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Cosmetic Surgery For The Eyelids

This operation has undergone modification with the advent of Laser Resurfacing. A few particulars:

The Procedure and Post-operative Care

The erythema following laser use can take months to go away in some cases. Therefore, if the surgery is performed without laser re-surfacing, recovery is more rapid. The bruising (variable) usually becomes barely noticable by 7-10 days. Swelling also resolves quickly in most cases in the same period, but a few patients can take 4-6 weeks to improve. Ice packs (or cool silicone gel treatments) may reduce this swelling and can be applied for a day or two post-operatively. Most patients can go back to work in a week although some patients will go back in as few as two days. Heavy lifting or straining is to be discouraged for one to two weeks as it could retard the resolution of swelling.


Poor outcomes in blepharoplasty are rare, but some can be serious. This is the factor which tempers the hand of the wise surgeon. Overly aggressive surgery may pre-dispose toward a poor result.

Dry eyes are not uncommonly seen after surgery. As people age, their lacrimal glands tend to tear less. This can be made worse (usually temporarily) by the surgery. Artificial tears can be used for a few weeks as needed as most cases resolve with time.

Ectropion is seen in cases in which the lower eyelid is too lax pre-operatively or too much skin is removed in the surgery. It can also happen in laser re-surfacing as a function of the heat treatment. It appears as an outwardly turned lower eyelid. It can sometimes resolve with time (a few months) or may require corrective surgery.

Asymmetry is always possible and frequently pre-operatively visible. I will discuss with patients pre-operatively that this can be addressed during the operation, but absolute symmetry is impossible and unnatural. This is where patient expectations come in. Those patients will less than realistic expectations are those for which an operation may not be warranted.

Other more serious complications occur extremely rarely. Bleeding in a worse case scenario can cause blindness. Cases of this are reported once a year or so in the journals (extremely rare), but underscore the importance of absolutely avoiding pain relievers such as Aspirin, Motrin, Ibuprofen, etc.. These medications should be discontinued at least 7-10 days prior to surgery as they increase the tendency to bleed.

Please note that this information (as well as that on all my pages) is offered freely to individuals considering cosmetic surgery. No rights are granted and it is not to be reprinted or copied without the author's prior written consent. Understand that some of the information presented may be a matter of professional opinion. Although efforts have been made to assure accuracy, no guarantees are expressed or implied.


© John Di Saia, MD... an Orange County California Plastic Surgeon