Learn More About Eyelid Lifts
Are your eyes showing signs of visible aging? As we age the eyes are often the first area of the face to age. This is due to very thin skin around your eyes. The thinness of the skin breaks down faster and is more likely to show fine lines, wrinkles, and skin laxity. For men and women looking to restore a more youthful facial appearance and relaxed look, a blepharoplasty can help. Blepharoplasty is a popular cosmetic surgical procedure to improve the appearance of the eyelids.
Dr. Donn Chatham, Medical Director of Chatham Facial Surgery uses the “picture frame” analogy: the beautiful part of the eye is the eye itself, particularly the iris. This is the colored round part of the eye, and it can be brown or blue or green…many color variations. This is what we see when we look into another person’s eyes. This is the “picture”. Everything around this “picture” is like a picture frame. The upper lids, the brows, and the lower lids all frame the pretty picture. When we are young, the open soft smooth frame compliments and accentuates the picture, and it is a thing of beauty!
You can rejuvenate your eyes to their more youthful state with expert eyelid (blepharoplasty) surgery. Dr. Chatham will thoroughly explain how he performs eyelid surgery and what results you can expect.
What are the Visible Signs of Upper and Lower Eyelid Aging?
As we age, the “frame” changes. The brows can descend, crowding the upper lids. The upper lids themselves often stretch and become droopy. The lower lid tissue often gets wrinkled; fat pockets pooch out and create “bags”. Add some crow’s feet wrinkles to the sides and now the frame begins to dominate. No longer is the pretty picture (iris) the main thing but it becomes dominated by the aging tissues that surround it. Fortunately, cosmetic procedures can improve this aging process, and restore the “picture” with an aesthetic eyelid lift rejuvenation procedure called blepharoplasty for both upper and/or lower lids.
Lower lids, with a “fatigued eye” appearance, are typically the result of the eyelid fat migrating. This fat, held in position by the orbital septum, sags over time. The fat is held firmly back by this wall in youth, but can bulge with age, giving you “baggy” upper and lower eyelids. Blepharoplasty trims this extra fat and tightens the wall, restoring a youthful contour. Sometimes we will reposition fat into some of the hollows beneath the fat in order to create a smoother skin surface. These hollows may include the “tear trough” which commonly deepens with aging.
Whether the reason for the undesirable changes is excess skin of the upper lids, or the fatty pockets of the lower lids or wrinkles in both areas, Dr. Chatham will customize your cosmetic facial enhancement surgery to your individual needs and goals.
How is Eyelid Surgery Performed?
Dr. Donn Chatham, double board-certified facial plastic surgeon, can perform an eyelid lift surgery alone or it can be or together with face/ neck lift or brow/forehead lift. If done alone, the operation takes about two hours for all four eyelids (both upper and both lower eyelids).
Blepharoplasty of the upper eyelids alone typically takes about 60 minutes and is most often performed under local anesthesia only as an in-office procedure.
The lower lid surgery is more delicate and Dr. Chatham believes it is more safely and effectively performed using an IV sedation anesthesia. It is easier for the patient to remain completely still if sedate, and is more comfortable, too. The patient remains asleep during this approximate one hour and 15-minute procedure. This is typically performed in an accredited surgery center. This may be performed either with an incision in the skin just below the lids or by going behind the lids through the “back door”, and leaving no visible incisional scar.
When hollows such as the tear trough and possibly other depressions creating “shadows” are present, Dr. Chatham might recommend the use of fillers, such as the collection of advanced Restylane® or Juvéderm® dermal fillers to help restore volume under the skin and mid-face contours. This can be performed as a stand-alone session in the office or as part of a surgery.
For patients who have wrinkles under the eyes, we may recommend a light resurfacing procedure to soften the wrinkles. A deeper chemical is often helpful in creating new skin, which can be smoother, lighter, and tighter once healed. Sometimes the peel is performed at the same sitting as the other surgery.
What is the Eyelid Surgery Recovery Process?
All surgeries create a bit of swelling and possibly bruising that peaks at about day 3. Minimal blurry vision quickly resolves. Sunglasses allow you to go out in public immediately after surgery, and make-up can be worn within about one week (if a peel has also been performed, it may require 10 days of time).
Normal (but not physical) activity can be resumed the next day and week-by-week more physical activities can be performed. Dr. Donn Chatham discourages strenuous exercise until about 3-4 weeks, and sometimes longer.