Blepharoplasty, more commonly called an eyelid lift or cosmetic eyelid surgery, is a procedure designed to remove droopy, puffy or baggy skin deposits from the area around the eyes. These skin deposits tend to make the patient look older or appear tired. Asian eyelid surgery is a common variation of this procedure; it creates a supratarsal eyelid crease for a single-lidded appearance. This is also called double eyelid surgery.
Cost of Blepharoplasty
It's difficult to estimate the cost of eyelid plastic surgery because it involves a reduction in muscle, skin and fatty tissues surrounding the eye. The full of extent of the surgery will vary from patient to patient and even from one eye to another. However, the typical blepharoplasty cost ranges from $2,000 to $5,000. These costs include surgeon, facility and anesthesia fees.
As with other types of cosmetic surgery, this procedure is generally not covered by health insurance plans unless it is related to ptosis or another medical condition.
Ideal candidates for blepharoplasty are emotionally stable, physically fit and knowledgeable about the procedure, with realistic expectations for its outcome. Patients should be at least 35 years of age, but exceptions are possible. If you suffer from hypothyroidism, glaucoma, Graves' disease, dry eyes, high blood pressure, diabetes or cardiovascular disease, you may be rejected as a candidate for eyelid surgery. You should also tell your doctor if you've recently had laser eye surgery performed.
The Blepharoplasty Procedure
The plastic surgeon makes incisions along the creases of the upper eyelid and, if needed, along the outside lower rim of the eye. An incision inside the lower eye rim may be necessary as well. Fat and muscle tissue is separated from the skin so that any excess tissues can be removed.
The laser blepharoplasty procedure involves an incision on the inside of the lower eyelid and uses a laser to smooth away excess tissue on the outside. This allows for faster healing and a reduced risk of scarring.
You may be under local or general anesthesia while the operation is performed, and you should consult your doctor to see if you can choose the option you prefer. Surgery may last as long as three hours, with most patients returning home within a few hours of the operation.
Risks of Blepharoplasty Surgery
As in other types of facial surgery, there are risks involved with blepharoplasty. These include the risk of infection, scarring and reactions to the anesthesia. Other specific risks of eyelid surgery include dry, itchy, teary or burning eyes, sensitivity to light and double vision. These symptoms may last for a few days after the surgery and can often be relieved by using eye drops. Other rare complications include a pulled-down appearance of the lower eyelids or trouble closing the eyes completely. Both of these conditions may be permanent; if they're correctible, they may require further surgery.
Recovering from the Operation
Immediately following the surgery, your eyes will be bandaged and lubricated. Painkillers may be prescribed. To speed the recovery process, you may be asked to avoid television and told not to wear eye makeup or contact lenses.
Stitches are often removed about one week after surgery; your doctor has to wait for the bruising to subside. Wearing sunglasses and using sun block to protect the eyes is recommended. You may resume normal activity within 10 days, though you may have to wait up to three weeks before engaging in strenuous exercise.
If you're not a candidate for blepharoplasty, there are alternatives that may offer similar benefits. Check with your doctor to determine if you're eligible for any of these non-invasive procedures:
- Laser skin resurfacing: Eliminates damaged outer skin tissue while stimulating collagen production.
- Botox injection: Temporarily prevents muscle contractions that create wrinkles in the skin.
- Thermage eye treatments: Uses a radiofrequency tip to stimulate collagen growth and tighten existing skin.
Lastly, brow lift surgery can also address drooping eyelids while minimizing the look of frown lines and forehead lines. This is one of the simplest and least invasive facial surgeries available.