower eyelids. The surgery can correct drooping upper eyelids and puffy bags below your eyes - conditions that make one look old, tired, and stressed out. In some cases, these conditions may even hinder your vision.
Who Can Benefit From Eyelid Surgery?
Proper candidates for eyelid surgery are physically healthy, realistic in their expectations, and exhibit conditions like the following:
- Bags under the eyes
- Excess skin on the upper eyelids
- Sagging upper eyelids
- Folds of skin around the eyes
- Impaired vision due to eyelid tissue
People who experience medical conditions such as hypothyroidism, Graves' disease, dry eye, high blood pressure, circulatory disorders, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, detached retina, or glaucoma should check with their ophthalmologist before considering eyelid surgery.
Your Surgical Consultation
The initial consultation with your surgeon is very important. Dr. Branman will need your complete medical history, so check your own records ahead of time and be ready to provide this information. You will also be required to have a recent eye exam and have the results sent to our office prior to the surgery. Dr. Branman will evaluate your eyelids and help determine which surgical interventions are necessary. He will also explain the surgical techniques and anesthesia used and answer any questions you may have regarding the risks, benefits, or cost of eyelid surgery. Most insurance policies don't cover eyelid surgery unless you can prove that drooping upper eyelids interfere with your vision. You may want to check with your insurer. While you're making preparations, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after your surgery, and to help you out for a few days if needed.
Eyelid Surgery Procedures
Eyelid surgery usually requires less than one hour in our office-based facility or an outpatient surgery center. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia, which numbs the area around your eyes. General or intravenous sedatives are also used. Dr. Branman makes ultra precise incisions that follow the natural creases of your upper eyelids, and just below the lashes in the lower lids. Working through these incisions, he separates the skin from underlying fatty tissue and muscle, removes excess fat, and often trims sagging skin and muscle. The incisions are then closed with special sutures.
In cases where the patient exhibits no excess skin but has a pocket of fat beneath the lower eyelids, Dr. Branman may perform a transconjunctival blepharoplasty, during which an incision is made inside the lower eyelid, leaving no visible scar. This technique is more common with younger patients who have thicker, more elastic skin.
After Eyelid Surgery
During the recovery period, patients need to keep the head elevated for several days and use cold compresses to reduce swelling and bruising. The amount of bruising will vary; for some patients it lasts 2 weeks and for others it may be as long as 4 weeks. The eyes will need to be cleaned regularly, as they may be gummy for a week or so. If you experience dryness of the eyes or eyelids, Dr. Branman may recommend eye drops. It is common for patients to experience some excessive tearing, sensitivity to light, and temporary blurriness of vision after eyelid surgery. We will follow your progress very closely for the first week or two.
The stitches will be removed within one week. Once they're out, swelling and bruising will gradually subside and you'll start to look and feel better. Most patients resume their normal routine in 7 to 10 days. By then, depending on your rate of healing, you may be able to wear makeup. After ten days, you might still have sensitive eyes, so it helps to wear sunglasses and sunblock when outdoors. During recovery it is important to avoid activities that raise your blood pressure, including bending, lifting, and rigorous sports. It is also recommended that you avoid sodium or alcohol products, to prevent fluid retention.
Eyelid Surgery Risks
We take all necessary steps to reduce the likelihood of complications from surgery. Nevertheless, with any operation, complications are possible. Infections can occur, as can a reaction to anesthesia.
Following instructions before and after surgery can reduce your risk. Relatively minor complications associated with eyelid surgery include blurred vision for a few days, temporary swelling at the corner of the eyelids, and a slight asymmetry in healing, or scarring. Very small whiteheads can appear after the stitches are removed, but Dr. Branman can remove them easily with a fine needle.
It is possible that some patients experience difficulty closing their eyes when they sleep; in rare cases this condition may be permanent. Another very rare complication is ectropion, which results in a pulling down of the lower lids. In this case, another procedure may be necessary.
Eyelid Surgery in Little Rock
Eyelid surgery, and all cosmetic surgery procedures, are performed by Little Rock cosmetic surgeon Dr. Rhys Branman at Arkansas Surgical Hospital or in our in-office surgical suite.
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