Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty)

Dramatic changes in surgical procedures over the last few years have made eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) very effective. It is one of the most requested elective cosmetic surgeries at our Kaiser Permanente locations throughout Northern California, including San Francisco, Sacramento, San Jose, and Union City. Eyelid surgery may dramatically enhance your facial appearance, making your eyes look fresher and more alert.

About Eyelid Surgery

Eyelid surgery is a surgical procedure to remove fat and excess skin and muscle from the eyelids. This surgery may correct drooping upper lids and puffy or baggy lower lids. Eyelid surgery is not a lift. It will not remove wrinkles or lines around the eyes, nor will it alter the tone of dark circles under the eyes. Eyelid surgery can add a crease to Asian eyes, but it will not remove indications of race or ethnicity.

What Is Treatment Like?

Eyelid surgery can take up to 3 hours if both the upper and lower lids are being done. Eyelid surgery can be performed using a local anesthetic and an oral or intravenous sedative, or the surgeon may choose a general anesthesia. The surgeon will make incisions around the eye to remove fat and excess skin. Very fine sutures are used to stitch the wound, and bandages may be applied after surgery.

Am I a Candidate?

Eyelid surgery may diminish the appearance of tiredness and aging, making you look more alert and energetic. If drooping lids decrease your ability to see, eyelid surgery may improve your eyesight.

The best candidates for eyelid surgery are men and women who are physically and mentally healthy, with realistic expectations about the results of surgery. Eyelid surgery is usually performed on patients over 35, but if hereditary influences cause excessive drooping or bags, the procedure may be an option for younger people.

Medical conditions such as hypothyroidism or Graves’ disease, dry eye or tearing problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other circulatory disorders raise the risks of eyelid surgery and should be discussed with your surgeon prior to the procedure. If you have a detached retina or glaucoma, check with your ophthalmologist about the risks of surgery before you see a blepharoplasty surgeon.

What Can I Expect Before and After Surgery?

The Importance of a Consultation

Consultation for eyelid surgery is very important. Your surgeon will need your complete medical history. Be sure to tell your surgeon about any allergies you have, about any prescription or over-the-counter medications you take, if you smoke, and if you take vitamins, herbal supplements, or other drugs.

You will need to provide your surgeon with relevant information from your ophthalmologist and/or the records from your most recent eye exam. Bring any corrective lenses, glasses or contact lenses with you.

Your surgeon will discuss the procedure in detail, including any preoperative and postoperative procedures. It’s important to discuss your expectations with the doctor and to ask any questions or voice any concerns you might have.

Recovery After Surgery

Immediately following the surgery, the doctor may apply an ointment to keep your eyes lubricated. Because you will be drowsy from the anesthesia and may have impaired vision, you will need someone to drive you home and provide some assistance for a day or two. The doctor may prescribe mild pain medication to alleviate any discomfort.

You will need to keep your head elevated for a few days. You may also need to use a cold compress to reduce swelling and bruising. Bruising occurs differently on everyone, but usually peaks during the first week after surgery. Bruising may last for up to a month.

Keeping your eyes clean and moist after surgery is important. Your doctor will recommend eye drops and cleaning procedures for you to follow.

Your stitches will most likely be removed a week after surgery. You should not wear contact lenses for about two weeks after the procedure. Most people are ready to return to work or public life in a week to 10 days. Activities that raise blood pressure and rigorous exercise should be avoided for 3 to 5 weeks. You should also avoid drinking alcohol for 3 to 5 weeks.

I had a few procedures done in August 2016: ptosis repair, upper and lower bilateral blepharoplasty, ectropion repair and a brow lift. Prior to surgery Dr. Kim took time to review my medical records, ask and answer questions and respond in a timely manner to any concerns that I had. She has the wonderful qualities of being both a highly skilled doctor and a caring physician.  During surgery Dr. Kim made sure I was comfortable throughout the procedures. The surgical care team was both attentive and professional. Follow up care and information was thorough. It did take about 4 weeks before I could fully begin to appreciate the changes, with improved gains still being noticed.

I am very pleased with the results both from a cosmetic and practical viewpoint. Before surgery my lids felt very heavy. I felt that I was losing peripheral vision and was fairly beat after the effort of reading for only 20 minutes. People frequently commented that I looked tired. Now I feel vastly different. I can read for 2 or more hours at a time. The world seems brighter and my peripheral vision is improved. I enjoy seeing my irises again. I feel more youthful and am very pleased with the results and would highly recommend Dr. Kim.

Read Patient Testimonials

Are There Any Risks?

Complications from blepharoplasty are usually minor and may include temporary blurred or double vision. Swelling at the corners of the eyelids may occur for a few days. The healing process may be uneven, with one eye healing faster than the other, and scars are not always symmetrical. Sometimes tiny whiteheads form after stitches are taken out, but they can be removed by your surgeon. In rare cases, patients will have difficulty closing their eyes when they sleep, which can become a permanent condition. In very rare cases, a complication causes the lower lid to droop away from the eye. Subsequent surgery may be required to alleviate this condition.

I’m Interested! What’s My Next Step?

When you’re ready to learn more about eyelid surgery, request a consultation with Kaiser Permanente Cosmetic Services.