The eyes are often the most telling facial features in terms of both emotions and environmental influences. The skin and muscles around the eyes are among the most delicate in the body. They are also among the most exposed and most frequently used. As a result, indications of aging, stress and sun damage usually appear first around the eyes.
The signs of stressors such as time, smoking, sunlight, long-term sleep-deprivation, alcohol, overwork or simply strong feelings, take different forms on the tissue surrounding the eyes. In some men and women, fat deposits accumulate in the upper and lower eyelids, giving the eyes a perpetually puffy appearance. Fat deposits can also gather under the eyes and look like permanent sleep-deprivation circles. Sometimes, the muscles of the skin above the eyes weaken and the skin folds over the lids, making the eyes seem only half-open and imparting a fatigued or bored look to the face. Occasionally, these changes can even negatively impact on vision, though for most people, they are simply cosmetically undesirable.
Blepharoplasty, the medical term for eyelid surgery, removes fat deposits and excess skin and muscle from one or more areas around the eyes. Following the normal lines and creases of the eyelids and the underlying contours of the bones around the eyes, Dr. Loving then redrapes the skin to create a natural but more youthful appearance in the eye area. He closes the incisions with very fine sutures, and because most of the incisions are in the hidden creases or corners of the eyes, this procedure leaves almost no visible scars.
Blepharoplasty can be performed on just the upper lids, on just the lower lids, or on both simultaneously. The degree to which the skin is smoothed or tightened can also be varied according to the patient’s wishes.
Some patients who are still quite young have fat deposits settle around their eyes but have no significant loss in their skin’s elasticity. Their eyes appear puffy, but not droopy. In these cases, no skin is removed, only the fat deposits. Incisions are made on the inside of the lids where they leave no visible scars, fat is removed with fine forceps, and the incisions are closed with dissolving sutures. The skin then contracts by itself over the area from which the fat was taken.
Blepharoplasty can also add an upper eyelid crease to Asian eyes. Photographic examples of each type of blepharoplasty can be viewed in Dr. Loving’s office by patients who are considering the procedure.
As with other cosmetic surgeries, a thorough consultation with Dr. Loving is required. This consultation will give the doctor a picture of your medical history, your overall health and lifestyle and your cosmetic desires. Blepharoplasty is usually performed in Dr. Loving’s operating room under “twilight” anesthesia. If the patient wishes, however, the operation can be done in a hospital and under general anesthesia. Depending on the areas operated upon, the surgery will take between one and three hours. A companion must accompany the patient home. When the anesthesia wears off, the eyelids may feel tight and sore, but discomfort is usually mild and can be controlled with pain medication prescribed by Dr. Loving. For the first few days after the operation, the patient should keep his or her head elevated and use cold compresses to minimize swelling and bruising, the extent of which varies from patient to patient. Stitches will be removed two days to four days after the operation, and concealing eye makeup may then be worn to cover any bruises. Most people feel ready to return to public life in five to seven days, though they must refrain from strenuous activities for about two weeks. As with other kinds of plastic surgery, final cosmetic results take a few weeks to appear, but for most people they are permanent. To request more information or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Loving, please call 212-472-0900.