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Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty)

What Is Eyelid Surgery?

As we age, skin naturally loses it’s elasticity and the underlying muscles weaken.

This is no different for the skin around the eyes. With time, eyelids can slacken and lose elasticity, and furthermore, fat can collect in the upper lids. As the muscles weaken, this fat protrudes in these lids to create “bags” over the eyes. In some cases, these bags can be hereditary, but it is more likely to occur as a result of the natural aging process.

In order to combat these bags or droopy eyelids, an eyelid reduction surgery known as a blepharoplasty is available. During this procedure, the excess skin and protruding fat is removed from around the eyes to rejuvenate the skin and create a more alert, youthful appearance. Eyelid surgery can include the removal of skin and surplus fat, or just one or the other depending on your specific needs.

Treatment and Complications

elderly-coupleA procedure known as a blepharoplasty, or eyelid reduction, can be carried out to remove this surplus skin and fat.

This treatment may be carried out on patients in their twenties if bags around the eyes are a hereditary issue and common in the family. However, it is most common that this develops as a result of the natural aging process, and so this sort of treatment will be available to patients who are typically over the age of 35. Patients suffering with thyroid disease, particularly hyper-thyroidism, may experience sever protrusion of the eyelids due to the high levels of thyroxine that can occur. In this case, a procedure known as an Olivaris procedure or extended eyelid reduction can be carried out.

Both a blepharoplasty and an extended eyelid procedure have high success rates that can transform the vision of those individuals affected.

What Are The Limitations?

There is a difference between protruding eyelids and natural wrinkles, and it’s important to note that a blepharoplasty will not be able to rectify natural wrinkles that have occurred (only wrinkles that exist in the skin that will be removed will be eliminated).

Similarly, any skin that extends on to the cheek will not be improved, as a blepharoplasty only treats the eye socket areas. It is possible that crows feet, the wrinkles around the eyes, may be improved as the surrounding skin is tightened. They won’t disappear completely however. The skin loses natural elasticity with age, but in order for the eye to be able close properly, some surplus skin is of course needed. You should therefore consider this when having your procedure in order to manage expectations of just how much will be removed and what the final results will be.

What Does The Procedure Involve?

woman_workingThe procedure can be carried out under a local anaesthestic, but should your surgeon deem it necessary, you may be put under general anaesthestic instead.

To start, your surgeon will follow the natural contours of your eyelids to find the right place to make incisions. This will normally be in the creases of the upper lids, and below the lash line in the lower lids. It is through these incisions that fat will be removed and surplus skin will be cut away, and any further sagging muscle will be removed. To finish, a laser may be used to resurface the surrounding skin, although that is not always included as part of a transconjunctival blepharoplasty.

Once the procedure has been completed, the surgeon will apply some sutures or steri-strips to support the eyelids following surgery, which can be replaced as needed. These sutures can be removed three to five days after surgery, and shortly after this you’ll be able to start wearing makeup again.

As you recover, your surgeon may recommend you keep your eyes clean with water, and they may possibly prescribe some eye drops or treatment to prevent infection if necessary. In the days following your surgery, you may be instructed to keep your head elevated, as this will reduce swelling. As you close your eyes for the first few times after surgery, it may feel tight owing to the fact that skin has been removed and the area will likely be swollen following treatment.

Your eyes may appear watery after the blepharoplasty, which could be caused by this swelling and also due to the fact that as tear ducts are swollen, they will not drain as easily. In addition to the swelling, you may also experience some bruising, but this will dissipate in a few weeks, at which point you’ll be left with barely visible scars and markedly reduced eye bags.

What Are The Risks?

In order to reduce the likelihood of risks occurring, you should adhere to your surgeon’s pre-operative and post-operative instructions.

If you have high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid disease or any pre-existing eye conditions such as glaucoma or a detached retina, you should inform your surgeon as this may impact your surgery. You may be referred to an Ophthalmologist beforehand to ensure you are still a suitable candidate. In a small number of cases, a pool of blood can gather under the skin, which is known as a haematoma. This will normally disperse of it’s own accord in the weeks following surgery, but if it is large or complications occur, it may need to be drained.

Cysts can also occur around the stitches, but these can easily be removed and are not a cause for concern. Your lower lid may protrude slightly owing to the swelling, for which your surgeon might want to use sutures or steri-strips. In exceptionally rare cases, blindness can occur.

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