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What is Eyelid Plastic Surgery?

By Harriette Halepis
Updated May 17, 2024
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Blepharoplasty, also referred to as eyelid plastic surgery, is a type of elective surgery that involves the removal of unwanted fat and tissue from the eyelid area. In most cases, eyelid plastic surgery is purely cosmetic, though this type of surgery can also be necessary. When a person cannot see clearly due to an abundance of eyelid skin, this skin must be removed in order to restore vision.

A blepharoplasty procedure usually includes minor incisions made to the eyelid area. Once these incisions have been made, any unwanted amount of eyelid fat can be easily removed. Most eyelid plastic surgery procedures do not last more than three hours, and many patients are able to recover from this type of surgery within weeks. During recovery time, patients may experience soreness, bruising, and swelling, though these symptoms often dissipate within days.

Even though eyelid plastic surgery is often sought for cosmetic reasons, this type of surgery was originally developed as a way to combat cancer. Around the year 1818, a man by the name of Karl Ferdinand von Gräfe termed the removal of fat and skin from the eyelid area "blepharoplasty." Grafe's original intent was to reverse the effects of eyelid cancer by altering the appearance of cancer-ridden eyelids. While Grafe was the first person to name the actual procedure, historians believe that the Ancient Egyptians performed a similar procedure many centuries ago.

Archaeologists have discovered drawings on rolls of papyrus that depict early surgical procedures. It has been estimated that the Ancient Egyptians were skilled when it came to skin grafts, and that the Ancient Greeks and Romans drew from the Egyptians in order to perform similar surgeries. Whether or not the Egyptians were as skilled as modern doctors are when it comes to eyelid plastic surgery is debatable, but the fact remains that surgical procedures are not entirely contemporary.

Anyone wishing to undergo eyelid plastic surgery should take the time to find the right cosmetic surgeon. While there are many surgeons throughout the world, it is best to seek a surgeon with a proven track record. In addition, a person should feel entirely comfortable with a plastic surgeon prior to undergoing any type of surgery.

Through a consultation with a plastic surgeon, prospective blepharoplasty patients can gain further information into this procedure. In fact, all plastic surgeons should consult with prospective patients free of charge. Most eyelid plastic surgery patients see immediate changes following this surgery, though some complications, such as intense swelling, can occur.

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