Cosmetic Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty)
Patients interested in eyelid surgery are often concerned that they look tired or sad. Their eyes look puffy. Fatty tissue may protrude in the lower eyelids, making it look like they have been crying or have allergies. Extra skin of the upper eyelids makes the eyelids heavy. It may be hard to put on make-up. Cosmetic eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) can help create dramatic yet refined changes around the eyes.
Techniques for eyelid surgery have evolved. Before the early 2000’s it was common for surgeons to remove all the fat they could find. Today there is more of an emphasis on preserving fat in strategic areas of the eyelids, maybe even re-positioning some fat. When doing lower blepharoplasty surgery, Dr. Kunkel manipulates fat through an incision inside the lower eyelid. This technique decreases one of the risks of surgery (ectropion; see ‘Risks’ below) and has become a standard in eyelid surgery.
Candidates for Blepharoplasty
The best candidates for blepharoplasty are women and men who are in good health, do not smoke, and do not have any serious eye conditions. Someone who has loose, sagging skin of the upper or lower eyelids may benefit. Fullness and puffiness in the lower eyelids may make someone a great candidate for the procedure.
Dr. Kunkel performs blepharoplasty in a surgery center or hospital. The patient is put to sleep under the direction of an anesthesiologist (general anesthesia). The operation may be done on just the upper eyelids, just the lower eyelids, or both the upper and lower eyelids. Some patients undergo blepharoplasty combined with a brow lift, facelift, or even breast augmentation. Most patients are able to go home the same day. A person who undergoes a longer combined procedure may need to spend one night in the surgical facility.
Recovery after Eyelid Surgery
Most patients have very little pain. The eyelids are swollen for a few weeks. Some bruising occurs and is noticeable to other people for 3 to 4 weeks. Make-up may be worn beginning about a week after surgery. Contact lenses should not be worn for 7-10 days after blepharoplasty surgery. Some patients return to work in just a few days, but that depends on a person’s comfort level with the visible changes present. Most people take about 10 days off from work. If there is a special occasion coming up, like a wedding or a reunion, it is probably best to undergo the blepharoplasty about two or three months before the event.
All surgical procedures have some risks. Risks common to all procedures include infection, bleeding, and visible scars. Each specific surgical procedure has more unique risks as well. Risks that are more unique to blepharoplasty include dry eyes, inability to fully close the eyes, and an irregular downward pulling of the lower eyelids (ectropion). During initial and subsequent consultations, Dr. Kunkel carefully discusses the procedure, the recovery, and the risks with each patient.