Despite the comprehensive list of risks outlined in the consent form, eyelid surgery is a relatively safe and effective operation when compared to many more widely invasive plastic and reconstructive surgical operations. The vast majority of patients who undergo eyelid surgery are pleased with their results.
Upper eyelid blepharoplasty usually takes 30-60 minutes for both sides. The procedure is usually performed in the office under local anesthesia or in the operating room with sedation. In both instances, the eyelids are marked with a surgical skin marker and local anesthetic is injected. Ice packs are placed on the eyelids immediately after surgery. Antibiotic ointment is applied to the incisions.
Lower eyelid blepharoplasty, and brow lifts are most often performed in the operating room, with sedation or general anesthesia. For ptosis surgery, patient’s cooperation may be necessary to achieve the best results. Most patients are comfortable and rarely experience discomfort during surgery.
Detailed instructions will be given to you prior to surgery
Two weeks prior to surgery stop Aspirin, Motrin, Aleve, Advil, Excedrin, Naproxen and other NSAIDs. Stop taking all herbal supplements and vitamins. These medications and certain herbal supplements and vitamins thin the blood and can lead to excessive bruising. Only stop prescription medications such as Aspirin, Coumadin and Plavix after discussing it with your doctor. Arnica and Bromelain are homeopathic supplements that may help reduce bruising and swelling and can be started one week before surgery and continued for one week after.
You will be given prescriptions prior to surgery to fill and have ready at home.
If you are a smoker, its best to stop smoking 2 weeks prior to surgery. Nicotine can impair and delay the healing process.
You will need the following items at home after surgery:
- Small ziplock bags
- Frozen peas and ice
- Extra Strength Tylenol
Bring a responsible adult to drive you home after your surgery. Do not wear make-up on the day of surgery.
You will need to rest and care for yourself in the first few days after surgery. Make the necessary arrangements for household chores and childcare.
The recovery time following eyelid surgery varies from patient to patient depending on the type of surgery, age, general health and medications/supplements. Even when undergoing the same procedure, patients may take different amount of time to heal.
In general, for patients having upper eyelid blepharoplasty, 5 to 7 days off work is typical while for those having both and upper and lower eyelid blepharoplasty, up to 10 to 14 days may be necessary. Most patients can return to normal daily functions such as driving in 2-3 days following surgery and patients with occupations requiring minimal physical activity may be able to get back to work sooner. Although you may feel physically well to return to work, factors such as swelling and bruising may affect your decision.
All patients having eyelid surgery will experience some swelling and bruising that will usually peak at 48-72 hours and gradually improve over the first 1-3 weeks. Younger patients tend to recover faster while older skin bruises more easily and takes longer to heal. Ice packs, head elevation, supplement such as Arnica and Bromelain, and rest may help minimize swelling. It is advised to avoid straining, bending or lifting in the first week following the surgery. Most patients can resume regular physical activity after one week. The amount of swelling and bruising varies from patient to patient and even between left and right sides in the same patient. Mild bruising may resolve in 2-4 days, whereas more significant bruising may last 10-14 days. Makeup can be applied starting two weeks after surgery.
The nurse will go over the detailed instructions following surgery. Most patients will need to return to the office 6-8 days after surgery to be examined and have sutures removed. The next appointment is usually between 8-12 weeks, depending on what was done.