Cosmetic Eyelid Surgery: 13 Interesting Facts

eyelid surgery

Puffy, drooping eyelids? If you’re tired of looking tired and want to achieve a more rested appearance, cosmetic eyelid surgery might be the answer.

Magnetic. Charming. Mesmerizing. A person’s eyes are the one singular factor that draw us in and engages our attention. Yet as we age, our most captivating feature can get lost behind a little (or a lot) of drooping, puffy skin. And when you have long days, sleepless nights, or a bit of a stressful patch, those tired eyes can tend to drag your whole face down.

The good news is, if you’re tired of looking tired and want to achieve a more rested appearance that re-engages people’s attention, cosmetic eyelid surgery might be the answer. Eyelid surgery, also known as an eyelift or blepharoplasty, is a fast procedure that delivers amazing results. Below you’ll learn some very interesting things about it.

1. Eyelid surgery ranks in the top 5 most common cosmetic surgery procedures.

In terms of commonly performed surgical procedures, we’d probably expect to see an overall facelift outrank cosmetic eyelid surgery, but according to the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), that’s not the case.

Eyelid surgery ranks in the top 5 along with liposuction, breast augmentation, tummy tuck, and breast lift. In 2015 there were 169,708 eyelid surgeries performed in the US alone, a 2.4% increase over 2014. 139,012 of those were performed on women, and 30,696 on men.

2. There are 6 common reasons people get eyelid surgery.

According to New York plastic surgeon Dr. Gregory LaTrenta, people get eyelid surgery for the following reasons:

  • Excess skin obscuring the natural fold of the upper eyelids.
  • Loose skin hanging down from the upper eyelids, perhaps impairing vision.
  • A puffy appearance to the upper and lower eyelids, making the eyes look tired.
  • Excess skin and fine, crepey wrinkles of the lower eyelids.
  • Bags and dark circles under the eyes, often with a depression along the bony border of the lower eyelids.
  • Droopiness of the lower eyelids, showing white below the iris (colored portion of the eye).

Before and after eyelid surgery photos, courtesy of Dr. Jacob Steiger

3. Eyelid surgery is often performed with other procedures.

Though it is performed as a solo surgery, “other procedures, such as a facelift, brow lift, laser or chemical skin resurfacing, and facial fat transfer may be combined with eyelid surgery,” says facial plastic surgeon Dr. Jacob D. Steiger of Boca Raton. During a detailed initial consultation with your plastic surgeon, additional procedures may be suggested to help you reach your goals.

4. The majority of people get upper and lower eyelid surgery at the same time.

If you’re going to rejuvenate the windows to your soul, why not do it in tandem.

Dr. LaTrenta indicates that most of his patients choose to have both upper and lower lid surgery performed together. Though, in those only having one or the other, it’s the upper eyelids in 75% of cases.

5. When you have eyelid surgery you don’t have to go “under” to sleep.

If you’re nervous about going under, fear not, because you can still have eyelid surgery regardless. Dr. Steiger notes that while deep sedation/twilight sleep is preferred, some patients do opt for a general anesthetic.

6. There is low risk associated with eyelid plastic surgery.

Though all surgical procedures have some degree of risk, eyelid surgery complications are rarely experienced and if they are, these are usually minor.

These risks include:

  • Adverse reaction to anesthesia
  • Hematoma or seroma (an accumulation of blood or fluid under the skin that may require removal)
  • Infection and bleeding
  • Changes in sensation
  • Scarring
  • Allergic reactions
  • Damage to underlying structures
  • Unsatisfactory results that may require additional procedures

Choosing a good surgeon and following their instructions both before and after surgery will minimize your risk of these complications.

7. Eyelid surgery lasts forever.

“Your eyelid surgery results should be long-lasting – most likely the rest of your life,” says Dr. LaTrenta. Perhaps that’s why eyelid surgery has a 94.2% patient satisfaction rating!

