Tucson Blepharoplasty Eyelid Surgery Information, Benefits and Risks

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What is a blepharoplasty?

A blepharoplasty, also known as eyelid surgery, improves the appearance of the upper eyelids, lower eyelids, or both. It gives a rejuvenated appearance to the area surrounding your eyes, making you look more rested and alert.

When is a blepharoplasty used?

A blepharoplasty procedure is usually performed on adult men and women who have healthy facial tissue and have realistic goals for improvement of the upper and/or lower eyelids. An upper blepharoplasty can remove excess fatty deposits and loose or sagging skin that creates folds or disturbs the upper eyelid. A lower blepharoplasty can remove excess skin, excess fatty deposits, fine lines and bags under the eye.

What is involved at a consultation for blepharoplasty?

When you come in for your initial consultation, you will meet with both Dr. Maloney and Lindsay, the clinical coordinator. Maloney Plastic Surgery is one of the only practices in Tucson, Arizona to offer VECTRA 3D (three-dimensional) technology to our patients. One of the first things we will do at your consultation is use VECTRA imaging technology to take a 3D image of your face and neck. The exciting part about the VECTRA technology is we can perform a “blepharoplasty” on the 3D image and show you how the operation will look on your face in 3D! You will also be given a user number so you can access your saved images from home to review with your friends and loved ones if you choose. We are excited and proud to offer this amazing technology to our patients. After Vectra imaging, Dr. Maloney will examine you to determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure. He will also discuss details of the operation, show you before and after photos and answer any questions you may have. At this time he will discuss the difference in performing the procedure under local anesthesia in the office, versus going to the surgery center and going to sleep. Lindsay will then review surgical fees, financing options and answer additional questions. If you choose to have surgery, you will return for another consultation about two weeks prior to your operation. At this appointment Dr. Maloney will review the surgical plan with you as well as go through consent forms, review your VECTRA pre-operative photographs and give you your prescriptions. Lindsay will go over all of your surgical instructions and give you a packet of information so when you leave this appointment you are ready for surgery.

How do I prepare for a blepharoplasty?

After meeting with Dr. Maloney and choosing a surgical date for your blepharoplasty, you should plan for your care and recovery after the operation. You will need to arrange a ride to and from the surgery center the day of surgery and arrange for someone to stay with you for the first 24 hours. You should take three days to three weeks off of work for this operation depending on the type of work you do (speak to Lindsay, Dr. Maloney’s Clinical Coordinator for additional information). If your employer requires paperwork for time off, please obtain it ahead of time and bring it to our office. If you smoke, you must quit a minimum of two weeks before surgery. We suggest 6-8 weeks, but two weeks is the minimum. Smokers heal more slowly and can have wound healing problems. If you take aspirin or other medication that causes bleeding, you should stop taking it three weeks before surgery because it causes increased bleeding and therefore more bruising. If you are taking any diet pills (prescription or over-the-counter) or Metformin (a common diabetes medication), you should stop one week prior to surgery to avoid anesthesia risks. All medications, herbs, vitamins and dietary supplements you take should be carefully reviewed with Dr. Maloney prior to surgery.

At your pre-operative consultation with Dr. Maloney you will be given a map to the surgery center and your prescriptions. Get these prescriptions before surgery so they are at home when you will need them. Pick up some bags of frozen peas or corn to use as icepacks after your procedure. You will need to sleep with your head elevated for the first few days to keep swelling and bruising to a minimum. You need to stay hydrated, so have plenty of water or sports drinks around the house. You should mix sports drinks and water 50/50. You should also start taking a stool softener as narcotic pain medication and anesthesia can make you constipated.

If you are having your operation at the surgery center

The morning of surgery you may not have anything to eat or drink after midnight, this includes water. Do not put any lotions, deodorant or make-up on the day of surgery. Do not wear any jewelry to the surgery center. You should wear comfortable clothes that are easy to get on and off. A shirt that zips or buttons up the front is preferable, as are loose workout type pants or sweat pants. Bring your photo ID when you check-in to the surgery center. You will be taken back to the pre-operating area where Dr. Maloney will come and discuss the plan again, answer any additional questions you have and mark the surgical site. You will also meet the anesthesiologist and ask him/her any questions you may have.

If you are having your procedure performed in the office

You will take your prescribed pain medication one hour before your operation. Do not put any lotions or make-up on the day of surgery. Do not wear any jewelry to the office. You should wear comfortable clothes that are easy to get on and off. A shirt that zips or buttons up the front is preferable, as are loose workout type pants or sweat pants. When you arrive, you will be brought to the procedure room where Dr. Maloney will mark the surgical site.

How is a blepharoplasty performed?

The operation takes about 1-3 hours depending on whether the upper eyelids, lower eyelids or both are being operated on. Dr. Maloney will inject a numbing medication and then make his incisions. Typically the upper eyelids are completed before the lowers if both are being done at the same time. The extra fat pads and skin are removed. The incisions are closed with a suture that should come out in about 5-7 days. Steri-strips are placed on the incision to hold the suture in place. After about ten minutes (one hour at the surgery center) you will be ready to go home.

What should I expect after a blepharoplasty?

You will leave the office or the surgery center with steri-strips on the corners of your eyes, which are holding the suture in place. Do not remove these steri-strips. It is normal to ooze a small amount of fluid from the incisions. You should rest and eat a healthy diet high in protein for a speedy recovery. You should also avoid alcohol and refrain from smoking. All surgeons recommend early and frequent ambulation after surgery to reduce the risk of blood clot formation in the legs and to speed up recovery. Your eyes will be swollen, bruised and puffy after surgery. It takes about three weeks to see results, so be patient during the recovery process. Sleep with your head elevated and keep ice compressed on your eyes for the first few days after surgery to minimize swelling and bruising. You may shower 1-3 days after surgery depending on what the office tells you. You will return to the office for your first post-operative exam 1-5 days after surgery depending on whether both upper and lower eyelids were operated on and how much fat was removed. The sutures are removed at 5-7 days. A low-grade fever is not uncommon after any surgical procedure. If you have any questions during the recovery phase, please do not hesitate to call our office any time, day or night.

What are the benefits of a blepharoplasty?

After the procedure your eyelids with have a more youthful appearance because the sagging skin and puffy circles will be gone. You will also look more rested.

What are the risks of a blepharoplasty?

Blepharoplasty has both aesthetic and health risks, and it is the patient’s personal decision whether the benefits outweigh those risks. Common risks include scaring, bleeding, infection, asymmetry, ectropion, or dry eyes. There are also more uncommon, complicated risks such as deep vein thrombosis. For a full list of risks, go to plasticsurgery.org.