Using Surgery To Remove Eye Bags

Eyelid surgey, which includes the removal of eye bags and is generally known as blepharoplasty, is a very common and popular type of cosmetic surgery. It is used to lift upper, drooping eye lids and reduce, or remove, the puffy, heavy eye bags which form below the eyes.

While this procedure is often performed on its own, it can also be included in other facial plastic surgery, such as a face lift, for example. In any case, it is best to get as much information on the procedure itself, the risks involved and what to expect afterwards before making any firm decisions.

The Surgery Procedure

  • Upper Eyelid To correct drooping upper lids, an incision is made approximately 1 cm (about 0.394 in) above the lashes, within the lid’s natural crease line. This incision may be extended into the laughter lines, or crow’s feet, on the the eye’s outer corners.

Working through the incision, the skin is separated from subcutaneous layers, followed by removal of fat and trimming of sagging skin and muscles. Finally, the incision is closed using extremely fine sutures.

  • Lower Eyelid Here the incision begins just below the eye lashes and may be extended by 1 cm (0.394 in) into the laughter line area. Again excess fat may be removed and the skin is lifted outwards and upwards.

The area is gently tensioned and overlapping skin is removed. Incisions will finally be closed, again using the very fine sutures.

  • Duration of the Procedure Blepharoplasty surgery usually takes between an hour and a half up to three hours, depending on the extend of work required.

It is performed under general anaesthetic and usually requires an overnight hospital stay, although occasionally, especially if only the upper lids are worked on, it is performed as an out-patient, day case basis.

Recovery Period

  • After Surgery Care Immediately following the surgery, it is likely that an ointment to lubricate the eyes and a bandage will be applied.
  • First Two Weeks It is likely that some swelling and bruising will be visible for the first couple of weeks, although most of the swelling should subside within around 10 days. Eye drops may have to be applied to stop lids from feeling dry.
  • Suture Removal After 5 days, the sutures will be removed. Scars resulting from the surgery generally heal well, although this naturally varies between patients.
  • Returning to Work For the first few days, up to a week, activities should be kept to a minimum. Strenuous activities should be avoided for the first three weeks, although most patients will be quite ready and able to go out again and return to light work within 10 to maybe 14 days.

Benefits of Blepharoplasty

  • Realistic Expectations It is of course vital to be realistic about what to expect from this surgery. Even the best of surgeons can not perform miracles. As it is, blepharoplasty, like any other plastic surgery, has very real physical and psychological benefits for the patient, which should last for many years.
  • Physical Benefits Puffy eye bags and drooping lids are corrected, eliminating the tired, saggy appearance. This results in a more luminous, vivid eye appearance and makes the whole face look younger and lighter. As a rule, the patient’s field of vision will also be improved through this procedure.
  • Psychological Benefits An improved, less tired and younger appearance greatly enhances a patient’s self esteem and self confidence.

Risks involved in Blepharoplasty

As with any other surgery, there are possible risks, though rare, of complications when undergoing blepharoplasty.

  • Medical Conditions Some medical conditions may heighten the risk of developing complications and it is important for surgeons to be made aware of these conditions before surgery commences.

Depending on the severity of the particular condition, the patient may be advised not to go ahead with the surgery as risks are too high. These conditions include:

  • Hyperthyroidism or Graves’ disease
  • Tear duct problems
  • A condition known as Dry Eye
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Detached retina
  • Glaucoma
  • Possible Complications As stated above, complications are rare, and they are usually treatable and temporary. It is, however, best to be aware of them.
  • Infection Although extremely rare, infections can happen and are normally treated and cleared up very quickly with antibiotic ointments.
  • Haematoma This exceedingly rare formation of blood clots underneath the skin or behind the eyeball typically produces stabbing and steady pain, much like a glaucoma, and will have to be removed through surgery.
  • Loss of Eyelashes Again rare, this can happen after eye lid surgery. Unfortunately it has not been possible to ascertain whether they will re-grow.
  • Eyelid Skin Loss Happening on extremely rare occasions, this usually heals on its own, although there is a slim chance that a tiny skin graft may become necessary.
  • Alteration of Eyesight Vision may be blurred, to different extents varying with patients, temporarily. As a rule, vision returns to normal very quickly.
  • Pain Most patients experience very little pain, but if pain should happen to get worse, medication can be given and the pain will subside as the healing process continues.
  • Ectropion This very rare complication can result in a pulling downward on the lower eye lids. To correct this, additional surgery may have to be performed.

New Technology

Potential patients may also wish to enquire about the latest form of blepharoplasty, using laser technology.

  • Laser Blepharoplasty Here, lasers are used to make the incisions, as opposed to scalpels. This extremly accurate, precise method seals severed blood vessels as incisions are made, resulting in less bruising.
  • Transconjunctival Blepharoplasty The point of entry is moved to the inside, the pink part of the lower eye lid, known as the conjunctiva, avoiding damage to the lower eye lid’s support and changes to the lid’s shape.
  • Repositioning of Fat This new technology also repositions fat, rather than removing it. The fat is moved to the top edge of the cheekbone, where it serves to add a youthful, fuller look to the patient’s upper cheek, further enhancing appearance.
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