What to consider before eyelid surgery

Blepharoplasty, most commonly referred to as eyelid surgery, is a type of surgery that can correct the appearance of the upper eyelids, lower eyelids or both.

This surgery may be performed to improve vision (if the upper eyelids are very loose/ stretched and impede sight) and/or to enhance the appearance of the eyelids and the surrounding area.

Before you decide to go through with blepharoplasty, there are some important factors to keep in mind.

All surgery, whether for cosmetic or reconstructive needs, unfortunately comes with risks and potential complications.  It is important that you are fully informed about these when making your choice to undertake surgery. You should also discuss with your surgeon what a realistic and achievable outcome would be for you as an individual.

What can a blepharoplasty do for me?

Blepharoplasty can alter and improve:

  • Loose skin that drapes around the eyes and blocks vision.
  • Skin that has lost its elasticity and that creates folds on, or around the upper eyelid (this can also affect your vision).
  • Lower eyelids that droop to the extent that they show the white below the iris
  • Deposits of excess fat tissue that appear as puffiness beneath the eyelids or as bags under the eyes

The procedure encompasses a number of different surgical techniques; which techniques a surgeon will use depend on the patient’s anatomy and their particular goals. For any given patient, an eyelid lift may include upper eyelid surgery, lower eyelid surgery, or both.

In general

  • Blepharoplasty cannot be performed to erase dark circles under the eyes.
  • Blepharoplasty cannot lift eyebrows or the area around the eyes to remove crow’s feet.

You should also consider the financial cost and bring this up with your surgeon during the consultation. Surgery that is deemed cosmetic does not typically qualify for rebates from Medicare or private health insurers. However, if your condition needs to be corrected because of medical reasons, such as blocked vision, it may be covered. Your doctor can advise if your condition has a Medicare item number and is therefore covered by health insurance.

Before you undergo the procedure, you need to discuss a range of medical issues with your surgeon.

Physical health and medical history:  some pre-existing medical conditions and surgeries you’ve had in the past may affect decisions about this procedure. An examination of your current health will help your surgeon to decide if the treatment is appropriate and what type of anaesthetic that should be used.

Medication:  tell your surgeon about any medication that you take regularly or have recently taken, including fish oils and vitamin supplements.

Also, if you are serious about undergoing surgery you should quit smoking. Smokers are always at an increased risk of complications.

What happens after my eyelid lift surgery?

During the first 1 to 2 weeks after eyelid surgery, you can expect some visible bruising and swelling, and your eyelids may feel unusually tight. Using a cold compress and keeping your head elevated while you sleep can help alleviate discomfort. Most patients feel well enough to return to their jobs 10-14 days after a blepharoplasty.

Your eyes are likely to get tired more quickly than usual for the first few weeks, and it’s important to let them rest as needed. You must protect them from the sun and wind and wear dark sunglasses that provide plenty of coverage whenever you go outdoors. It’s always important to follow your surgeon’s instructions.

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