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Key facts on having cosmetic eyelid surgery & blepharoplasty

Updated: Jan 5


Cosmetic eyelid surgery and blepharoplasty

What is cosmetic eyelid surgery?


The most common form of cosmetic eyelid surgery is blepharoplasty which removes the excess skin of the eyelids and removal or re-draping of fat to remove eye bags. The aim to improve the look of the eyelids and give a more youthful appearance.




How much does cosmetic eye surgery cost?


Blepharoplasty surgery costs vary and depend on whether one or two eyes, the upper or l

ower lids or even both are being done and if they are being done under local anaesthetic or with sedation or under general anaesthetic.


For the upper eyelids expect to pay around 3000 pounds in London for surgery by an oculoplastic surgeon. You may find surgeons who are cheaper but make sure they are abe to assess they eye in the same way an oculoplastic surgeon can to get an outcome that is less likely affect your vision. Other surgeons who offer this surgical procedure include plastic surgeons, Ear Nose and Throat surgeons, cosmetic surgeons, general surgeons and some dermatology surgeons.



How long does it take for eyelid surgery to heal?


After having cosmetic surgery you can expect some bruising and swelling. Upper blepharoplasty can have swelling for about 2 weeks although this can vary from person to person. The scar tends to be hidden in the skin crease. The swelling typically resolves after about 6 weeks but the full effect of the surgery can take up to 6 months.

Lower eyelid surgery also has swelling for a similar amount of time. If you have had a transconjunctival blepharoplasty there should be no scar.


In both upper lid blepharoplasty and lower lid blepharoplasty you can help the swelling by using cold compresses, You should be able to resume normal activities and wear contact lenses after 2 weeks.



Is eyelid surgery painful?



The cosmetic procedure itself should not be painful. If general anesthesia is used you won't feel any pain during the operation. The same goes for local anaesthesia which numbs the area although it can sting when it is injected. The eyelids can be tender as they heal over the following 2 weeks.

Can blepharoplasty go wrong?



Any form of plastic surgery can go wrong but in the right hands the risks are low. The risks are discussed at the initial consultation Potential risks include a feeling of dry eye which settles with time in most cases, watery eyes as the eyelids heal and blurred vision from the watering and healing process,


In upper eyelid surgery an inability to fully close the eyes can happen if too much excess tissue is removed making the dry eyes more permanent. With lower blepharoplasty there can be double vision if one of the muscles that move the eye is affected. This can happen when the excess fat is being addressed and fortunately these are rare cases.


If you are having a lower lid blepharoplasty with the removal of skin the scar is hidden under the lower eyelashes. If you tend to scar badly or are prone to keloid scarring this can be less hidden. If too much skin is removed the shape of the lower eyelid can change. This is why it is important to ensure you choose a surgeon who is very familiar with this operation.



Can blepharoplasty change the shape of the eyes?


In most cases the natural shape of the eyes is unchanged. Some people desire a higher outer corner to the eye or an almond shape and this can be done with a canthoplasty or canthopexy to give a subtle lift to the outer corner. If too much fatty tissue is removed a hollowed look can develop which is not desirable. Surgeons tend to move away from just removing this tissue and now perform more repositioning or redrawing and only remove the tissue when absolutely necessary.



Does blepharoplasty make eyes smaller?


Upper eyelid blepharoplasty tends to make the eyes look bigger and not smaller. This is because the overhang of skin from the droopy eyelids the makes the eyelids look smaller is reduced or removed entirely.


Asian blepharoplasty or double eyelid surgery can also make the eyes look bigger due to the formation of the skin crease.


If you have a browpexy at the same time as your upper blepharoplasty that acts as a mini brow lift the eyes may also look bigger with the outer brow placed higher.



Are you put to sleep for eyelid surgery?


Upper blepharoplasty can be done with local anaesthetic and you being awake during the surgery. This is what most people go for. You can be put to sleep if you prefer.


Lower blepharoplasty with a transconjunctival approach which is scarless is done under general anaesthesia with you asleep. This is so that the excess fat that gives eye bags can be rewrapped correctly and painlessly. Lower lid blepharoplasty done with a scar under the lower eyelashes can be done under local anaesthetic if the excess fat is just to being removed.



Can eyelid surgery be covered by insurance?


Upper eyelids may be covered by insurance if the excess skin is blocking your vision. If not then it is deemed cosmetic and most policies do not cover cosmetic surgery. Lower eyelids tend not to block the vision and are rarely covered by insurance.



How long does an eyelid lift last?


As with everything, the ageing process is gradual and does not stop. Most procedures can last for around 5 years or longer if you don't smoke, exercise regularly and have a healthy diet.