Very commonly, individuals seeking advice from a plastic surgeon about their aging appearances first focus their attention on their eyelids. Their concern is drawn to their droopy upper eyelids and baggy lower lids. Although corrective surgery for these problems will be discussed during their consultations, it is also important to address the adjacent facial zones because they directly affect the eyelid appearance. The eyes are like islands surrounded by the rest of the face. Their appearance is strongly influenced by what is going on around them. When the forehead sags, it spills more skin into the upper lid zone making them look considerably worse than they really are. On the opposite side of the eyes, gravity draws the cheeks down, leaving a depression in the lower lid zone. These anatomical relationships must be thoroughly considered first prior to focusing the consultation on the upper and lower lids.
What are the benefits of eyelid surgery?
Eyelid surgery, medically referred to as blepharoplasty, can be significantly advantageous for patients who would like to improve signs of age, exhaustion, and other concerns around the eyes. Depending on your unique needs, eyelid surgery can be performed in the upper eyelid areas, the lower eyelid areas, or both in combination. Some of the benefits of eyelid surgery include:
- Reduction of excess fat or sagging skin in areas around the eyes
- Correction of under-eye bags/bulges; these may go hand in hand with signs of dark circles or shadows under the eyes
- Correction of excess skin/fat hanging over the eyes that may be causing a visual obstruction
- Smoother skin and a more youthful, rested appearance around the eyes
Once Dr. Okamoto has examined you and talked with you about your goals, he will determine whether eyelid surgery is the most ideal procedure for your needs, or whether an alternative procedure would be more in keeping with your expectations. For many patients, procedures such as browlift or injectable dermal fillers can serve as a complement to eyelid surgery for a more comprehensive facial rejuvenation. If you are interested in additional procedures, Dr. Okamoto will be happy to answer your questions about those options at the initial consultation.
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Upper blepharoplasties involve removal of excessive fat and skin. The incisions are placed in natural skin folds so that the resultant scars are rarely noticed once appropriate healing has occurred.
Lower lid blepharoplasties are more complex due to anatomical concerns and individual differences in presentation. Several factors must be weighed during this procedure. Attention must be given to the existing lower lid supporting structure if post-operative sagging is to be prevented. If laxity is noted in the lower lid pre-operatively, added support to the lid must be accomplished before removing the excess skin. Additionally, numerous options arise when dealing with the lower lid fat. At times, the excess fat is simply removed. At other times, it is transposed from one position to another to fill out hollowed areas that frequently exist. Sometimes no surgery is appropriate for the fat. Almost all the patients in our Facelift Gallery have had Lower Lid Blepharoplasties.
Unlike their Caucasian counterpart, some Asian upper eyelids lack a curvilinear skin crease above the lash line, technically known as the supratarsal fold. When this fold is surgically produced, it substantially alters the presentation of the eyes in a way that many Asians desire. The eyes appear larger, an effect that many consider a cosmetic asset. Creation of the supratarsal fold is known as an Asian blepharoplasty.
Eyelid Surgery Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What does the eyelid surgery procedure typically involve?
The surgical approach will ultimately depend on whether the procedure is performed for the upper eyelids, lower eyelids, or both. During the initial consultation, Dr. Okamoto will talk with you about what the treatment will entail and explain all risks and benefits involved. He will also discuss the types of anesthesia that will be necessary and what you can expect on the day of the procedure. The surgery is typically performed on an outpatient basis and takes between one to three hours to complete, depending on the extent of the procedure and whether both upper and lower eyelid areas are being treated simultaneously.
How noticeable will the scars be?
One of the many advantages of eyelid surgery procedures is that the incisions are generally quite small and placed in inconspicuous areas. With the combination of Dr. Okamoto’s intricate surgical skills and advanced eyelid surgery techniques, residual scarring should become virtually unnoticeable.
What about the recovery process?
Patients can expect some degree of temporary bruising and swelling after eyelid surgery; however, a cold compress can often be useful for reducing these effects. Any discomfort or tightness around the eyes after the procedure can be alleviated with pain medication. Keeping your head elevated when possible is recommended for several days following eyelid surgery. Contact lenses and eye makeup should be avoided for at least two to three weeks, and strenuous exercise should also be avoided for at least three weeks. While every individual heals at different rates, many patients are able to resume most normal daily routines within 10 days.
When will the results be visible?
The initial results should be noticeable very soon after surgery. The full effects of the procedure should become apparent after several weeks. It is important to strictly follow post-operative and recovery instructions to reduce the potential for complications or an extended healing process.
How long will results last?
For many individuals, the effects of eyelid surgery can last at least 10 to 15 years with the proper care. This requires maintaining a good skin care regimen for areas around the eyes. Moisturizing your skin regularly, applying sunscreen on a daily basis, and giving up smoking can go a long way toward keeping your skin healthy and fresh for longer and longer periods.
What is the best age to have eyelid surgery?
Eyelid surgery can be beneficial for a number of aesthetic concerns, so patients in a variety of age ranges may be eligible for this procedure. While signs of age are often the impetus for one’s desire to undergo blepharoplasty, other factors may be sources of a patient’s concern as well. Typically, we see individuals around 40 years of age or older request this facial plastic surgery procedure, but it’s truly dependent on a person’s unique needs and goals. Our plastic surgeon will evaluate you during the initial consultation and help you determine if eyelid surgery is an ideal treatment for your concerns.
If you have questions regarding eyelid surgery or other procedures offered here at Fremont Plastic Surgery, or if you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Eric Okamoto, please contact us today.