Everything You Should Know Before Getting Eyelid Surgery

Photo Credits: PhotoAlto/Frederic Cirou/ Getty Images | Image Used for Illustrative Purposes Only

Whether you’re looking to improve the appearance of droopy eyelids, or are having trouble seeing clearly from sagging skin, a blepharoplasty (or eyelid surgery) might be the best option for you. We asked Largo, FL oculoplastic surgeon Jasmine Mohadjer, MD for everything you need to know before going under the knife. 

NewBeauty: What is a blepharoplasty and who is usually a candidate for this type of surgery?
Dr. Mohadjer: A blepharoplasty is a surgery done on either upper or lower eyelids to remove excess skin and/or fat from the eyelids. Men and women who have a functional or cosmetic concern of excess skin, weight on their upper eyelids, or significant fat prolapse are great candidates. Patients should also be in good ocular health without any ophthalmic problems that could be worsened with surgery. 

NB: What does the procedure involve? 
Dr. Mohadjer: The procedures can be done while patients awake, mildly sedated, or with anesthesia, depending on the case, patient, and/or surgeon preference. Most procedures take an hour or less, and there will be stitches usually for a week or so with some bruising and swelling for a couple of weeks.

There is very little discomfort and some patients even go to work a day or so afterward. The lower lid surgery is a bit more involved and can include removing or repositioning fat pads into hollow areas, removing excess skin, and sometimes tightening the lower lid as well. 

NB: How long is the recovery time for this surgery? 
Dr. Mohadjer: The upper blepharoplasty surgery requires 1-2 weeks, while the lower requires 2-3 weeks. 

NB: Does blepharoplasty ever help people see better?
Dr. Mohadjer: All the time! When skin and fat become excessive in the upper lids, the skin can droop over the margin of the eyelid and cause significant problems with peripheral vision. In these cases, insurance may even cover to have a blepharoplasty to improve the patient’s vision. 

NB: Are you left with a scar post-surgery?
Dr. Mohadjer: Incisions in the eyelids generally hide and heal well. The upper eyelid incision is placed in the eyelid crease, so it blends in, and the lower eyelid blepharoplasty can be done from inside the eyelid to remove or reposition the fat pads. If lower lid skin is removed, that incision also hides in the eyelash line. Furthermore, eyelid skin is the thinnest skin in the body, so it heals very quickly and very well in most cases. 

NB: How much does this surgery usually cost?
Dr. Mohadjer: It can vary between $3,000-$5,000, depending on anesthesia and the specifics of the case. 

NB: Can this type of procedure help with dark circles, fine lines or wrinkles around the eye area?
Dr. Mohadjer: Lower lid blepharoplasty aims to eliminate the lower lid bags, which are often the cause of the circles. Some of the darkness occurs because this skin continues to thin and we can see capillaries through it, but most of the circles come from fat prolapse, hollowness, and shadowing from these contour deficiencies which lower blepharoplasty aims to eliminate.

Fine lines can be addressed by concurrent laser skin resurfacing (I like fractionated CO2) or peels. Furthermore, neurotoxins are very helpful in reducing the crow's feet and some of the fine dynamic lines in the lower lid. 

NB: Do you have any tips on how to find the right surgeon for this procedure? 
Dr. Mohadjer: An oculoplastic surgeon is an ophthalmologist first and an eyelid surgeon second. There is no other type of surgeon more appropriately qualified and trained to do eyelid surgery. ASOPRS.org is a great tool to help find an oculoplastic surgeon in your area.