Eye Lid / Eye Bag Surgery
What is Eye Lid surgery (called a blepharoplasty) and why is it performed?
A blepharoplasty procedure can help men and women of all ages to overcome the inevitable signs of skin ageing above, below and around the eyes.
This procedure is typically performed to produce a fresher and more youthful eye appearance. The ultimate aim of the surgery is to remove or relocate fat and smooth the loose, lined, crepey skin that can be associated with sun damage and the ageing process. A successful blepharoplasty procedure will create a brighter, fresher, more youthful eye area and improve the overall facial appearance without leaving obvious signs that surgery has taken place.
An upper blepharoplasty procedure can help those who have loose or hanging skin on the upper lid area and a full and heavy creased appearance below the eye brow margin.
A lower blepharoplasty procedure is typically performed to improve a tired eye appearance caused by localised areas of lined skin, excess fat and puffiness (sometimes called 'eye bags') beneath the eye area itself – these problem areas are commonly referred to as ‘eye-bags’.
Early signs of ageing and sun damage tend to affect the fragile skin around the eye margin long before other facial areas become affected. It is consequently quite common for patients to request this procedure prior to or as a complementary procedure to other facial surgery, such as a facelift or laser resurfacing procedure in later years.
How is a lower or upper blepahroplasty procedure performed?
When performing an upper blepharoplasty procedure, the surgeon will normally excise a narrow crescent shaped portion of skin and underlying tissue from the middle of the upper lid, leaving a microscopic incision, which will follow the natural crease line of the upper lid. A lower blepharoplasty procedure involves the surgical removal or relocation of fat just below the surface of the skin, or the removal of loose skin. This procedure is performed through an incision, normally just below the lower lash line. Younger patients may only need fat removing from beneath the lower eye area. Such fatty deposits can be hereditary and can be removed from the inside of the lower lid, thus completely avoiding any external excisions. This advanced procedure is known as a transconjunctival blepharoplasty.
These procedures can be performed singularly or in combination and can be performed under both local and general anaesthetic. The type of anaesthetic will often dictate how long a patient is expected to stay in hospital to recover. A procedure performed under local anaesthetic will commonly be performed as a day case and a procedure performed under general anaesthetic will commonly involve an overnight stay in hospital. Under normal conditions a blepharoplasty procedure can take from one to one and a half hours to perform.
What kind of men and women request this procedure?
Men and women of all ages who are generally unhappy with their aged or lined appearance or who suffer from looking tired or “jaded”, even when they are well rested Men and women who feel that their self esteem or confidence are affected by their concerns and feelings about their ageing facial appearance.
What are the results like?
This particular procedure can provide encouraging and relatively speedy results, freeing men and women from a prematurely puffy and/or an unattractively lined and wrinkled facial appearance.
Advanced corrective procedures require a very precise technique. Consequently, a blepharoplasty procedure should only be provided by a Consultant Plastic Surgeon who is fully qualified and well experienced to skillfully perform this type of surgery.
Improved results may take place almost immediately following surgery, but will be obscured by the inevitable bruising and swelling that takes place following this type of procedure. After the initial swelling has settled down (usually after the first week) subtle improvements to the contour and newly refined eye area will take place for up to six months following surgery.
Once wounds are healed sutures (stitches) usually leave no obvious trace. Sutures are either absorbable or unabsorbable. If they are the latter, they will need to be removed after approximately five days.
How will you feel after blepharoplasty surgery and what is the recovery period like? The procedure results in the area being quite tender and bruised following surgery and the actual eye area can become sensitive and dry.
Analgesic tablets (pain killers) are always provided for any discomfort, and usually an antibiotic / anti-inflammatory cream.
Patients are encouraged to stay as mobile and upright as possible during their early recovery stage to help reduce any swelling or bruising. Patients usually describe the way their eyes feel, as ‘uncomfortable’ and ‘tight’, rather than painful in the initial recovery stages. Bruising and swelling can also be minimised by patients keeping their head elevated during rest and sleep in the first two to three days following surgery and by the regular postoperative use of cold compresses. Artificial tears are also provided to smooth irritation.
In the early days following discharge, patients are strongly advised to avoid any level of activity that would put undue strain on the newly operated areas, to keep their hands and fingers away from their eyes and to pay meticulous attention to their personal hygiene.
Patients will also be advised to take a specific amount of recovery time away from work, dependent on the type of work they perform. Patients are asked to avoid direct sunbathing on the eye area for at least 12 months following surgery due to sensitivity to sunlight. Initially it is good practice to wear sun glasses.
Are there any risks involved in bleparoplasty surgery?
All surgery involves an element of risk from developing complications. However, cosmetic surgery is usually undertaken voluntarily and only when a patient is in good health. Therefore, the probability of experiencing complications following this kind of surgery are substantially lower than for those who undergo surgery due to ill health.
The importance of a thorough pre-operative consultation with the actual consultant surgeon who will perform your operation cannot be over stressed. You need time to consider all the benefits and risks of blepharoplasty surgery and the opportunity to reflect and consider all the information the surgeon offers you before you make a decision regarding your potential surgery.
Risks such as healing, dry eye, red eye, optical changes and scarring will all be discussed openly at consultation, as well as our scrupulous efforts to manage and minimise these risks to their lowest possible potential.
Due to the additional healing and infection risks experienced by patients who smoke, heavy smokers may be precluded from having eye surgery until they cease or substantially reduce their cigarette intake. This is due to the blood supply to tissue and coughing post operatively.
The fine incisions made during this procedure are generally well hidden and discreet. However, the appearance of scars, which generally fade progressively after surgery, are a highly individual matter and cannot be guaranteed.
Each consultation is tailored to an individual’s needs, but the process will always involve a thorough evaluation of your present and past medical history and physical examination of the problem area. Your consultant plastic or specialist surgeon will take time to listen to your concerns and will take care to ensure that you have a thorough understanding of what can be done to help, the procedure itself, the recovery stages and a clear explanation of the risks involved.
You are positively encouraged to ask any questions that you may have and to look at photographs of others who have had the same type of surgery that you are considering. If you would find it helpful, our advisory team may be able to arrange for you to speak with a previous patient who is willing to discuss their experience with you over the telephone.
To find out more about our Cosmetic Surgery procedures, please contact us via our online form or call us on 01462 410 002.