Preparing for Eyelid Surgery
Not everyone is an ideal candidate for eyelid surgery. The right candidate will understand that eyelid surgery is performed exclusively to remove under-eye bags, correct puffy upper eyelids, and restore vision that is obscured by excess skin and fat in the eyelids. Unfortunately, the presence of certain ophthalmic and medical conditions can exclude one from having the blepharoplasty procedure performed. Read on to learn who is an ideal candidate for blepharoplasty, as well as blepharoplasty pre-operative instructions.
Ideal candidates for blepharoplasty have:
- Puffy upper eyelids: the procedure can smooth the appearance of under-eye bags or puffiness.
- Tired looking eyes: Eyelid surgery can address the features that cause you to appear older and more tired than you truly are.
- Excess upper eyelid skin: surgeons can tighten and remove extra eyelid skin.
Eyelid surgery candidates should be:
- At least 18 years old: Most candidates are over 35, but if droopy or baggy eyelids are common in your family, you might be an ideal candidate at a younger age.
- In good physical and mental health: Though a minor surgical procedure, there are different eyelid surgery risks for potential patients to consider. The ideal candidate for blepharoplasty will take these risks into consideration when making a final decision regarding the surgery.
- Realistic: Patients should be realistic in their expectations concerning the outcome of the procedure.
Visit the DocShop gallery to view more eyelid surgery before and after photos.
Photo credit: Vincent R. DiGregorio, MD
Even those who seem like ideal candidates for eyelid surgery can be prohibited from undergoing the procedure due to specific medical or ophthalmic conditions that may elevate the risks involved in the surgery. Glaucoma and dry eye are two such ophthalmic conditions that can be complicated or aggravated by any form of surgery on the eyelids.
Other medical conditions that may exclude a person from eyelid surgery include hyperthyroidism (e.g., Graves' disease), cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Lack of proper orbital anatomy – or the insufficient structure to support the procedure – can also exclude one from eyelid surgery. The condition of bone and adjacent supportive structure can have an affect on a person’s suitability for the procedure.
In order to ensure a safe, successful, satisfying eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) procedure, it is imperative that you prepare yourself properly in the weeks before the procedure. Consult with your surgeon regarding the best ways to prepare for your approaching surgical procedure, and adhere to them closely.
The Eyelid Surgery Consultation
If you are considering eyelid surgery, your first step should be to contact a surgeon to schedule an initial consultation. During the consultation, your surgeon will work with you to establish realistic expectations about the results of your blepharoplasty procedure and discuss the cost of eyelid surgery. The surgery will be explained in great detail so as not to leave any question or concern you have unaddressed. Depending on your needs and your surgeon’s observations, additional facial procedures such as a brow lift or chin implants may be recommended.
Your surgeon will also arrange to view your comprehensive medical history to decide if you are in satisfactory condition for eyelid surgery. The surgeon must be made aware of conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and bleeding disorders, as these can increase the risks associated with blepharoplasty. Previous eyelid surgeries and refractive surgeries such as LASIK are also crucial to know about, as they can affect the risk of complications. Your surgeon may also ask for medical clearance from your general physician and, depending on your health, request laboratory testing.
The Weeks Prior to Eyelid Surgery
In the weeks leading up to your blepharoplasty, it is important to cut down, if not eliminate, smoking and drinking alcohol. If you take vitamin E supplements, cease taking them in the weeks prior to your eyelid surgery. In addition, avoid gingko biloba and ginseng, as these are believed to prolong the bleeding after the surgery. For the same reason, aspirin or any medications containing aspirin or ibuprofen should also be avoided at all costs in the weeks leading up to the surgery. Be sure to ask your surgeon about acceptable alternatives to these drugs. Lastly, continue to take prescription and daily medicines as long as they have been approved by your surgeon.
The Day before Eyelid Surgery
On the day before your eyelid surgery, make sure that you have the following items stocked at home:
- Ice cubes
- Clean washcloths
- Clean bowl for cold water
- Gallon-size Ziploc® bags (to make ice packs)
- Sterile gauze pads
- Bottle of acetaminophen
- Bottle of artificial tears
- Groceries for the week
You should also be sure that you have arranged for someone to take you to and from the place where your blepharoplasty will be performed. Finally, your plastic surgeon may have some specific instructions for you to follow the day before your surgery, such as abstaining from eating or drinking after midnight the day of your surgery.
The Day of Eyelid Surgery
While the directions for preparing for eyelid surgery may differ somewhat from surgeon to surgeon, there are some general guidelines you can follow to help ensure the procedure goes smoothly. Before adhering to any of the following guidelines, check them with your surgeon.
- Make sure to shower and shampoo before the procedure and to wash your eyebrows
- Do not wear make-up or other cosmetics should not be worn
- Leave false eyelashes, contact lenses, jewelry, and any other unnecessary accessories at home
- Wear loose-fitting and comfortable clothing to your surgery
- Talk to your surgeon to find out whether any prescription medicines or eye drops you regularly take may be taken the morning of your blepharoplasty
Arranging Transportation and After-Care
It is imperative that you arrange for someone to transport you home after your eyelid surgery. Make sure that you clearly understand your surgeon’s post-operative care instructions, as they are vital to a quick, comfortable, and safe recovery from blepharoplasty.
Speak with a Blepharoplasty Surgeon in Your Area
In considering any surgery, the best source of information is your surgeon. The DocShop directory of physicians can assist you in locating a surgeon in your area to perform your blepharoplasty procedure. If you're found to be a good candidate, eyelid surgery can remove those under-eye bags and correct those puffy upper eyelids that make you appear older and more tired than you feel. Find a qualified eyelid surgeon and find out if eyelid surgery is for you.