Eyelid surgery is frequently performed at our AAAHC approved surgical facility under the care of our board certified anesthesiologist either with a general anesthetic or an IV sedation technique. The procedure lasts approximately 1 to 1-1/2 hours and up to 2-1/2 hours if upper and lower eyelid procedures are combined. The surgeon meticulously removes excess skin and removes or repositions normal fat which has begun to protrude from a thin septum that is underneath the muscular layer. Fine suturing to close the wounds results in very minimal scar and improvement in appearance of the eyes. Specialized eye shields are utilized during surgery to protect the globe. Complications include visual changes, asymmetry, relaxation or drooping of the lower eyelid, which is usually temporary and notable only during lower eyelid surgery. Also, temporary inability to completely close the eye may occur transiently.
Eyelid surgery is not terribly painful but is more uncomfortable because of limitation of eye movement in the first few days. Often the bandages are more of a nuisance than the actual discomfort from the surgery. Some degree of swelling and occasionally bruising can be expected and lasts anywhere from 7-10 days with some residual bruising potentially possible for up to 2 weeks. After the initial discomfort, recovery is rapid and most patients can return to normal day-to-day activities in 2 weeks. Strenuous exercise is avoided for 4 weeks and planning for social events should be delayed for 4 weeks as well.
Q: Can I get insurance to pay for my blepharoplasty?
A: Upper blepharoplasty is sometimes covered by insurance if you can demonstrate visual field deficit which usually is for peripheral vision caused by lateral hooding of the upper eyelids. Another option is to prove a limitation of upward gaze which is typically from excess upper eyelid skin. Visual field testing must be performed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. Photographs and notation of these visual field deficits have to be provided to the insurance company before approval can be determined. Sometimes, brow ptosis or drooping is the culprit, but, most insurance companies will not pay for a formal brow lift.
Q: How can I remove the skin lines under my eyes?
A: Fine-line wrinkles around the eyes are not necessarily well treated with a lower blepharoplasty. Lower blepharoplasty more accurately addresses excessive loose skin and fatty protrusion. Improvement in lower eyelid skin may involve a combination of dermal fillers, appropriate skin care regimens, facial peels, laser treatments and noninvasive skin tightening such as Thermage. Although lower blepharoplasty does help smooth the lower eyelid, excessive tightening to attempt to completely remove these wrinkles can lead to eyelid shape changes that can be quite distressing.