What is an eyelid reduction?
Blepharoplasty surgery – often referred to as an ‘eyelid reduction’ or ‘eyelid lift’ – is a surgical procedure that improves the appearance of the eyelid by removing loose skin and reducing the upper eyelid.
Surgery is most commonly performed on the upper eyelids, but can also be performed on the lower eyelids; or both at the same time.
In addition to improving and rejuvenating your appearance - reducing the heavy-lidded, tired look that some people notice as they age - blepharoplasty surgery can also provide functional improvements, in cases where the eyelids hang down and impair the eyes’ field of vision.
What does blepharoplasty surgery treat?
Eyelid surgery specifically addresses:
- loose or saggy skin that creates folds or disturbs the natural contour of the upper eyelid
- impaired vision due to excess upper eyelid skin
- excess fatty deposits that appear as puffiness, either in the upper or lower eyelids
- bags under the eyes
- drooping lower eyelids that reveal white below the iris
- excess skin and fine wrinkles around the eyes
- forehead wrinkles caused by overuse of forehead muscles unconsciously being used to raise the eyebrows and elevate eyelid skin out of the line of sight
See also: Brow Lift Injections
Depending on your anatomy, blepharoplasty surgery may be classified as either a ‘medical’ procedure (with a Medicare item number) or a ‘cosmetic’ procedure, which is not eligible for a Medicare item number or private health fund coverage.
I want to improve my vision
If your vision is impaired by excess upper eyelid skin, blepharoplasty surgery may improve your vision - and the sore eyes and headaches that often come along with obstructed sight.
I want to look less tired
Blepharoplasty surgery won’t ensure a good night’s sleep, but it can reduce the tire, worn appearance the comes with loose upper eyelid skin hanging over the lid fold - or large bags under the eyes.
I want to look fresher
Blepharoplasty reduces the saggy skin that disturbs the natural contour of the eyelid, opening the eyes and removing the droopy-lidded look that can prematurely age the face.
Why have an eyelid reduction?
The goals of blepharoplasty surgery are unique to every patient, and can include:
- To create a more refreshed facial appearance
- Removal of excess skin or fat
- Improvement in vision
- Revision of existing scars
Like any surgery, the decision to undergo blepharoplasty surgery should be made firstly for yourself - and not to meet the aesthetic expectations of anyone else. While it is a very safe procedure, it nonetheless carries risks and is not right for everyone. Having an eyelid reduction will improve your appearance, and you may experience a confidence-boost as part of this, but it alone should not be used as a tool to address self esteem.
Am I a good candidate for eyelid reduction?
In general, good candidates for eyelid surgery include:
- Healthy individuals who do not have a life-threatening illness or medical condition that impairs healing
- People whose vision is impaired due to the heaviness or excess skin on their upper eyelid
- People with a healthy, positive outlook and specific goals in mind for eyelid surgery
- Individuals without serious eye conditions
Remember that the eyelids are part of the face, so the appearance of a sagging upper lid could also be due to relaxation of the forehead skin and eyebrow. Sometimes a drooping eyelid is caused by stretching of one of the upper eyelid muscles, called the ‘elevator’ muscle.
Dr Sharp will evaluate your anatomy to determine the causes of your eyelid appearance, and to explain which surgical approach will best address your concerns.
What does an eyelid reduction involve?
An eyelid surgery procedure includes the following steps:
Step 1 – Anesthesia
Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedure. The choices include intravenous sedation or general anesthesia. Your doctor will recommend the best choice for you.
Step 2 – The incision
The incision lines for blepharoplasty surgery are designed to conceal the resultant scars within the natural structures of the eyelid. The upper eyelid can be corrected through an incision within the crease on the eyelid, allowing for removal or repositioning of fat deposits, tightening of muscles and removal of excess skin.
The lower eyelid may be corrected with an incision just below the lower lash line; through this incision, excess skin or fat in the lower eyelid is removed. Again, the excess fat can be repositioned or removed. A transconjunctival incision, created on the inside of the lower eyelid, is an alternate technique to correct lower eyelid conditions and redistribute or remove excess fat. With this technique, no skin is removed. The surgical technique most suitable to achieve your desired results will be discussed with Dr Sharp during your pre operative consultations.
