Is Eyelid Surgery right for you?
Eyelid surgery can give you a younger, fresher appearance and a firmer eye area, but it cannot remove dark circles, fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes, or lift sagging eyebrows. While it can add an upper eyelid crease to Asian eyes, it will not erase evidence of ethnic or racial heritage.
For this reason, eyelid surgery is frequently done in conjunction with other procedures, such as a facelift or brow lift, and can be combined with laser or chemical resurfacing to smooth skin wrinkles.
Patients with circulatory, ophthalmologic, or any other serious medical conditions should consult with Dr. Lanfranchi to determine whether eyelid surgery is a viable option to consider.
Types of anesthesia
Eyelid surgery can be performed under local or general anesthesia. Local anesthesia numbs the area around the eyes through the use of oral or intravenous sedatives. Under local anesthesia, you are awake during surgery but relaxed and insensitive to pain. At most you may feel a tugging sensation and slight discomfort. Under general anesthesia, you are asleep throughout the entire procedure.
How is the surgery performed?
Blepharoplasty usually takes one to two hours, depending on the extent of your surgery.
In a typical procedure, incisions are made following the natural lines of the eyelids. This includes the creases of the upper lids and just below the lashes in the lower lids. The incisions may extend into the crow’s feet or laugh lines at the outer corners of the eyes.
Working through these incisions, Dr. Lanfranchi will separate the skin from underlying fatty tissue and muscle, remove excess fat, and often trim the sagging skin and muscle. The incisions are then closed with very fine sutures.
If you have a pocket of fat beneath your lower eyelids but do not need to have any skin removed, Dr. Lanfranchi may perform a transconjunctival blepharoplasty. In this procedure, the incision is made inside your lower eyelid, leaving no visible scar. This procedure is usually performed on younger patients with thicker, more elastic skin.
What to expect after surgery
Immediately after the surgery, a lubricating ointment is applied to the eyes, which may temporarily blur your vision. You will have to stay in the clinic for observation for a few hours, resting in a reclined position while cold pads are applied to minimize bruising and swelling.
Pain after eyelid surgery procedure is very rare, and after a short period of observation most patients are discharged to the recovery facility or to their homes with recommendations and Dr. Lanfranchi’s phone number in case any questions or problems should arise.
For a week and a half after the procedure, you will need to clean the eye area regularly, as the eyes may feel sticky, dry, and itchy. You will also be given a list of activities and environments to avoid in the weeks immediately following surgery.
Stitches can normally be removed within four to five days. During this period it is important that you avoid using your eyes as much as possible. Swelling and bruising usually last for 10-14 days, but makeup can be applied to camouflage these after the first week.
Healing is a gradual process and it usually takes six weeks to three months to look completely natural. The swelling or bruising may be more apparent to you than to others, and most people return to work within a week.
You should avoid strenuous activities such as bending, lifting, and sports for about three weeks. Activities such as watching television or working on the computer should also be avoided. Drinking alcohol is not advised, as it can lead to fluid retention and delayed recovery.
Of the entire body, the eyelids produce the least perceptible scars. In some cases scars may remain slightly pink for about six months, but can easily be concealed with makeup. Eventually, they fade to a thin, nearly invisible white line.
Once the healing process is complete, you will look more alert, refreshed and youthful. The results of eyelid surgery are long lasting, and for most people the results are permanent.
Risks of eyelid surgery
When eyelid surgery is performed by a qualified plastic surgeon, complications are infrequent and usually minor. Nevertheless, complications may occur and should be noted. These include bleeding, infection, reactions to the anesthetic medications, temporary problems with excessive tearing, prominence or firmness of the scars, asymmetry in healing or scarring, and milia or whiteheads where the sutures emanate from the skin.
After the procedure, some patients may have difficulty closing their eyes completely while they sleep, and in rare cases, this condition may be permanent. Another rare condition is ectropion, a pulling down of the lower lids. Further surgery may be required to correct these complications.
For more information about eyelid surgery, or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Lanfranchi, please contact us.