What is Eyelid Surgery?

J. Laird

Eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty, involves the removal of excess tissue of the eyelids, which is intended to improve function and overall cosmetic appearance. Results may provide a younger, fresher and revitalized look, as well as an improved field of vision. Blepharoplasty is a cosmetic procedure performed on the upper eyelids, lower eyelids, or both. Most people receiving eyelid surgery are looking to correct droopy upper eyelids, or puffiness and bags below the eye.

Surgery may be performed to remove excess tissue of the eyelids.
Surgery may be performed to remove excess tissue of the eyelids.

Eyelid surgeries are typically performed by a plastic surgeon. Before the operation, the surgeon will meet with the patient to discuss their intentions, compile their medical history, and conduct a physical exam. Each surgery is tailored to the individual based upon the patient’s expectations in combination with the surgeon’s opinion and expertise. Factors influencing the surgery include patient age, medical history, current medications, tobacco use, ethnicity, and skin type.

A scalpel is a small, sharp knife that is used for performing surgeries.
A scalpel is a small, sharp knife that is used for performing surgeries.

Most cosmetic surgeries are not covered by insurance when done purely for cosmetic reasons. Patients may receive insurance payment on eyelid surgeries determined to be medically necessary. Cost of the procedure will vary based upon the extent of the procedure and the specific plastic surgeon involved.

Surgery begins with the patient being sedated or placed under general anesthesia. Incisions are made along existing skin lines and folds to minimize scaring. Excess skin, fat and muscle are removed or repositioned during the procedure. The incision is then closed cosmetically using absorbable sutures, non-absorbable sutures, adhesive, or surgical tape. On certain lower eyelid surgeries, an incision may be made on the back of the eyelid to avoid any external incision or scaring.

How much time the surgery will take varies based on the procedure and surgeon, but can be expected to take one to three hours under normal conditions. Swelling and bruising can be expected for one to two weeks following the procedure. Final appearance will begin to appear within the first month, and surgical lines may take six months to a year to fade to the fullest extent.

Prior to the surgery, the surgeon meets with the patient to conduct a physical exam.
Prior to the surgery, the surgeon meets with the patient to conduct a physical exam.

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