Eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty)

Eyelid surgery (also known blepharoplasty) is a procedure to remove excess skin and fat from around the eyes. It is one of the more effective and commonly performed facial cosmetic procedures and can help to correct changes that alter the appearance of the eye such as:

  • Drooping eyelids: eyelid surgery can be used as an eye lift to correct hooded or drooping upper eyelids (known as ‘ptosis’). The surgery aims to improve vision and appearance by providing a more rounded and ‘open’ look.

‘Bags under the eye’: Blepharoplasty can be used to remove lower eyelid bags (the appearance of ‘baggy eyes’), improve vision, and to reduce the appearance of dark circles, undereye wrinkles and puffiness.

In some cases, a blepharoplasty may involve surgery on both the upper and lower eyelids, but this will be discussed beforehand and planned accordingly with your Circle Health Consultant.

Eyelid skin is a lot thinner than other facial skin and is therefore one of the first areas to show signs of ageing. When we look in a mirror, we tend to be drawn to prominent features such as our eyes, and this is why we usually notice signs of ageing there first, such as:

  • Puffy areas around the eyes
  • ‘Baggy eyes’
  • Droopy eyelids

These can all contribute to the face having a more tired, aged appearance.

Cosmetic reasons for surgery: You may find that the skin around your eyes starts to droop as part of the natural ageing process., This may cause you to feel self-conscious. Drooping of the eyelids and the bulge of fat pockets underneath the eyes tend to be associated with an older, tired appearance. If you are aware of any of these signs around your eyes, you may like to consider the positive change cosmetic surgery could make to your appearance. 

Vision-related reasons for surgery:  Sometimes, excess skin and fat around the eyes can start to obscure your field of vision, and this has real functional consequences.

Often, people will try to cover up any of these unwanted appearances around their eyes with beauty products. However, the sheer choice of beauty products on the market can often seem overwhelming and even after a long period of trial and error it can often be hard to see any specific benefits from these products. This can be demoralising, but fortunately, there is a longer-lasting alternative available with cosmetic surgery.

While cosmetic surgery may seem a more drastic option, it provides the potential to address your concerns permanently. Should you be considering eyelid surgery, it is sensible to talk through your thoughts and feelings with a medical professional and explain your reasons for wanting surgery. We would be very happy to arrange an initial appointment for you with a Consultant surgeon at your nearest Circle hospital, where you will be able to discuss the potential surgical options available to you and ask any questions you have.

Before having any cosmetic surgery, it is important that you have considered other options and that your decision to have surgery has been sufficiently thought out. For this reason, your consultant will generally recommend waiting a few weeks between your initial appointment and your surgery, so as to give you ample time to come to the right decision.

For surgery to go ahead, you should be in good physical and mental health, have no other eye concerns or complaints, and the skin around your eyes should be healthy. Smokers are also advised to stop smoking several weeks beforehand, as smoking can slow down the rate of recovery from surgery. 

Before the procedure, your consultant will see you for a second appointment to assess your individual condition, discuss your needs, goals and intended outcomes for surgery, and decide the most suitable surgical approach for you. This also provides you with the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the procedure or your recovery, and your surgeon can help ease any concerns that may have arisen along the way. Typical questions you may find yourself asking include:

  • How long will it take?
  • What happens after my operation? What aftercare do you offer?
  • How long should I expect my recovery to take?
  • What anaesthetic will you be using?
  • What happens if the surgery goes wrong?
  • What level of pain will there be after my operation?

No concern or question is too small; cosmetic surgery is a big undertaking, and all our consultants appreciate that patients may be understandably apprehensive before the operation.

You will be given a choice of surgeons, who all have extensive experience in this area. Whichever Circle hospital is most convenient for you, you can rest assured that you will always be in exceedingly safe and competent hands.

At Circle Health hospitals, a blepharoplasty can be carried out as a day case procedure Upper eyelid surgery can be carried out under general or local anaesthetic. Lower eyelid surgery requires a general anaesthetic.