Step 3 – Closing the incisions
Eyelid incisions typically are closed with:
- Removable sutures
- Skin adhesives
- Surgical tape
Step 4 – See the results
The results of eyelid surgery will appear gradually as swelling and bruising subside to reveal a smooth, better-defined eyelid and surrounding region, and an alert and rejuvenated appearance.
After surgery, Dr Sharp may suggest the use of Fraxel Dual resurfacing laser to remove sun damage and stimulate collagen and elastin production, firming and tightening the skin around the eyes and removing age spots and sun damage. If you have poor skin condition or excessive sun damage, he may also refer you to our dermal clinician, to discuss a skincare regime that can reduce scarring and support your surgical results with optimal concentrations of active ingredients. Cosmetic wrinkle injections can also be used periodically to gently relax muscles that cause crows feet, lines and wrinkles - while naturally lifting the brow to create a beautiful, subtle arch that opens the appearance of the eye.
above: before and three months after blepharoplasty surgery with Dr Sharp
The scar is strategically placed by Dr Sharp to blend into the natural folds of your eyes.
How to maintain your blepharoplasty results
As with all surgery, optimal healing is dependent upon healthy nutrition, an active lifestyle and good attitude towards your body.
Dr Sharp and his team can also medically support your results after blepharoplasty surgery through the non surgical treatments available at his Greenslopes Private Hospital and Ipswich clinics, including:
- Fraxel Dual resurfacing laser to remove sun damage and stimulate collagen and elastin production, firming and tightening the skin around the eyes and removing age spots and sun damage
- Dr David Sharp skincare: specially formulated to reduce scarring and support your surgical results with optimal concentrations of active ingredients.
- Cosmetic wrinkle injections to gently relax muscles that cause crows feet, lines and wrinkles - while naturally lifting the brow to create a beautiful, subtle arch that opens the appearance of the eye.
Contact our experienced clinicians on 3202 4744 to find out more.
How do I choose my blepharoplasty surgeon?
Blepharoplasty surgery is very safe and performed frequently by plastic surgeons in Brisbane. However, it is nonetheless a surgical procedure – and should, therefore, be performed by a qualified surgeon.
Choosing the right person to operate on your face is of upmost importance. Eyelid reduction surgery should be performed by a qualified plastic surgeon who is registered as a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. You can confirm your surgeon’s credentials here
Dr David Sharp is a qualified plastic surgeon with a special interest in reconstructive and cosmetic plastic surgery, including facial surgery. His personalised approach means that you receive plenty of pre operative time with him to discuss your specific body goals and any questions - and post operative support that goes above and beyond to ensure you are assisted through the recovery phase of your surgery.
It’s normal to feel both nervous - and an excited sense of anticipation - when planning your blepharoplasty surgery. Making a decision based upon how quickly you can get it done - or getting the cheapest ‘deal’ on your surgery - is not the best criteria to use when choosing your surgeon. Investigate your surgeon’s credentials, consult at least two surgeons and make a decision based on the doctor that you feel most comfortable moving forward with.
Your surgeon should take the time to ensure your concerns are understood and addressed, that you have all the information you need to make an educated decision - and create a customised solution to suit your face and expectations.
What kind of anaesthetic will I have for a blepharoplasty?
Eyelid reduction surgery can be performed under local anaesthetic or sedation, however, for patient comfort, Dr Sharp usually recommends general anaesthesia.
Combined eyelid reduction + facelift
Facelift surgery is often performed in conjunction with blepharoplasty surgery. When surgically appropriate, these two procedures combined can create a significantly improved appearance to the face, where excess, thinning skin, jowls, loose upper eyelids or bags under the eyes create a tired, stressed or hollowed appearance. Subtle changes to the eyes, mid face and lower face can harmonise your appearance and create a naturally rejuvenated aesthetic.
