What is an eyelid lift (blepharoplasty)?

An eyelid lift (blepharoplasty) is a great way to restore youthfulness to droopy or baggy eyes. People who have this problem frequently complain of looking tired or angry. This is the result of aging and genetics. An eyelid lift (blepharoplasty) will address the upper and/or the lower eyelids to reverse these signs.


How is an eyelid lift (blepharoplasty) performed?

A blepharoplasty can take between 1 and 3 hours depending on whether the upper vs. lower eyelids vs. both are performed. This procedure addresses either the upper or lower eyelids with separate goals in mind. In the upper eyelid, excessive skin is usually cut out along with a small amount of fat. Sometimes, Dr. Panossian may recommend fat injection into the upper eyelid in the case of someone with a gaunt appearance or deep eye sockets. The incision hides beautifully in a natural crease along the upper eyelids. If the muscle involved in upper eyelid elevation is weak or the eyelid itself is droopy, Dr. Panossian will correct this simultaneously. 

Upper eyelid surgery schematic, blepharoplasty.

Dr. Panossian also performs Asian blepharoplasty to re-create an upper eyelid crease. This crease is frequently absent in Asian cultures. This procedure, although simple, does require precision and attention to detail in order to avoid obliterating a person’s ethnic features.

A lower blepharoplasty addresses the bags underneath the eyes. Specifically, the goal is to remove the excess fat underneath the lower eyelids which occurs as gravity and age-related weakening of the support structures takes over. Dr. Panossian prefers to reposition the fat over the lower portion of the eyelid whenever possible to correct this issue permanently. The incision is placed through the inner lining of the lower eyelid (transconjunctival) or directly underneath the lower eyelid lashes and can extend sometimes into the natural crow’s feet wrinkles. The muscle of the lower eyelid is also tightened during this time, further reinforcing the lift aspect of the surgery. 

Both the upper and lower blepharoplasty procedures can be combined with other facial procedures such as a facelift, brow lift, or neck lift. The end result is total facial rejuvenation.


What is the recovery?

Postoperative appearance of upper eyelid after blepharoplasty.An eyelid lift is an outpatient procedure. Pain is usually minimal is controlled well with oral medication. There are no bandages needed. The incisions are simply lubricated special ophthalmic ointment. Dr. Panossian may also recommend artificial tears or eyedrops to relieve dryness, burning, or itching. Light sensitivity, watery eyes, and slight blurring or double vision may occur for several days to weeks following surgery. Keep your head elevated for several days and use cold compresses to control swelling and bruising, if present. Stitches are removed in the first week following surgery. 

There is to be no strenuous activity or heavy lifting for up to 3 weeks. However, most patients feel ready to return to work between 7 and 10 days following surgery. At that point, you can use makeup to conceal any bruising, if present. Use sunglasses to protect your eyes.


What are the risks and complications?

Complications from blepharoplasty procedures are infrequent when performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon. Dr. Panossian is a facial plastic surgery expert and can deliver excellent results with minimal risk of complications. Minor complications can, however, occur such as double or blurred vision. This usually lasts only a few days. A small pimple or whitehead may form along the incision where the stitches were placed. Dr. Panossian can take care of this in the office very easily, if necessary.

More severe complications are extremely rare, but can include difficulty in closing the eyes. A related problem is a persistent pulling down of the lower eyelids (or, ectropion). This can follow lower eyelid surgery but usually resolves with supportive taping of the eyelid.

In order to avoid these issues, Dr. Panossian requires strict adherence to pre- and postoperative instructions. Additional instructions are provided under the Pre-and Postoperative General Instructions section. Dr. Panossian and his staff are available at all times to address emergencies or to clarify any pre- or postoperative instructions.