Eyelid surgery: the keys to a good procedure

Eyelid surgery, also known as blepharoplasty, is an operation aimed at correcting drooping eyelids and bags under the eyes. However, the technique does not eliminate crow’s feet, wrinkles, nor does it lift sagging eyebrows or eliminate dark circles under the eyes. For this reason, blepharoplasty can be done alone or in conjunction with other treatments, such as a facelift or forehead lift.

Who is a good candidate for blepharoplasty?

Candidates for this surgery are those who are looking to improve their appearance in the eye area. Also, the patient must be in good health, have psychological stability and be realistic in terms of expectations.

Normally, patients who decide to have surgery have a family tendency to have bags and usually decide to have the operation at age 35 or older. Blepharoplasty provides security and improve the appearance, although there are some medical factors, such as thyroid problems, lack of tears, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, which is necessary to discuss previously with the plastic surgeon.

Within the ocular pathologies, it is also necessary to take into account if the patient suffers from glaucoma or retinal detachment, since it may pose a risk for the operation. For this reason, it is necessary to visit the ophthalmologist before the surgery.

How do we plan the surgery?

Communication with the surgeon is essential for the best results. In the first check-up, basic health tests are performed and vision and tear production are evaluated. Likewise, the surgeon must also know if the patient smokes, has allergies to any medication….

During the visit, the possibility of operating on the four eyelids, the lower and upper ones, and if any other procedure is necessary, will be studied. The patient is explained the techniques and the type of anesthesia to be used, the risks and the cost of the intervention.

The plastic surgeon will also give the patient specific instructions on how to prepare for surgery, including dietary guidelines to be followed during the days prior to surgery. Following the specialist’s advice will guarantee good results.

What does the surgery consist of?

Blepharoplasty is performed under local anesthesia with sedation or general anesthesia, depending on the patient, and optimal safety measures. It is not usually necessary to be admitted to the clinic a few hours after surgery.

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The procedure lasts about 2 hours, and if all four eyelids are to be performed, the upper eyelids are started. In many cases, the incisions are placed in the natural lines of the eyelids, just below the eyelashes. Through these incisions the skin is separated from the surrounding fat and muscle and the excess fat, skin and muscle are removed. Once completed, the incisions are closed with very fine sutures.

Return to normal

After the procedure, an ointment will be applied to the eyes to lubricate them and surgical dressings will be applied. The patient may have discomfort on the eyelids; if there is any, it is easily relieved with medication (if you have severe or persistent pain you should inform the specialist). The stitches are removed after 4 to 6 days, although the edema and hematomas will gradually diminish until they disappear completely, and you will begin to look and feel much better. You will also need to keep your head elevated for a few days after surgery and apply cold compresses to reduce swelling and bruising.

The specialist and his team will teach you how to wash your eyes and you will be told if you should apply eye drops to maintain good hydration in the area. During the first few weeks you may notice excessive tearing, hypersensitivity to light and temporary changes in visual acuity, such as blurred or double vision.

Most patients who undergo this surgery begin reading or watching television in 2 to 3 days. However, you will not be able to wear contact lenses for 2 weeks, and even then you may feel uncomfortable for a while. You can usually return to work in about 7-10 days. You may need to wear sunglasses for a few weeks and apply sunscreen to your eyelids. In addition, you have to maintain a relative rest for 3 to 5 days and avoid strenuous activities for 3 weeks.

As for the scars, they may have a pinkish appearance during the first months, although if the advice is followed, they will gradually disappear until they become a clear, almost invisible line.