Your surgeon will make a small incision (cut) into the natural skin crease of your upper eyelid or just below the eyelashes in your lower eyelid. They will then remove any excess skin and fat, sometimes moving fat and/or muscle in a lower lid blepharoplasty to create a more youthful look. Finally, these incisions are closed using very fine non-dissolving stitches to minimize scarring. Your stitches will need to be removed five to seven days after the surgery.

The procedure itself (for upper OR lower eyelids) will take between one and two hours. If you are having surgery to both upper and lower eyelids, this can take up to three hours.

You may have some swelling and bruising following the operation, but you should be able to go home after a few hours, providing your consultant is happy that there have been no complications and you have had no ill effects from the anaesthetic. The swelling and bruising may get worse in the first day or two, but this is temporary and should disappear after the first few weeks. You may need to take pain killers during the first week after surgery, and your surgeon can advise on this.

Blurred vision can sometimes be experienced after the operation, and this should improve after a few days. As a result, you must avoid driving until your vision is completely clear again. If you have had a general aneasthetic you are not permitted to drive for at least 48 hours. Therefore it is important that you have made arrangements for getting yourself home from the hospital after your surgery.

Some patients experience dry eyes up to two weeks after surgery. Should this occur, your surgeon will be able to recommend eye drops to help ease any discomfort. If symptoms persist beyond two weeks, inform your surgeon and they can check for any underlying issues.

Upon being discharged from the hospital, you will receive clear aftercare instructions from us about how to improve your recovery. This includes:

  • Washing your eyes with water only,
  • Avoiding eye makeup until your stitches have been removed
  • Avoiding wearing contact lenses,
  • Avoiding activities that force you to bend or stoop
  • Avoiding any heavy lifting,
  • Making sure you keep your head upright,
  • Sleeping with extra pillows to keep your head raised at night,
  • Avoiding hot baths or activities that increase blood flow to the face.

You will also be scheduled for a follow-up appointment to remove the stitches you have, usually 5-7 days later. At this point, your consultant will assess your progress and let you know when you can return to your normal routine and activities. It is often recommended that you take at least a week off work following the surgery; two weeks if your work involves strenuous activity.

Despite bruising and swelling resolving within a couple of weeks of surgery, it can take a little longer for your wounds to heal completely, and it may be up to six months before the final results of the procedure can be accurately judged.

 

Like any surgery, there are risks associated with blepharoplasty but it is generally a safe procedure. Your consultant surgeon will explain the benefits and risks of eyelid surgery during your private consultation and answer any questions or concerns you may have. Some possible complications include:

  • Bleeding into the eye socket,
  • Double vision (usually temporary),
  • Eye infections,
  • Injury to the cornea,
  • Tightness around the eyes due to too much skin being removed.

Beyond surgery, your eyelids will continue to age as normal, and the drooping of your eyelids can reoccur.

As with all cosmetic interventions, there are no guarantees of success, which is why it is vital you express your desired outcomes with your consultant at an early stage so they can best work towards achieving your goals and ensuring your satisfaction. If you are concerned about any of these risks, do talk to your Circle consultant, who will be able to help you weigh up the risks against the benefits of this type of surgery.

A guide price for a upper eyelid blepharoplasty (under local anaesthetic) at a Circle hospital is £3,100. This excludes the initial consultation with a specialist, but includes pre-assessment, surgery and aftercare.

Before any eye surgery, it is important to ensure the surgeon carrying out your procedure is suitably qualified and registered with the appropriate professional and regulatory bodies. As you would expect, the consultant surgeons working at Circle comply with all necessary guidelines and professional and regulatory requirements. 

If you are considering eyelid surgery at Circle, we always recommend that you book an appointment with one of our specialists. This gives you the opportunity to discuss the benefits eyelid surgery provides and to talk about any concerns you may have. They will be able to help you decide if surgery is the best thing for you, giving you the platform to explore any alternatives that would also be appropriate for you. We want to help you make the choice that is right for you.

Take that first step in rejuvenating your appearance and regaining your self-confidence by booking an appointment at your nearest Circle hospital today.

 

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Circle Health, 32 Welbeck St, Marylebone, London W1G 8EU