As we age, skin loses its elasticity. This, combined with the constant pull of gravity on our bodies, can often result in excess skin collecting on the upper and lower eyelids. In addition to excess skin, our faces are prone to fat bulging from behind our eyelids as the thin membranes that hold the fat weaken with age. The best way to counteract these effects of aging eyelids is with blepharoplasty, also known as an eyelid lift.
Blepharoplasty is a surgical procedure that will reduce the bagginess from the lower eyelids and the excess skin from the upper eyelids. This is done by removing extra skin, muscle, and fat from the eyelid area, which will minimize bags around the eyes. This leads to a much younger appearance—typically, our patients look a decade younger after a blepharoplasty.
This surgery is done for both cosmetic and functional reasons, as it results in a younger look and is an effective way to improve the vision of older patients whose sagging eyelids may be blocking part of their line of sight. It is sometimes combined with a brow lift or facelift
The procedure is performed in our on-site surgical suite with local anesthesia and twilight sedation, by Dr. Rice, a board-certified facial plastic surgeon with thousands of hours of experience and an impeccable record of happy and satisfied patients.
Recovery time is 1-2 weeks, and results are noticeable immediately, although it sometimes takes several months for swelling to disappear completely.
A blepharoplasty candidate is someone who either currently has droopy eyelids or expects to have droopy eyelids due to family genetics. If you are currently having difficulty seeing because your eyelids are impeding your vision, you are an obvious fit for this procedure. You may also be a great candidate if you do not see dramatic drooping yet, but one or both of your parents has/had severe bagginess around their eyelids. Most of our blepharoplasty patients are over the age of 35 and are in good health. Additionally, they are non-smokers or are willing to quit smoking before and after their blepharoplasty surgery.
Blepharoplasty is done using twilight sedation and local anesthesia. It is commonly and easily combined with other procedures as it is short with a relatively easy recovery. Blepharoplasty surgery typically takes between one to two hours, depending upon whether upper, lower, or both areas are done.
The first phase of the surgery is the surgical plan. The incisions are carefully and precisely drawn on the patient's eyelids, then checked for adequacy and symmetry. The upper eyelid incision is hidden in the natural crease of the upper eyelid. If necessary, due to excess skin, the incision is extended into the creases at the side of the eye. Once the incision is made, the excess skin is removed, muscles may be tightened, and fat-related fullness or bags are repositioned or removed, depending on the patient's individual needs.
For the lower eyelids, the incision is made on the inside of the eyelid, so it cannot be seen. This is known as a transconjunctival incision. The fat that is the cause of the fullness or "bags" is removed and repositioned where it is most beneficial to the patient's appearance. Often this is all that is necessary, and the procedure is complete without any sutures being placed. However, if after contouring of the lid fullness, excess skin is noted, a tiny "pinch" of skin can be removed just below the lashes to smooth the lid further. A very fine row of silk sutures is then placed to finish the procedure.
The recovery period for blepharoplasty typically includes swelling, dry eyes, bruising, and discomfort. We will prescribe pain medication to all of our blepharoplasty patients, and we strongly recommend using cold compresses, lubricating eye drops, and ointment on the eyelids for one week. Some patients also experience itching, blurry vision, sensitivity to light and wind, and a feeling of “tightness” around the eyelids. These side effects are completely normal and will typically fade away in one to three weeks. To aid in the healing process, we recommend avoiding contact lenses for two weeks after surgery so that your incisions can heal correctly.
Regarding activities, you should be able to return to reading within 2-3 days, and we recommend waiting 3-5 days to return to non-physical work. Rigorous activities may be resumed in as little as 2 weeks once your initial recovery is complete.
We pride ourselves in prepping our patients on what to expect and how best to recover from surgery with minimal discomfort. Rest assured that we will advise you every step along the road to recovery to get you back to normal day-to-day activities as quickly as possible.
Blepharoplasty results should last years, possibly even a decade, but it won’t stop time completely. You can minimize sagging skin and other signs of aging by using high-quality, medical-grade skincare and sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. Cosmetic procedures such as microneedling with radiofrequency energy can also boost collagen production and preserve your skin’s health. Injectables such as dermal filler and Botox can also help keep the brow and skin around the eyes lifted.
Once you are healed, and all swelling has subsided, your results should be dramatic. By continuing to take care of your skin and overall health, you will be able to enjoy your more youthful, rested, and joyful appearance for years to come!
If you would like to see real Esthetics Center of El Dorado Hills patients who have had blepharoplasty surgeries done, scroll down to the bottom of this page. The results will astound you— there simply is nothing like this surgery when it comes to curing the look of aged eyelids.