Mr Neil Toft

Consultant Plastic Surgeon

BSc MBChB MD FRCS (Plast)

 

0845 094 5657

 

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UPPER BLEPHAROPLASTY INFORMATION

General Background

Blepharoplasty is the medical name for the operation which removes eye bags. The prefix "upper" simply refers to the upper eyelid, and hence upper blepharoplasty is also known as an upper eyelid reduction. This operation removes the loose skin and excess fat which are above the eye, generating a younger, fresher look.
With age many people develop redundant skin on the upper eyelid which is at best unsightly and at worst may interfere with vision. In addition, some of the fat from within the eye socket prolapses (moves forward) making the situation worse. Blepharoplasty is a relatively common procedure performed in both men and women, and gives excellent results.


Before the operation

There is nothing special or complicated to be done by the patient. If you are on the oral contraceptive pill or HRT you should continue to keep taking it, and inform the surgeon or anaesthetist in the hospital. It would be advisable to stop any herbal medicines and avoid aspirin or ibuprofen-like drugs for 2 weeks before and after the operation.


The operation itself

Patients normally come into the hospital on the morning of surgery. The operation is usually performed under general anaesthetic and takes about one hour. It is possible to this operation under local anaesthetic; however, a quick general anaesthetic is preferred by most patients. When you wake up you will have steristrips (paper stitches) over the upper eyelids. Patients often go home that afternoon.

Post-operative follow-up and after care

The steristrip dressing should be left alone and not interfered with. It is important to rest and take it very easy for at least 2 weeks after the operation and it is essential to avoid all strenuous activity during this period - this includes all sexual activity. You wound be advised to take 10 days off work to allow any swelling and bruising to settle. It is critical that you do not bend down and lower your head as this increases the possibility of bleeding and bruising. Vigorous sport such as jogging or the gym should be avoided for 4 weeks.
At between 5 and 7 days you will be seen in the clinic and the steristrips and stitches removed. A check-up clinic appointment at 3 months after the surgery will be arranged for you.


Complications

All operations carry a risk of complications, although in upper blepharoplasty these are very low. There will be small scars on the upper eyelid which heal very well and with time become almost invisible. Very occasionally the scars may be red for a few months but they usually settle down by themselves without any treatment. They can be easily covered by make-up during this time.
The risk of infection is very low, about 1 %, and responds well to antibiotics. Some patients complain of dry or gritty eyes after the operation. This is related to changes in lubrication of the eye or swelling of the lining of the eye. Fortunately, these changes are temporary and resolve spontaneously. If the dryness or grittiness is a problem during this period simple lubricating eye drops can be prescribed.
Many patients will notice that there is bruising of the upper eyelid area, the amount of which varies between individuals. This bruising resolves by 10 days. The most serious complication is of severe bleeding behind the eye itself after surgery. This is called a "haematoma" (collection of blood) and can interfere with vision. Great care is taken to avoid this extremely rare problem, which has an incidence quoted at 1 in 40,000 cases.

Summary

Blepharoplasty is a simple day case procedure designed to reduce the excess skin and fat of the upper eyelid. It gives good, predictable results and improves the appearance of the eyes.


Operation Time 1 - 2 hours
Anaesthetic General
Nights in hospital 0 or 1
Time off work 10 days
Return to normality/exercise 4 weeks