Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty)

Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty)

As we age, the eyelids undergo changes that may lead to people feeling like they look tired or sad. Gravity and loss of skin elasticity lead to increased wrinkling, skin excess and repositioning of the normal position of the fat which provides the natural fullness around the eye. Occasionally these changes may be severe enough that the excess skin interferes with vision, acting like a curtain hanging down on the eyelashes.

Surgery to address these changes (called Blepharoplasty) can make a dramatic change to your appearance and is very helpful in correcting visual troubles due to excess upper eyelid sagging. This surgery is most commonly performed as a day surgery procedure, usually under general anaesthesia, though treatment of the upper eyelid alone may sometimes be performed under local anaesthesia. Incisions are hidden in the natural crease line for the upper eyelid, or just below the lower eyelash line in the lower eyelid, excess skin is removed, and fat can be repositioned or removed as required. The wounds are closed with sutures and taped - sutures are removed after one week.

Blepharoplasty, particularly of the upper eyelid, is a very commonly performed procedure with high patient satisfaction and low complication rates. When the upper eyelid skin droop rests on the eyelashes and interferes with vision, your procedure should be partially rebatable by all leading private health funds. It is important to obtain a referral from your family doctor to be eligible for this.

Am I suitable for Blepharoplasty?

Many people with signs of ageing around the eyes are suitable candidates for this procedure. Individual suitability is a matter for you to discuss with Dr Woods during your clinical consultation. During this consultation, Dr Woods will discuss with you the particular type of blepharoplasty operation that will best address your particular concerns.

What are the benefits of Blepharoplasty?

This surgery aims to make your eyes look younger and fresher, and will also aid vision when this is impaired due to excess skin droop.

Where are the scars?

The location of the scar in the upper eyelid is in the natural fold, 8mm above the eyelash margin, and extends slightly into the crows feet area (smile lines at the outer side of the eyelid). The scar in the lower eyelid is placed just below the eyelash margin, and can also extend slightly into the crows feet area at the side of the eyelid. Both of these scars fade well and are often hard to see once they are fully refined.

Is the procedure painful?

Blepharoplasty is rarely a painful procedure -local anaesthetic used at the operation provides initial pain relief and this can be supplemented with simple analgesics like paracetamol for the first few days after surgery.

How long does it take to recover from surgery?

It is not uncommon for bruising and swelling to last for a few weeks after surgery. Most people feel able to return to work after 2 weeks and return to all normal activities after 4 weeks.

When will I notice the results and how long will they last?

Some improvement will be noticed immediately after a blepharoplasty. A full appreciation of the changes requires the swelling due to the procedure to settle and for the normal scar maturation process to occur. Most of the recovery will be well advanced after 4 weeks, though it will take 6-12 months to determine the final result.

Will I be told the risks and complications?

All operations have a risk of complications, however major complications are rare after blepharoplasty. During your initial consultation, Dr Woods will have a thorough discussion with you about the risks and complications of surgery. Fortunately with careful selection of the correct procedure for the specific patient's concerns, risks can be kept to a minimum. You can be reassured that Dr Woods will only recommend surgery if he feels that the benefits of the procedure substantially outweigh the risks.

Important Note when Choosing Your Surgeon

In Australia, just about anyone with a standard medical degree is allowed to perform cosmetic surgery. In fact, currently there is no legislation to stop any doctor from calling themselves a 'surgeon', even without formal surgical training.

Your only safeguard is to look for the letters FRACS under a doctor's name and check that they are affiliated with the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), as only fully qualified plastic surgeons have these titles and memberships. They confirm that your doctor has completed many years (at least 10 years) of training and examinations in surgery -far beyond the medical school period.