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Eye Lid Surgery

By: Hsin-Yi Cohen BSc, MA, MSt - Updated: 21 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Eye Lift Eye Lift Surgery Eye Lid

As many of us start to face the challenges of ageing, we may start to consider cosmetic surgery to enhance our looks. One of the most popular ways to fight the signs of ageing is through an eye lift, also known as eye lift surgery or eye lid surgery – or by its medical name, blepharoplasty.

This procedure helps to improve the appearance of your upper and lower eyelids, as well as giving an overall younger and less fatigued look to the area surrounding your eyes.

How Does Eye Lid Surgery Enhance Appearance?

An eye lift or eye lid surgery is a surgical procedure which will help to remove sagging skin around the eyes, as well as remove any excess fatty deposits that have accumulated. It will also help to treat any droopiness of the lower eye lids, as a result of ageing and gravity.

In some cases, the loose skin around the eye can form folds which disturb the natural contour of the upper eyelid and thus impair vision, so an eye lift will help to resolve this problem. The overall result is reduced puffiness of the upper eyelids and an overall tightening of the skin around the eyes, as well as possibly fewer fine wrinkles on the lower eyelid.

Remember, however, eye lifts can only be performed on healthy individuals with healthy facial muscles and tissues and have no medical conditions or serious eye conditions which can impair healing. It is also only advisable for non-smokers and to those who have realistic goals and a positive outlook.

Those with eye conditions such as a detached retina, dry eye or glaucoma or those with thyroid disorders and cardiovascular disease, diabetes, high blood pressure or other circulatory disorders are bad candidates for eye lid surgery.

Before Considering Eye Lift Surgery

It is important that you are aware of the risks involved in eye lid surgery. Like all cosmetic surgery, it carries several specific risks, some serious, as well as the normal risks associated with anaesthesia and any kind of surgery.

The risks include:

  • Scarring
  • Difficulty closing your eyes
  • Lid lag, a pulling down of the lower eyelid may occur and is often temporary
  • Temporarily blurred or impaired vision
  • Ectropion, rolling of the eyelid outwards
  • Dry eyes
  • Skin discoloration and swelling
  • Bleeding (hematoma)
  • Poor wound healing
  • Infection
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Blood clots
  • Numbness and other changes in skin sensation
  • Sutures may spontaneously surface through the skin, become visible or produce irritation that require removal
  • Anesthesia risks
  • Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
  • Possibility of revisional surgery
  • Loss of eyesight

Because of these risks, it is vitally important to find a reputable cosmetic surgeon who you can trust and who will provide you with detailed information about the risks and complications associated with eye lift surgery. When choosing a surgeon, things to consider include his length, depth and breadth experience, including the number of years he/she has trained in plastic surgery; the fact that he/she only operates in accredited medical facilities; the fact that he/she adheres to a strict code of ethics and the fact that he/she fulfils continuing medical education requirements, including innovations and standards in patient safety.

What Happens During an Eye Lift Surgery?

At the initial consultation, expect to be asked a number of questions about your lifestyle, general health and your specific expectations and desired outcomes for the surgery. You should let your surgeon know of any drug allergies, medical conditions or previous medical treatments you have had, as well as any medications, supplements, drugs, tobacco and alcohol you are currently using or taking.

You should also mention any previous surgeries you may have had. You surgeon should discuss your options, including anaesthesia, and recommended course of treatment, as well as possible outcomes and any potential risks or complications. They may also take some photos for your medical record.

If you smoke, you will be asked to stop well in advance of the surgery and also to avoid taking any anti-inflammatory drugs, herbal supplements and aspirin, as these can encourage haemorrhaging. You should also arrange for someone to drive you home from the surgery and to stay with you for the first night after the procedure.

During the procedure, the surgeon will first anaesthetise you and then make incisions at different points, depending on the corrections desired – for example, if correcting droopiness in the upper lid, the incision is usually made within the natural crease of the upper eyelid so that fat deposits can be repositioned, tissues and muscles can be tightened and any excess skin can be removed – all in a way so that scars are well-concealed in the natural contours of the eye area.

Once complete, the surgeon will close the incisions using either surgical tape, removable or dissolvable sutures or skin adhesives. He/she may also use a laser chemical peel to help with any dark discolouration in the lower eyelids.

There will be considerable swelling and bruising following the surgery which will gradually subside over the course of several weeks – although it can take up to a year for the incision lines to fully disappear. Follow your surgeons recommendations regarding post-surgery recovery and treatment, such as the use of any cold compresses or lubricating ointment.

Make sure you follow their instructions strictly – this is important to your successful recovery. Be sure also to understand what symptoms to look out for which indicate a post-surgery complication – such as unusual heart beats, shortness of breath and chest pains – and seek medical help immediately.

Finally, remember that despite medical advances, there are no guarantees with cosmetic surgery. Remember also that it does not stop ageing so if you do not practise continual care and anti-ageing strategies, such as consistent sun protection, you will continue ageing rapidly and may soon counteract any benefits you have gained from the eye lid surgery.

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