Risks and complications of eyelid surgery
Like any surgery, it is important to weigh the benefits against the inherent risks. While blepharoplasty surgery is very common, it also carries the potential of complications. Your pre-operative consultations with Dr Sharp will enable him to discuss potential complications with you, and help you determine whether the surgery is right for you. Possible complications of blepharoplasty surgery include:
- Excessive swelling and bruising
- Dryness to the eyes
- Post operative infection
- Discoloured or keloid scars
- Slow or poor wound healing
- Skin or fat necrosis
- Numbness or sensory changes
- Difficulty closing your eyes
- Rolling out (or ‘ectropian’) of the eyelid
- Wound separation (dehiscence)
- Asymmetry (lopsided) appearance
- Persistent pain
- General anaesthesia risks
- Swelling or accumulated fluid
- Skin looseness (especially if significant weight loss occurs)
Complications are rare, and Dr Sharp and his team manage each of these risks with the upmost care to further reduce the likelihood of them occurring. In the event they do occur, most can be treated quickly and easily with prompt intervention.
Everyone’s body responds differently to surgery. In some cases, post operative revision surgery might be required.
Some factors, such as weight, lifestyle or health problems can increase the chance of a complication occurring. Dr Sharp will take time to learn about your potential risk factors during your pre operative consultations, and will determine if they are relevant to your surgery.
If you have any concerns regarding your blepharoplasty and the associated risks, feel free to book additional pre operative consultations with Dr Sharp.
How long will I have to stay in the hospital after blepharoplasty surgery?
Blepharoplasty is usually performed as a day procedure, meaning you can go home on the day of surgery - if you have the required support during the first 24 hours postoperatively. Dr Sharp will discuss the considerations and preparations that need to be made to ensure you are suitable for day surgery. Our care includes access to our 24/7 practice nurse to support you after day surgery, so you can call her anytime you have questions or concerns after your procedure.
Eyelid reduction recovery
During your eyelid surgery recovery, our scar optimising gel and cold compresses may be applied.
You will be given specific instructions that may include how to care for your eyes, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your overall health, and the dates of your post-operative appointments. Initial healing may include some swelling, bruising, irritation or dry eyes. Most discomfort can be controlled with medication, cold compresses, and the postoperative scar reduction product you are provided with after surgery; you may also experience irritation at the incision sites.
Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your individual recovery period.
- When will I be able to go home after my surgery?
- What can I do when I go home - what activities should I avoid?
- What medication will I be prescribed after surgery?
- Will I have dressings after surgery?
- Are stitches removed, and if so, when?
- When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
- When do I return for my post operative appointments?
Eyelid surgery recovery & sun protection
Diligent sun protection and use of sunglasses is important during - and after - the healing period.
How much time should I take off work?
You will be very swollen for the first week after surgery and may find your vision is impeded. You may also have a very bruised appearance in the eye and upper face area. Most patients find they can comfortably return to work within 2 weeks of surgery, however, your job requirements, physical activity and exposure to potential irritants or injury should be taken into consideration, and should be discussed with Dr Sharp. Keep in mind that you will appear swollen for several weeks after surgery, and may find signs of swelling continue to abate over several months following surgery.
How much do eyelid reductions cost?
Potential costs include:
- Dr Sharp’s surgeon’s
- Anaesthetist’s fee
- Assistant’s fee
- Theatre costs
Blepharoplasty for cosmetic reasons is not covered by most private health insurers. However, in some cases, your surgery might be classified as medically required, and therefore be eligible for coverage under a Medicare item number. If so, you might be eligible to claim a rebate from Medicare, as well as your private health fund.
After your consultation with Dr Sharp, if there’s a possibility that your surgery meets Medicare’s criteria, you will be provided with an item number. We recommend you contact your health insurance provider and ask them if you are covered for plastic surgery, particularly siting the item number provided.
It is important to understand that, in the case of complications or revision surgery, the cost of your blepharoplasty will extend to future surgical procedures and hospitalisations. We encourage patients to think about how they would fund further treatment beyond the immediate costs expected.
How long do blepharoplasty results last?
Your result will turn back the clock - but they will not halt the ageing process, and therefore you may find that in 5 to 10 years you notice loose skin forming on your upper eyelids again, requiring further blepharoplasty surgery.
Maintaining a consistent weight, healthy lifestyle and effective skincare regime will assist you in getting the most longevity out of your results.