Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty)

  • Medical Author: Adam J. Cohen, MD FACS
  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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How does one prepare for eyelid surgery?

Prior to eyelid surgery, the patient should have a detailed examination and discussion about blepharoplasty and potential risks and benefits associated with the procedure. The patient should follow the doctor's preoperative instructions carefully and thoroughly review the postoperative instructions before the day of surgery. This will allow the patient to have any medications for pain relief or necessary items such a gel packs, artificial tears, and gauze at home prior to their return from surgery.

A physical may be required to have your medical doctor "clear" you for surgery if intravenous sedation or general anesthesia is used.

How long is the recovery time for eyelid surgery?

Patients usually have a short recovery time after blepharoplasty. Although bruising and swelling is usually worse on the day after surgery, they quickly begin to disappear. During the first 48 hours, the use of cool compresses can greatly reduce bruising and swelling around the eyes and face. Light activity such as walking will also help speed healing. Thin bandages are usually placed over the incision sites and removed in several days, while the stitches can remain in the skin for about a week. Sometimes self-absorbing stitches are used that do not require removal.

Most people return to normal activities after seven to 10 days following blepharoplasty. By two weeks after eyelid surgery, the majority of the bruising and swelling will resolve.

What are the potential risks and complications of eyelid surgery?

As with any surgery, there are potential risks and complications of blepharoplasty. The major risks include infection, bleeding, scarring, inability to close the eyes, dry eye, abnormal eyelid position, double vision, and loss of vision.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/26/2016

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