“Generally, removal of hooding and upper eyelid skin and under eye bags is performed only once,” says Dr. LaTrenta. “As aging continues, your brow can drop or descend, causing excess skin to reappear on the upper eyelid, but in this case the solution is a brow lift, not a second blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery). For most patients, all that’s needed is some Botox or fillers to keep the results of their blepharoplasty looking fresh.”

blepharoplasty before and after

Before undergoing an upper/lower blepharoplasty and canthopexy, this 38 year-old patient complained of hooded upper and baggy lower eyelids. Photos courtesy of Dr. Gregory LaTrenta.

8. The cost of eyelid surgery is reasonable.

Though the cost will vary from place to place and also be dependent on your surgeon, Dr. LaTrenta informs us that in New York City, the cost is generally between $6,500 – $12,000 in total, depending if you have both upper and lower done. Since eyelid surgery is a lifelong procedure, this cost is very reasonable.

According to the ASAPS, the national average fee for eyelid surgery is approximately $2,724. However, bear in mind that if you see a price this low, be on high alert and ask questions because this fee is only the surgeon’s fee, and typically does not include additional costs such as surgical facility, surgical garments, medical tests, and other associated costs.

Dr. LaTrenta recommends you should always ask your surgeon what the surgery cost covers. And, if you’re wondering if insurance covers this surgery, the answer is no. Cosmetic eyelid surgery is considered an elective procedure, so the cost is all on you.

9. There is a short recovery period from cosmetic eyelid surgery.

Most patients return to work within one week and are back to full activities after 10 days. In fact, “most patients feel remarkably well immediately after the procedure, and have minimal pain, which is alleviated with a mild narcotic,” says Dr. Steiger.

Dr. Steiger also advises that in some cases bruising around the eyes may occur. However, the bruising is usually minor and can be camouflaged with makeup.

10. Lower eyelid surgery can eliminate puffy eye bags and dark circles.

We’re certainly not talking about dark circles from lack of sleep or stress. And if your dark circles are caused by skin pigmentation, lower eyelid surgery won’t help there either.

However, if you have excessive puffiness under the eye, the eyelid fat can cast a shadow, leaving you with both puffy eye bags and dark circles, which just aren’t pretty. This is the perfect situation to consider lower eyelid surgery.

To eliminate the problem, “incisions are made on the inside of the eyelid and occasionally under the lash line. Then, the fatty pouches are either repositioned or removed to restore the eyelid to a more youthful appearance,” says Dr. Steiger.

11. To get the best outcome, you have to be prepared.

Dr. LaTrenta shares, “In addition to my consultation, I always ask my patients to make certain to have a good ophthalmologic exam before surgery to verify that their eyes are in good health. And I request that their internist confirm that they are in good general health before undergoing any surgery.”

On top of your health checks, it is recommended to follow general preparation procedures. For instance, patients must stop smoking several weeks before the surgery, should maintain good hydration prior to surgery day, and plan post operative transportation for the journey home.

One other common area of critical importance is correct management of medication and supplements. Dr. LaTrenta warns, “some people are surprised that the list of medications and supplements they should not use prior to undergoing surgery includes many over the counter items including things like aspirin and ibuprofen.” Therefore, don’t make any assumptions about the safety of medications, even those you purchase over the counter.

Dr. LaTrenta recommends, “It’s always very important that you discuss medications and supplements with your surgeon well before surgery day.”

12. You won’t end up looking fake after eyelid surgery.

By choosing a highly qualified surgeon with experience in facial plastic surgery, you have little to be concerned about. You’re going to look natural and more refreshed, not have your eyes pulled so taut that it makes you look strange.

The ultimate goal of cosmetic eyelid surgery is “to enhance the appearance of the eyes and provide a more rested look by restoring the eyelid to a youthful state,” says Dr. Steiger.

13. Scars are barely visible with eyelid surgery.

Eyelid surgery is a surgical procedure where incisions are made and skin removed. Therefore, you can expect some scarring. However, scars are minimal.

“A good surgeon will usually be able to hide scars in the natural creases of your eyelid,” says Dr. LaTrenta. “Some procedures place the incisions inside the lids, in which case they are not visible. And scars are usually not visible at all with your eyes open, though for people of certain skin types, scars may be fairly visible with closed eyes.”

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