What you can expect

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Blepharoplasty is usually done in an outpatient setting after administering local anesthesia. Your surgeon injects numbing medication into your eyelids and administers intravenous (IV) medication to help you relax. This may make you groggy.

During the procedure

If you have surgery on your upper and lower eyelids, the surgeon generally works on your upper lids first. The surgeon makes an incision along the natural fold of the upper eyelid. Then excess skin and some muscle and fat beneath the skin are removed. The incision is closed with tiny stitches that leave a nearly invisible scar. Sometimes surgical tape or skin adhesives are used instead.

The incision on the lower lid is made just below the lashes in your eye's natural crease or inside the lower lid. The surgeon removes or redistributes excess fat, muscle and sagging skin. Depending on where the initial incisions are made, stitches may follow the lower lid's natural crease or be placed inside the lower eyelid.

If your eyelid droops close to your pupil, blepharoplasty is done in conjunction with another procedure to address that problem, which is called ptosis (TOE-sis).

After the procedure

Blepharoplasty usually takes less than two hours, depending on the amount and location of tissue being removed. Afterward you spend time in a recovery room, where you are monitored for complications. You can leave later that day to recuperate at home.

After blepharoplasty a lubricating ointment will be applied to your eyes to protect them and prevent dryness. The ointment may cause temporary blurred vision. You may also experience excessive tearing, light sensitivity and double vision just after the surgery. Your incisions will be red and visible at first, and your eyelids may be puffy and feel numb for several days. Swelling and bruising, similar to having "black eyes," will likely last a week or more. Ice packs or cold compresses applied to your eyes can help reduce swelling.

Pain is usually minimal. You may be given a pain reliever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), for mild discomfort, but remember to avoid aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Aleve), and any other medications or herbal supplements that may increase bleeding.

If stitches were used, they'll be removed after three or four days.

Take the following precautions for a week after the surgery, unless advised otherwise by your doctor:

  • Avoid straining, heavy lifting and swimming.
  • Avoid strenuous activities, such as aerobics and jogging.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect the skin of your eyelids from sun and wind.
  • Sleep with your head raised higher than your chest.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions regarding cleansing your eyelids and the use of eyedrops or ointments.
  • Seek medical attention immediately if you experience shortness of breath, chest pains, an unusual heart rate, new pain, bleeding or visual disturbance.
Jul. 16, 2011