FOR YOUR SURGERY
surgeon will give you specific instructions on how to prepare for
surgery, including guidelines on eating and drinking, smoking, and taking
or avoiding certain vitamins and medications. Carefully following these
instructions will help your surgery go more smoothly.
you're making preparations, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you
home after your surgery, and to help you out for a few days if
YOUR SURGERY WILL BE PERFORMED
Eyelid surgery may be performed in a surgeon's
office-based facility, an outpatient surgery center, or a hospital. It's usually done on an outpatient
basis; rarely does it require an inpatient stay.
TYPES OF ANESTHESIA
Eyelid surgery is usually performed under local anesthesia--which
numbs the area around your eyes--along with oral or intravenous
sedatives. You'll be
awake during the surgery, but relaxed and insensitive to pain. (However, you may feel some
tugging or occasional discomfort.
) Some surgeons prefer to use general anesthesia; in that case,
you'll sleep through the operation.
surgery Blepharoplasty usually takes one to three hours, depending on the
extent of the surgery.
If you're having all four eyelids done, the surgeon will probably work on
the upper lids first, then the lower ones.
In a transconjunctival blepharoplasty, a tiny incision
is made inside the lower eyelid and fat is removed with fine
forceps. No skin is
removed, and the incision is closed with dissolving sutures.
In a typical
procedure, the surgeon makes incisions following the natural lines of
your eyelids; in the creases of your upper lids, just below the lashes in
the lower lids. The
incisions may extend into the crow's feet or laugh lines at the outer
corners of your eyes.
Working through these incisions, the surgeon separates the skin from
underlying fatty tissue and muscle removes excess fat, and often trims
sagging skin and muscle.
The incisions are then closed with very fine sutures.
If you have
a pocket of fat beneath your lower eyelids but don't need to have any
skin removed, your surgeon may perform a transconjunctival
this procedure the incision is made inside your lower eyelid, leaving no
visible scar. It is
usually performed on younger patients with thicker, more elastic
your surgery, the surgeon will probably lubricate your eyes with ointment
and may apply a bandage.
Your eyelids may feel tight and sore as the anesthesia
wears off, but you can control any discomfort with the pain medication
prescribed by your surgeon.
If you feel any severe pain, call your surgeon
surgeon will instruct you to keep your head elevated for several days,
and to use cold compresses to reduce swelling and bruising. (Bruising varies from
person to person: it reaches its peak during the first week, and
generally lasts anywhere from two weeks to a month. ) You'll be shown how to clean
your eyes, which may be gummy for a week or so. Many doctors recommend eye
drops, since your eyelids may feel dry at first and your eyes may burn or
itch. For the first
few weeks you may also experience excessive tearing, sensitivity to
light, and temporary changes in your eyesight, such as blurring or double
surgeon will follow your progress very closely for the first week or
two. The stitches will
be removed two days to a week after surgery. Once they're out, the
swelling and discoloration around your eyes will gradually subside, and
you'll start to look and feel much better.
GETTING BACK TO NORMAL
You should be able to read or watch television after two or three
days. However, you
won't be able to wear contact lenses for about two weeks, and even then
they may feel uncomfortable for a while.
After surgery, the upper eyelids no longer droop and the
skin under the eyes is smooth and firm.
Most people feel ready to go out in public (and back to
work) in a week to 10 days.
By then, depending on your rate of healing and your
doctor's instructions, you'll probably be able to wear makeup to hide the
bruising that remains.
You may be sensitive to sunlight, wind, and other irritants for several
weeks, so you should wear sunglasses and a special sun block made for
eyelids when you go out.
Your surgeon will probably tell you to keep your activities
to a minimum for three to five days, and to avoid more strenuous
activities for about three weeks.
It's especially important to avoid activities that raise
your blood pressure, including bending, lifting, and rigorous
sports. You may also be
told to avoid alcohol, since it causes fluid retention.
YOUR NEW LOOK
Healing is a gradual process, and
your scars may remain slightly pink for six months or more after
surgery. Eventually, though,
they'll fade to a thin, nearly invisible white line. On the other hand, the
positive results of your eyelid surgery-the more alert and youthful
look-will last for years.
For many people, these results are permanent.