With eyelid surgery, our board-certified plastic surgeon, Daniel Mills, MD, can help both men and women address sagging skin and signs of age and exhaustion in the upper and lower eyelid areas. This advanced treatment can give these areas, which are often some of the first to exhibit noticeable indications of aging, a more youthful and rested appearance. Our customized eyelid surgery procedures can help you achieve your goals with results that look natural, ultimately providing the regions around the eyes with a smoother and more refreshed aesthetic.
What Is Blepharoplasty?
Blepharoplasty, also referred to as eyelid surgery or an “eyelid lift,” is a surgical procedure designed to address aesthetic and/or functional concerns affecting areas surrounding the eyes. With blepharoplasty, Dr. Mills can generally reshape the excess fat and drooping skin of the upper eyelids. Additionally, he can minimize bags under the eyes and tighten the lower eyelid skin. While eyelid surgery is frequently performed for cosmetic purposes, the procedure can also benefit patients suffering from limited vision due to excess skin hanging over the eyes.
Most of Dr. Mills’ eyelid surgery patients remark that the procedure resulted in a more rested, refreshed, and happy appearance. Many patients have reported outcomes that looked so natural their friends and family never guessed that surgery was responsible for their rejuvenated aesthetic.
While most people opt to have eyelid surgery to minimize the signs of aging, even some people in their late 20s and early 30s can benefit from the procedure. If you are an ideal candidate for eyelid surgery, Dr. Mills can develop a personalized treatment plan designed to meet your goals and expectations.
What Are the Different Types of Eyelid Surgery?
During your initial consultation, Dr. Mills will talk with you about the various types of eyelid surgery and evaluate your concerns to determine the most ideal option for your needs. The three major types of eyelid surgery are:
Upper eyelid surgery can benefit patients who are experiencing:
- Excess skin that hides the natural fold of the upper eyelids
- Loose skin that hangs down from the upper eyelids
- Puffiness in the upper eyelids (or excess fat)
Lower Eyelid Surgery
Lower eyelid surgery can be ideal for individuals who have:
- Excess skin and fine wrinkles of the lower eyelids
- Puffy “bags” (or excess fat)
It should be noted that crow’s feet, dark circles and/or a sagging brow are not treated with a blepharoplasty, but these conditions may be treated with other procedures. Many patients believe that they only have upper eyelid skin laxity, but oftentimes have a drooping or sagging brow (or a combination of eyelid skin laxity and drooping brow). In this case, Dr. Mills would likely suggest a brow lift (with or without blepharoplasty, depending on the case). He may talk to you about the different types of brow lifts, (i.e. coronal, endoscopic, or lateral browlift) or even midface suspension, if indicated.
View our eyelid surgery before-and-after photo gallery to see the results attained by some of our previous patients. If you would like more information about the facial plastic surgery and non-surgical cosmetic enhancement procedures we offer, please contact Aesthetic Plastic Surgical Institute today.
Ethnic and Asian Eyelid Surgery
Ethnic blepharoplasty refers to the customization of eyelid surgery based on the distinct characteristics of one’s ethnicity. For example, many individuals of Asian descent have an anatomically unique upper eyelid characteristic known as a “single fold,” which is distinguished by either an extremely low-lying crease or no crease at all above the margin of the lid. With Asian blepharoplasty, a crease in the upper lid can be created (or made more prominent) as part of the eyelid surgery procedure, helping to enhance both the size and expressiveness of the eyes for those seeking a more “westernized” appearance.
As with Asian blepharoplasty, Dr. Mills can individually tailor eyelid surgery for men and women of African, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, and various other non-Caucasian descent. Based on your specific needs and desires, he will custom-design an approach that addresses your aesthetic concerns while carefully respecting and/or preserving distinctive attributes of your ethnic heritage.
“You’re staff is the best, I love the service I’m getting! I’m going to talk to Dr. Mills after my surgery about how awesome you guys are- You all were very human, communicative and understanding of your patient’s needs and wants. I will be calling you before surgery for comfort!”*
“I just had my 6-month post-op with Dr. Mills. The results are better than ever and I’m very happy, ecstatic actually! I absolutely LOVE my results! “
What Can I Expect During the Eyelid Surgery Consultation?
In your consultation, Dr. Mills will assess the amount of excess fat and skin in your eyelid areas, the position of your eyebrows, and the condition of the muscles around your eyelids to determine whether you are an ideal candidate for surgery on your upper eyelids (e.g. “upper blepharoplasty”), lower eyelids (“lower blepharoplasty”) or both (“quad blepharoplasty”).
