Droopy eyelids or baggy eyes are a common complaint, and tend to make people look much more tired and older than they actually are. Eye bag removal (blepharoplasty) is an effective and straightforward surgical treatment than can restore a fresher and more rested appearance.
What is a blepharoplasty?
Eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) is a procedure to remove fat – usually along with excess skin and muscle - from the upper or lower eyelids. Eyelid surgery can correct drooping upper lids and puffy bags under the eyes – features that can make you look older and more tired and which may even interfere with your vision. A blepharoplasty will not remove crow's feet or lift sagging eyebrows.
Am I suitable for eyelid surgery?
On the whole, blepharoplasty is a simple and straightforward operation and most people are suitable candidates. A few medical conditions may make blepharoplasty more risky. These include thyroid problems such as hypothyroidism, dry eye syndrome, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Your surgeon will evaluate these possibilities at your initial consultation.
Ultimately, the decision to operate will rest with the surgeon, who will take into account your wishes and balance those against what is feasible and appropriate.
What does blepharoplasty entail?
We typically carry out upper blepharoplasty under local anaesthesia (with sedation if preferred). A curved incision is made in the upper eyelid that coincides with the natural skin creases. A crescent-shaped piece of skin, together with fat if appropriate, is removed and the wound closed with very fine sutures.
Lower blepharoplasty may be carried out under local anaesthesia with sedation or under general anaesthesia. The incision is made a few millimetres under the lower eyelashes and any excess skin tissue is removed – care is taken to retain youthful contours of the area around the eye and avoid a 'sunken' look by repositioning fat if necessary. Again, the wound is closed with very fine sutures.
Immediately after surgery, the surgeon will lubricate your eyes with ointment. Your eyelids may feel tight initially. You can control any discomfort with mild pain killers. Blepharoplasty usually takes one to two hours, depending on the extent of the surgery
What are the potential risks and complications of blepharoplasty?
When eyelid surgery is performed by a qualified surgeon, complications are infrequent and usually minor. Possible complications of blepharoplasty include:
- Blurred vision – this is quite common and usually resolves within 48 hours
- Dry eyes – this can be ameliorated by the use of artificial tears for the first two weeks after surgery
- Ptosis – this is drooping of the upper eyelid due to damage to the muscle that opens the eyelid and may require further surgery to correct
- Incomplete closure or opening of the eyelid
- Eversion of the eyelid (ectropia )
- As with any operation, bruising, unexpected bleeding and infection are inevitable risks
How quickly will I recover after a blepharoplasty?
Rapid and uneventful recovery is the norm after blepharoplasty. The stitches will be removed 5 to 7 days after surgery. It is normal to be very swollen after eyelid surgery, particularly lower eyelid surgery. However, pain is unusual. The swelling and bruising around your eyes will gradually subside and you will start to look and feel much better.
Most people get back to normal after 10 – 14 days; you can wear make up at this stage if you wish. You should be able to read or watch television after two or three days. However, you will not be able to wear contact lenses for about two weeks and even then they may feel uncomfortable for a while.
What should I do when I get home after a blepharoplasty?
In order to minimize the chance of complications, it is important to:
- Keep your head elevated as much as possible to reduce swelling – a few extra pillows may be necessary
- Apply ice packs to the area for the first few days
- Rest quietly and avoid exertion for 2 – 3 days
- Use any prescribed eye drops since your eyelids may feel dry at first and your eyes may burn or itch
- Avoid smoking (including passive smoking)
- Avoid aspirin or anti-inflammatory medication for at least 6 weeks before and 2 weeks after surgery
What results can I expect after blepharoplasty?
Healing is a gradual process and your scars which are visible at first may remain slightly pink for six months or more after surgery. The scars will ultimately fade to a thin, virtually invisible white line. The final cosmetic results after blepharoplasty (in particular lower blepharoplasty) may take several months to develop. This is because the surgical approach to blepharoplasty should be conservative – scar tissue contracts with time and it is imperative not to remove too much skin at operation, in case scar contraction results in inability to close the eyelids. We would much rather redo a blepharoplasty than overdo it to avoid this potential complication.
Can I have my eyelids treated at the same time as an Advanced Mini Facelift?
Yes – we commonly perform blepharoplasty at the same time as a face lift. It is much more cost effective to perform blepharoplasty at the same time as an Advanced Mini Facelift than as a separate procedure.
How much does a blepharoplasty cost?
The following are the costs for the different procedures involving blepharoplasty:
Upper blepharoplasty - £3755 (day case, local anaesthetic only)
Lower blepharoplasty - £4793 (including sedation and overnight stay)
Blepharoplasty (upper and lower) - £5233 (including sedation and overnight stay)
Advanced Mini Facelift plus upper blepharoplasty - £6993 (including sedation and overnight stay)
Advanced Mini Facelift plus lower blepharoplasty - £7243 (including sedation and overnight stay)
Advanced Mini Facelift plus quad blepharoplasty - £7943 (including sedation and overnight stay)