Many men and women have benefited from blepharoplasty, which is more commonly referred to as eyelid surgery. As one of the most experienced Pittsburgh cosmetic eyelid surgeons, Dr. Lazzaro performs this procedure to give patients a more rested, youthful appearance.
What is blepharoplasty?
Blepharoplasty is a procedure that removes fat and excess skin from the eye area. Eyelid surgery can correct drooping upper eyelids and bags below your eyes that can make you appear older and more tired than you actually feel. Droopy eyelids may even interfere with your vision.
Who is a good candidate for blepharoplasty?
The best candidates for eyelid surgery are men and women who are physically healthy and realistic in their surgical expectations. Most patients who undergo eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) are 35 or older, but if droopy eyelids run in your family you may need this done sooner. Any medical conditions of the eye should be brought to Dr. Lazzaro’s attention for evaluation.
Are there any risks involved?
When eyelid surgery is performed by a qualified plastic surgeon, complications are infrequent and usually minor. As with any surgery, there is always the risk of infection, but we take steps to minimize this potential risk. You can reduce risks by following the instructions you are given both before and after your surgery. Also, patients who smoke are at increased risk of poor healing. We advise that you stop smoking several weeks prior to and after surgery to allow proper healing.
How do I plan for eyelid surgery?
During your initial consultation, it is very important to discuss with Dr. Lazzaro your expectations of the surgery. He will review your medical history; be sure to tell him about any medical conditions of the eye you may have. It is also very important to disclose the use of any medications, including vitamins and herbal supplements, as well as alcohol, tobacco and drug usage. The eyelid surgery technique and anesthesia that will be used for your surgery is discussed at this visit.
Most insurance does not cover blepharoplasty; however, if drooping upper eyelids affect your vision, you may be entitled to insurance coverage for the procedure. We often recommend asking your eye doctor for a visual fields test to see if the excessive skin is affecting your vision. The results of the testing can then be sent to your insurance company to get your surgery approved. Your patient coordinator will go into further detail with you at the time of your consultation.
What happens during eyelid surgery?
Blepharoplasty will usually take one to two hours, depending on the extent of your surgery. Typically the procedure is performed under a MAC/sedation anesthesia. For the upper eyelids, Dr. Lazzaro will make the incision along the natural crease of your eyelids. This allows repositioning of fat deposits, muscle and underlying tissue and removal of excess skin to create a firmer upper eyelid contour.
The incision for the lower eyelids will be placed just below your lash line, however if the surgeon uses a transconjunctival approach, then the incision will be made on the inside of the lower lid. Through these incisions, fat is redistributed or excess skin and fat is removed and the incision is finally closed with very small sutures. If your under eye bags or heavy eyelids are caused only by the presence of excess fat, then no skin will be removed during surgery.
What happens after the blepharoplasty procedure?
Following eyelid surgery, lubricating ointment and/or cold compresses may be applied. (TIP: a bag of frozen peas work great as ice packs for the eyes!) You will return to our office in about five days to have the sutures removed. You will be instructed to keep your head elevated to help reduce any swelling or discomfort. Pain medication will be prescribed to help with any discomfort you may experience, which is usually minimal. You will want to limit your activities for the first several days including watching TV or reading, allowing your eyes to rest.
How long is the recovery after eyelid surgery?
Most of our patients feel ready to go out in public or back to work in about one week to 10 days. This will depend on the amount of bruising you are comfortable with people seeing. You should not wear your contacts for a couple of weeks following surgery. You will want to take it easy for the first three to five days, and avoid strenuous activities for about three weeks. Healing is a gradual process, and scars will eventually become virtually invisible.
Can I combine blepharoplasty with other procedures?*
For a stunning cosmetic enhancement, blepharoplasty can be combined with other surgical or non-surgical procedures.
In some cases, browlift surgery, rather than blepharoplasty, may best address your facial sagging. Browlift surgery smoothes out forehead creases and lifts the eyebrows back into proper position, which can reduce upper eyelid laxity, much like upper eyelid surgery. At your consultation, Dr. Lazzaro will examine your face and, based on the nature of your facial sagging, will recommend the best procedure or combination of procedures for you.