Also known as an eyelid lift, blepharoplasty is a surgical treatment for the removal of excess skin, fat, or muscle of the eyelids, to treat droopy upper eyelids or bags under the eyes. Excess, saggy skin around the eyelids can give one a tired or aged appearance—and extra skin of the upper lids may also block or reduce one’s side or peripheral vision. At Aviva Plastic surgery & Aesthetics, our Facial Plastic Surgeon Dr. Inessa Fishman performs blepharoplasty to rejuvenate the eyelids and to help correct problems with vision.
“One of the most common questions I get from patients is how to speed up their recovery after blepharoplasty,” says Dr. Fishman. While this procedure generally requires 5-10 days of downtime, Dr. Fishman recommends the below steps to ensure a smooth and uneventful recovery after blepharoplasty surgery.
1: Give yourself—and your body—grace:
Surgery, no matter how minor, requires recovery, and this recovery is both physical and emotional. Every patient gets some degree of bruising and swelling after blepharoplasty, says Dr. Fishman, and the body needs time to resolve these as well as to heal surgical incisions. It is also very common for patients to go through a “blue” period or experience some “buyer’s remorse” symptoms, and these are temporary as well. You, your mind, and body need time to heal after blepharoplasty, so be gentle with yourself in your recovery.
2: Follow Dr. Fishman’s instructions
A strict adherence to post-treatment instructions is a good way to obtain predictable results, says Dr. Fishman. At Aviva Plastic Surgery, we provide our patients with pre- and post-treatment instructions before surgery, to give patients and their caregivers and family plenty of time to review these instructions, have appropriate expectations, and have some time to get their questions answered. Reviewing your post-blepharoplasty instructions not only gives you a good idea of recovery expectations, but also answers the majority of questions you may have—which is a great way to put your mind at ease during an anxiety-producing time. While not every patient’s recovery exactly matches another, following Dr. Fishman’s instructions and keeping in close touch with our staff is an important part of a smooth recovery for every patient.
3: Use cool compresses
Cool compresses are helpful in reducing post-surgical swelling and decreasing discomfort after blepharoplasty. Dr. Fishman cautions against using ice directly on the skin, as this can create frostbite in the setting of numbing medicine and post-surgical numbness.
4: Consider using anti-bruising and anti-swelling remedies
Dr. Fishman uses a variety of measures to decrease swelling after blepharoplasty, including low-dose anti-inflammatory medications, compression, and cool compresses. She also likes Arnica-containing Ocumend® patches which infuse anti-bruising and anti-swelling medications directly into the skin around the eyes after surgery. Oral supplements containing the anti-bruising ingredients Bromelain and Arnica may also be considered.
5: Avoid makeup and skincare directly on your incisions
We understand the desire to get back to your regular routine as soon as possible after surgery. That said, certain ingredients in many skincare products may be irritating to healing incisions, and makeup pigment may get tattooed within open skin, resulting in long-lasting, undesired discoloration of scars. Be patient with your healing, and avoid your regular skincare and makeup on your freshly healing incisions until Dr. Fishman clears you for best results.
6: Expect some eye dryness and blurriness
As the eyelids recover from surgery, some patients may experience varying degrees of eye dryness, irritation, a sensation of something “stuck in the eye,” and blurry vision. These symptoms are common, mostly temporary, and are carefully monitored during your recovery. Avoid contact lenses until cleared by Dr. Fishman, and do not rush out to get new lens or glasses prescription—your vision is very likely to normalize after surgery.
7: Itching is normal and common
Sensory or feeling nerves are disrupted with blepharoplasty surgery and take several weeks to recover. While these nerves regrow and reconnect, most patients experience transient feelings of itching, electrical “zings,” or something crawling on the skin. Female patients may notice their eyelashes feel “weird” when applying mascara. While Dr. Fishman cautions against scratching—this may disrupt healing eyelids and introduce infection into healing scars—she says that gentle pressure on itchy, healing tissues often provides relief.
8: Don’t judge the results of your treatment too soon
While most of the post-surgical swelling resolves within the first 2 weeks after surgery, the last remnants of swelling takes months to go away, says Dr. Fishman. It is understandable to want immediate results and to get back to your daily life as soon as possible, but Dr. Fishman advises patience in healing after blepharoplasty and advises that most concerns and worries resolve over time after surgery.
9: Call us with any questions or concerns
If you have any questions or concerns after blepharoplasty surgery, please contact our office. Sudden, increased pain and changes in vision are urgent concerns, and if you experience these, please let us know right away. No question or concern is too minor after surgery, and getting answers to your questions is often the best way to allay your concerns.
10: Look forward to younger, brighter-looking eyes!
Blepharoplasty provides gratifying results to our patients, and is one of the most common surgical procedures Dr. Fishman performs for a reason—the end result is brighter, more alert and younger-looking eyes! Keep this in mind, and stay positive during your recovery. Here’s to great healing!