Many patients opt to have eyelid surgery in conjunction with other facial procedures, such as a brow lift to tighten a sagging brow or facelift to smooth out the loose skin of the face and neck. Combined with eyelid surgery, these procedures generally yield a very polished look.
What Does the Blepharoplasty Procedure Involve?
About two weeks prior to surgery, you will meet with our pre-operative patient coordinator. She will review all of your pre-operative instructions with you and make sure that you complete all the necessary lab tests and health screenings, including a “tear test” and possible visual field study. If you are a smoker, you will be advised to quit smoking at least two weeks prior to surgery and not to resume for at least two weeks post-operatively. Additionally, there are certain medications, herbs, and vitamins that we will ask you to cease taking for two weeks prior to surgery and up until two weeks post-surgery. This appointment will also be a time for you to ask any final questions so that you are ready for surgery and have an optimal recovery period.
Prior to your surgery, Dr. Mills suggests that you take the herbal supplements known as Arnica Montana and Bromelain, which can help to reduce swelling, bruising, and inflammation after surgery.
On the day of the procedure, you should allow approximately 1 to 2½ hours for your surgery. (The length of your surgery will depend on whether you do upper or lower blepharoplasty or both.) From the moment that you enter our facility, you will be cared for by Dr. Mills’ experienced surgical team. This team includes Dr. Mills, a nurse anesthetist, a registered nurse, and a surgical technician. This group is committed to providing you with the best care possible from the time you are admitted to the moment you are discharged. Dr. Mills has worked with some of these surgical team members since the beginning of his practice and all members share in his core values and patient care standards.
With an upper blepharoplasty, Dr. Mills typically makes the incision in the natural crease of the eyelid, from the inside corner slightly beyond the outside corner into the crow’s feet or laugh lines. The incision is typically concealed when healed because it follows the natural contour of the upper eyelid.
With a lower blepharoplasty, Dr. Mills conceals the incision just below the lower lashes. Through this incision, he can remove any excess skin, muscle, and fat. Sometimes, Dr. Mills will perform a “transconjunctival blepharoplasty,” placing the incision inside the lower eyelid. This technique does not require an external incision, but is mostly beneficial for patients without excess lower eyelid skin.
Within the last few years, the trend in plastic surgery is to blend or rearrange the tissue and fat to give a better contour and more youthful appearance rather than removing fat of the lower eyelids. This creates a more youthful appearance, instead of a hollow or sunken look. This method can also sometimes help a prominent “tear trough.” Dr. Mills prefers this technique of lower lid blepharoplasty.
Additionally, there are those who have lost tone in their midface who can use this lower eyelid approach to suspend the midface to the brow, and even lend support to the lower lid. This procedure is, however, much more involved and has a typical recovery period of 4-6 weeks.
What Can I Expect During Recovery from Eyelid Surgery?
While healing rates vary by patient, Dr. Mills has seen most individuals feel fairly well within a couple of days. In fact, the recovery period from eyelid surgery is known to be one of the easiest and most comfortable. For the first 72 hours, you will want to elevate your head and keep crushed iced compresses over your eyes non-stop. You will reduce your swelling and bruising around your eyes significantly by following these instructions. The swelling should subside within 7-10 days if you ice continuously for the first three days. You can cover any discoloration with camouflage makeup. Sutures will be removed in 5-7 days post-operatively. Once your sutures are removed and incision lines are healed, Dr. Mills will advise you regarding eye makeup and contact lenses. You need to keep your face out of the sun to avoid permanent bruising for 3-6 months following your surgery. Dr. Mills advises that you not resume any vigorous physical activity for at least four weeks post-operatively.
It is important for you to protect your eyes to ensure proper healing. You need to wear darkly tinted sunglasses to protect your eyes from wind and sun irritation. It is normal to have some dryness for the first few weeks, so Dr. Mills will have you use eye drops frequently during the day and ointment at night for the first month. Also, you will want to be careful with any sun exposure to your face for two weeks before surgery and for six months after surgery. Dr. Mills will recommend that you use a high SPF sunblock on your eyelids to protect your delicate skin for the first six months after your surgery.
Dr. Mills will schedule frequent follow-up visits in the months following your surgery to closely monitor your healing. If you experience any unusual symptoms between visits, we encourage you to call our office.
With blepharoplasty, the complications are infrequent and usually minor. Complications may include excess skin removal, changes in vision, bleeding, swelling, bruising, dryness of the eyes, ectropion, infection, scar, asymmetry, and risks of anesthesia.
You can expect:
- To drive after you are completely off your pain medications and the swelling is down, which is usually about five days.
