Gregory Dumanian, M.D., offers plastic surgery patients in Chicago eyelid surgery as a way to remove excess skin and fat from upper or lower eyelids, or both. Technically known as blepharoplasty, eyelid surgery is an effective way to fix sagging upper eyelids or puffy pouches under the eyes. Following eyelid surgery, patients look rejuvenated, well-rested and, in many cases, years younger. Eyelid surgery can be performed in conjunction with facelift, forehead lift and other facial rejuvenation procedures, or alone, depending on a patient’s individual needs. Often, droopy upper eyelids are not simply unattractive, but also impede vision. Eyelid surgery can help this pesky, even dangerous condition.
Causes of Sagging Eyelids
Besides hereditary factors, age is the most common cause of saggy upper eyelids or puffy under-eye areas. This is because skin loses elasticity as it ages. This effect of aging combined with the fact that gravity is always pulling down on all facial features, including eyelids, cause upper eyelid skin to droop and cause excess fat and skin to pool under the lower eyelids.
Individuals may find that they have bulging skin around the lower eyelids, or extra hanging skin on the upper eyelids. As mentioned above, this hanging skin can impede vision. In addition, everyone has fat that protects the eyeball from the skull, as well as a thin membrane that keeps this fat in position. With age, that membrane weakens, allowing the protective fat to intrude into the eyelids.
Suitable Candidates for Eyelid Surgery
Suitable candidates for eyelid surgery have and want to remove excess skin or deposits of fat on the upper eyelids, in the area below the eyes, or both. They do not have any serious eye conditions; are in overall good physical and mental health; and do not smoke. Suitable candidates also have positive, though realistic, expectations regarding the results of eyelid surgery. Individuals who exhibit more severe signs of aging may consider a forehead lift or a complete facelift.
Conditions That May Affect Eyelid Surgery
Patients with certain eye diseases, dry eye or a detached retina must let Dr. Dumanian know during consultation, as these may affect the outcome of eyelid surgery. Additionally, thyroid disorders, cardiovascular disease, circulatory problems and even diabetes may affect a patient’s ability to undergo eyelid surgery.
To find out if eyelid surgery is right for you or to schedule a personal consultation, please contact Dr. Dumanian at Northwestern Plastic Surgery by calling (312) 695-5660.
Eyelid Surgery Preparation
Blepharoplasty patients should arrange to have someone drive them to and from surgery. They also need someone to stay with them on the night of the procedure. In addition, patients should have the following supplies on-hand, as they are usually needed after eyelid surgery: ice packs, ice cubes, eye drops (artificial tears work too), gauze pads, and clean face towels or washcloths. Speak to Dr. Dumanian for a more complete list of supplies. Note that patients should avoid taking aspirin, Motrin, Advil, Aleve and other anti-inflammatory medications because they may increase the risk of bleeding.
What to Expect During the Procedure
When performed together, upper and lower eyelid surgery generally takes about two hours, and is usually performed on an outpatient basis. Dr. Dumanian will most likely administer local anesthesia and either oral or intravenous (IV) sedation, or whatever type of anesthesia and sedation that he and the patient agreed on during consultation. Some upper lid blepharoplasty procedures can even be performed in the office with local anesthesia and pills for sedation.
During surgery, Dr. Dumanian will treat the upper eyelids first if the patient is having both the upper and lower eyelids treated. After making an incision along the natural contours of the eyelid, Dr. Dumanian will detach skin from the tissue underneath, as well as extract excess fat, muscle and skin. Lastly, Dr. Dumanian will suture the incisions with stitches that must remain in the upper eyelids for about four days, or as advised by Dr. Dumanian.
Dr. Dumanian has two main options for treating the lower eyelids. The most common option is to make an incision inside the lower eyelid, through which he will remove excess fat. The second option is for him to make an incision along the lower eyelash line. Again, Dr. Dumanian will eliminate excess fat, saggy muscle and skin through this incision. When treating lower eyelids, Dr. Dumanian may or may not need to use sutures. If he does not need to use stitches, the incision marks should heal on their own within a short period. Fat grafts placed into the cheeks is a benefit as well in lower eyelid rejuvenation.
Eyelid Surgery Post-Operative Care and Recovery
Recovery time varies by patient. Dr. Dumanian will provide specific instructions regarding how to care for the treated area and what to expect during the recovery period. However, here is some general information regarding the recovery process following eyelid surgery.
In the first couple of days following the procedure, patients should take it easy and rest. Dr. Dumanian may direct patients to keep their head elevated for about two days after surgery. Patients may feel tightness or mild pain in the treated area but can take pain relievers to alleviate any discomfort (as directed by Dr. Dumanian). Patients should expect to take time off work and limit physical activity for a few days following surgery.
Again, eyelid surgery patients will have stitches in at least the upper eyelids that will remain in place for about five days. Some patients may experience dry eye following the procedure. This may last up to two weeks; patients should contact Dr. Dumanian’s office if this condition persists for more than two weeks. Also, patients’ eyes may be swollen or bruised for several days after surgery, but these symptoms should subside within two weeks. During this time, patients may use makeup to cover discoloration.
Patients may find that their vision is blurry for several days following surgery. Also, their eyes may be sensitive to light, but this should be temporary. Sunglasses may help patients protect their eyes from bright lights, sun, dust particles and wind.
Are Eyelid Surgery Results Permanent?
The results from upper eyelid surgery last many years. Typically, patients do not have to undergo lower eyelid surgery again. However, eyelid surgery does not stop the aging process, and the area around the eyes will continue to age as normal following the procedure. Additionally, Dr. Dumanian may advise a forehead lift instead of another eyelid surgery if the lids do start to droop again down the road. This is because sagging upper eyelids are sometimes caused by gravity pulling down on the forehead, which in turn pushes down the eyelids, causing them to sag.
Eyelid Surgery Risks
As with any surgery, there are some inherent risks involved. However, these risks are rare. They include infection, dry eyes, bleeding, eyelid discoloration, abnormal folding of skin on eyelids, inability to close the eyes completely and loss of vision, among others. To minimize any risk of complications, patients should be sure to ask Dr. Dumanian any questions that they may have during consultation, as well as be honest about lifestyle habits.
Is Eyelid Surgery Covered by Insurance?
In general, eyelid surgery is not covered by medical insurance, as it is considered an elective cosmetic procedure. However, certain insurance companies may pay for some or all of the procedure if a patient’s vision is impeded by the extra eyelid skin that is to be removed. Patients should contact their insurance company to see if eyelid surgery is covered in this circumstance and to find out what the proper protocol is in this case.
Schedule a Consultation Today
Dr. Gregory Dumanian is a renowned facial plastic surgeon who is proud to offer advanced procedures that can help his patients look and feel their best. He is also a leading provider of reconstructive procedures, such as abdominal hernia repair, breast reconstruction and nerve surgery. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Dumanian and learn more about the services he offers by calling 312-695-1999.