Bags, extra folds or layers of skin, and fullness of the upper eyelids are some of the most common—and often the first—aesthetic concerns that affect one’s appearance over time. Depending on the severity, they can cause varying degrees of upper eyelid sagging, making a person appear overly tired or much older than they actually are. In some instances, the upper eyelids may droop so low that they cover a significant portion of the eye and inhibit a full range of vision. Fortunately, all of these issues can generally be resolved with upper blepharoplasty.
Also referred to as upper eyelid surgery or an eyelid lift, upper blepharoplasty is a cosmetic procedure designed to remove the bagginess of the upper lids and restore a youthful eyelid crease, immediately conveying a rejuvenated, more rested appearance. For those experiencing severe eyelid drooping, the procedure can also help enhance one’s peripheral vision.
Palm Beach Gardens oculoplastic surgeon Michael Connor, MD is considered one of the top eyelid surgeons in South Florida, and he has years of experience in customizing upper blepharoplasty treatment plans that yield exceptional results. For more information on what upper eyelid surgery entails, we invite you to read the sections below, or simply contact Oculoplastic & Orbital Consultants today to schedule a consultation.
What is Upper Eyelid Surgery or Blepharoplasty?
An upper eyelid blepharoplasty, also known as an eyelid lift, is a minor surgical procedure that addresses the upper eyelid skin that tends to bunch up or become more excessive as we age. This can cause your eyes to appear tired or older than your age. It is known to be one of the most common cosmetic procedures performed. It can be done in the office with local anesthesia or at an outpatient surgery center with twilight intravenous sedation. There are very minimal risks to this procedure when performed appropriately. An upper eyelid blepharoplasty can restore a natural and youthful appearance with no pain and minimal downtime.
What can Cosmetic Eyelid Surgery achieve?
An upper eyelid blepharoplasty can naturally restore your youthful appearance without any signs of plastic surgery. The entire procedure is done through a thin incision in your upper eyelid crease that is hidden from view and heals remarkably well. This procedure will not leave you with a surprised or artificial look. When done correctly, you should receive compliments about how great you look without anyone knowing you underwent surgery.
How is Blepharoplasty customized for each patient?
No two eyelids are exactly the same, including your own. The eyelid appearance is due to several separate components including the eyebrow position, the eyelid muscle, the amount of skin and the amount of eyelid fat. Your facial features also contribute to your eyelid appearance. Intricate knowledge of this anatomy is crucial in achieving a very pleasing aesthetic and functional outcome. This procedure has evolved from removal of skin and fat to a more customized approach in order to achieve a natural result. Over-resection of fat can leave you hollow and older than your age and removal of too much skin can leave you with difficulty closing your eyes. Unfortunately, both complications are commonly seen in our practice. The eyelids are unforgiving and there aren’t many appealing options to correct these complications once they have occurred. Dr. Connor has performed thousands of blepharoplasties and uses his experience and surgical skill to customize each blepharoplasty he performs to avoid these complications and achieve a youthful and natural result.
Does insurance cover upper eyelid blepharoplasty?
Upper eyelid blepharoplasty can be covered by your insurance when you have 30% of your peripheral vision impaired by the eyelid skin and the eyelid skin is hanging within 2 millimeters of the center of your visual axis. These strict guidelines are set by Medicare and followed by all insurance companies. Dr. Connor is an eyelid expert and by using those criteria will inform you at your visit whether your procedure is considered cosmetic. Any attempt by the patient or physician to have insurance pay for a cosmetic surgery is considered fraudulent and can result in termination of your policy or loss of the insurance contract for the physician, potentially resulting in civil and criminal penalties. It is important to see a doctor who understands the criteria to avoid any potential problems with your insurance company.
How Is Upper Eyelid Surgery Performed?
To perform upper blepharoplasty, Dr. Connor will first utilize a local anesthetic to numb the area, minimizing the potential for any discomfort during treatment. Next, he will make small incisions that are concealed in the natural eyelid creases or on the backside of the upper eyelids, helping to greatly limit the visibility of scars. Excess skin and fat tissue is then removed, and if necessary, stretched or elongated eyelid musculature is corrected and restored to an ideal position. Lastly, the remaining skin is carefully smoothed out and sutured to create a rejuvenated upper eyelid appearance.
Upper eyelid surgery is generally performed as a minor outpatient procedure, usually taking about one to two hours to complete (depending on whether or not it is combined with lower blepharoplasty). Following surgery, patients are typically able to return home with the aid of a friend or family member.
How long does the upper eyelid surgery take?
The upper eyelid blepharoplasty procedure itself usually takes about an hour. If it is done in the office, you should plan to spend about 2 hours there. It can take a little longer at a surgery center when intravenous sedation is used during surgery.
What type of anesthesia is used?
An upper eyelid blepharoplasty can be safely performed in the office under straight local anesthesia. Numbing medicine is slowly and gently administered to the upper eyelid skin using a very small needle. Medicine is then added to the numb area and slowly spread throughout the eyelid. Some patients prefer intravenous sedation, which is done at an outpatient surgery center with an anesthesiologist. Intravenous sedation is also safe and does not require a breathing tube. The patient sleeps through the procedure and wakes up in the recovery room.
What is recovery like for upper eyelid surgery?
Once an upper eyelid blepharoplasty is performed, swelling and bruising may worsen for 2-3 days. There is little to no pain. Tylenol can be taken for any discomfort. Cool compresses for 20 minutes every hour to hour and a half are recommended for the first 48 hours. Keeping the head elevated and sleeping elevated will also help reduce the amount of swelling. Swelling may occur in the lower lids as well. A prescribed eye ointment is applied to the sutures. The sutures are removed in the office 7-10 days following the procedure. Most patients can return to work in 5-7 days. Dr. Connor does not recommend eyelid surgery within 1 month of any social commitments such as a family photo shoot or wedding. At 1 month, 95% of healing is complete. The incision may take up to 6 months to fade. You can resume eyelid makeup 10-14 days after surgery.
Will there be a scar on my eyelids?
A cut in the skin will always leave a scar. There is no way to avoid natural healing. Appropriate construction of the wound and a meticulous skin closure can limit the size and improve the ultimate appearance of a scar. Also, the blepharoplasty incision is hidden in the eyelid crease when it is performed correctly. Using an oculoplastic surgeon such as Dr. Connor can ensure that the eyelid crease anatomy is respected, the scar is minimized and the scar is hidden in the appropriate fold.
How Much Does Upper Eyelid Surgery Cost?
The cost of upper blepharoplasty will depend on a variety of different factors, including how much skin and/or fat removal is needed and whether or not other treatments are performed in conjunction. To receive a personalized price quote for upper eyelid surgery, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Connor. At this time, he can assess your unique needs and goals, ultimately providing you with a cost estimate based on a customized treatment plan.
It is important to keep in mind that cost should never be the sole reason for choosing a particular eyelid surgeon, as a doctor’s fees are often reflective of their credentials, surgical skill, and the overall quality of care you can expect.
Contact Our Practice
To learn more about upper blepharoplasty, or if you would like to book an appointment with Dr. Connor to find out if this treatment is right for you, please do not hesitate to call our office or reach out to us online today.