- To keep your head elevated and continuous crushed ice compresses over your eyes for the first 72 hours. This will help to keep your eyes moist and keep the swelling down.
- To frequently use eye drops prescribed by Dr. Mills during the day (as often as every hour) and ointment at night for the first month.
- To resume normal activities after 5-7 days, depending on how you heal.
- To avoid strenuous workouts for the first four weeks after surgery. (You may start to get your pulse up to 120 after 2-3 weeks.)
- To visit our office frequently in the first several months after your surgery.
- To see your final result after about 3-6 months, after the swelling has subsided.
How Long Do Eyelid Surgery Results Last?
Although the total longevity of outcomes varies among patients, the results of eyelid surgery can last for several years after the procedure. While the natural aging process will continue, most patients can expect to enjoy their new, refreshed appearance for many years to come as long as they take good care of their skin and overall health. This procedure has one of the highest rates of satisfaction with results.
Will I Have Scars After Eyelid Surgery?
Dr. Mills meticulously performs eyelid surgery in a way that scars can be virtually unnoticeable. Incisions are usually placed in natural creases of the eye so that they remain hidden. Scarring can be minimal and is rarely a concern for patients due to Dr. Mills’ careful surgical technique. It is imperative that patients follow the post-operative instructions to help the surgical incisions heal properly and fade well over time.
Are There Non-Surgical Alternatives to Eyelid Surgery?
Currently there are no non-surgical options that offer results equivalent to the specific concerns that can be addressed with eyelid surgery. With that in mind Dr. Mills offers a number of non-surgical techniques that can address certain types of aesthetic conditions around the eyes and create a more youthful and refreshed appearance. Non-surgical treatments such as BOTOX® Cosmetic, Jeuveau™, and Ultherapy® cannot eliminate sagging skin and/or fat on the eyelid areas, but they can smoothen wrinkles and fine lines around the eyes and between the eyebrows. Ultimately, though, if you have drooping skin and/or fat present above and/or below the eyes, there is no alternative to eyelid surgery that can yield the same effective results, or produce outcomes that last as long. Dr. Mills can talk with you about all of your options once he has evaluated your needs during the initial consultation.
How Much Does Blepharoplasty Cost?
The cost of eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) typically falls in the $3,300-$9000 range here at our practice; however, the price varies significantly depending on each patient’s customized treatment. For patients seeking treatment of both the upper and lower eyelids, an all-encompassing blepharoplasty procedure generally costs approximately $7,500. Factors such as the type of eyelid surgery being performed, whether the treatment includes both upper and lower blepharoplasty or just one of those options, the complexity of the surgery, surgeon and facility fees, anesthesia fees, whether other treatments are being performed in combination with eyelid surgery, and other associated components will be taken into account. Ultimately, your cost estimate will be informed by your unique needs and the nature of your cosmetic goals.
One of our friendly patient care coordinators will produce a total cost estimate of your eyelid surgery procedure once your treatment plan is developed during the initial consultation. We are happy to assist you with any questions you may have about the array of payment methods we accept at our practice, and we can talk with you about plastic surgery financing options that can provide qualified applicants with a monthly payment plan designed to make paying for treatment as convenient as possible. In cases where upper eyelid surgery is performed to address a vision obstruction, some insurance policies may offer benefits for the treatment. We can help you determine whether your insurance company provides coverage for eyelid surgery procedures that are considered medically necessary.
Additional Eyelid Surgery Frequently Asked Questions
How quickly can I go back to work?
Most patients can return to work about 5-7 days after their surgery, or after the swelling has subsided and they are no longer on pain medication.
When can I return to using my contact lenses?
You can generally expect to wear your contact lenses after 2-3 weeks, when the chance of your eyes drying out has diminished. Be careful not to put any pressure or tension on the incisions and not to let your eyes dry out too much. Dr. Mills will evaluate each case individually and will tell you specifically when you can use your contact lenses again.
When can I wear eye makeup?
You may not wear any eye makeup until two days after your sutures are removed to make certain that you do not tattoo the skin. Also, be very careful and gentle in removing the eye makeup after your sutures are removed. The incision sites are very tenuous and any tension may widen your scar.
When can I expect the swelling or bruising to go away?
If you ice continuously for the first three days, it typically takes 7-10 days for the swelling and bruising to subside. For those who do not ice continuously as indicated, it will take approximately three weeks for the swelling and bruising to diminish.
We understand that changing any facial feature is a very significant decision and we want you to feel comfortable before opting for surgery. We look forward to meeting you in consultation to hear your goals and objectives. In the meantime, feel free to email any questions to our patient coordinator through our contact us page.