As we get older, our muscles lose their tone and strength. This affects all the muscles, including the eyelids as well. The loss of muscle tone is accompanied by accumulation of fat tissue around the eyelids, and this can cause the eyelids to droop and sag.
This is also responsible for the ‘bags’ that are seen under the eyes. The loose skin and muscle tissue can impact a person’s vision, particularly the peripheral vision.
This requires correction, and is done so with the aid of a procedure called blepharoplasty.
Blepharoplasty is a simple procedure that is performed on an outpatient basis, meaning it does not require admission to hospital. In this article, we shall take a brief look at blepharoplasty, why it is performed and the risks and benefits.
Blepharoplasty – What it is
Blepharoplasty is a clinical procedure that is used to tighten up muscles and skin around the eyes, helping improve vision and appearance of the patient. It may be performed with other cosmetic surgical procedures such as face lifts and botox injections sometimes. Blepharoplasty can be performed on the upper eyelid or the lower eyelid.
The upper eyelid blepharoplasty involves removal of excess skin and fat tissue, and then reshaping the eyelid using simple sutures. The lower eyelid blepharoplasty is performed through the conjunctiva of the eye and produces the same effects.
The purpose of the procedure is to improve overall appearance and the patient’s vision.
The Blepharoplasty procedure
Before the procedure is performed, the patient will have a detailed discussion with the doctor about the risks and benefits of the procedure. A general health check up may be necessary to ensure the procedure is safe to perform. If the patient is taking drugs such as blood thinners or herbal supplements, then these will need to be stopped. Stopping smoking aids better healing.
The procedure is performed under local anaesthetic. Patients may be given a small dose of sedatives to relax them. Fine incisions are made where necessary and the muscle and fat tissue is removed to re-shape the eyelid. The video below offers a brief description of the procedure.
The above video is an animation, so if you wish to see how the procedure is done in real life, please take a look at the video below –
The procedure takes between 90 to 120 minutes to perform in most cases. Following the procedure, the patient is observed for a short period of time to ensure there are no immediate complications, and then is discharged home.
After the procedure
Patients are required to observe certain measures following blepharoplasty. Lubricating ointments may be given to help prevent dryness of the eyes and to keep them protected. The ointment can over the eyeball sometimes, causing slight blurred vision. This only lasts for a very short period of time.
It is common for the patient to notice a bit of bruising and swelling at the site of surgery after the procedure. This is short lived and disappears in a few days. Application of ice on the area can keep the swelling at bay. Pain is a rare symptom and if it does occur can be easily treated with painkillers.
Interestingly, keeping yourself active by performing simple exercise like walking can help accelerate healing. However, do not attempt any strenuous activity such as running, swimming or aerobics. The stitches that are applied stay on for a few days, and if they are stitches that are not absorbable then they will need removing. Complete healing occurs in around 2 weeks, and patients can get back to their normal daily activities even before that.
Risks of blepharoplasty
The risks that blepharoplasties carry are similar to any minor surgical procedure. Common ones include bleeding and bruising at the site, which settle in a few days. Collection of blood in the form of a hematoma can also occur, and this settles down as well fairly quickly. There can be mild scar tissue formation, but this is relatively rare. Some patients report difficulty closing their eye after surgery, and this may require revision if it occurs. Some may develop dry eye due to damage to the lacrimal glands, and although rare will require treatment with artificial tears. Finally, and very rarely, patients may suffer from altered vision or even loss of vision.
The video below discusses the risks and complications of blepharoplasty.
Precautions to take
Once the procedure is complete, there are certain basic steps that need to be observed. Keeping the wound clean is essential. Protect the eyes from dust and sunlight by wearing sunglasses. In case there is evidence of infection or a great degree of pain, then seek medical advice as soon as possible. This way treatment can be started straight away, preventing the infection from affecting the vision.
Benefits of blepharoplasty
Firstly, the main benefit of blepharoplasty is the improved cosmetic appearance of the patient. They no longer appear constantly tired and fatigued. In addition, it improves peripheral vision of the patient. This is accompanied by an increase in their level of confidence. However, expectations must be kept at bay, and the procedure must not be advertised as one that will improve their professional or personal lives. In fact, patients who believe this may happen are often not offered the procedure by doctors.
The video below briefly discusses the benefits of blepharoplasty.
Blepharoplasty is a commonly performed cosmetic procedure that is sought after by a number of individuals who wish to improve their cosmetic appearance. The procedure is straightforward and causes minimal trauma to the patients. It is performed as an outpatient with the aid of local anaesthetic agents, and can has minimal risks and side effects.
Patient aftercare is important, and with good and meticulous care, patients can obtain more than satisfactory results that last for years. If you wish to undergo the procedure, make sure you discuss all the risks and benefits with your doctor beforehand to see if it right for you.
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