How is this procedure done?

Eyelid lift is performed by making an elliptical incision in the upper lid first. Excess skin, muscle and fat bags will be removed and the skin will be stitched (sutured). If necessary, an incision that extends slightly beyond the outside corner of the eye will be made in the lower lid, beneath the eyelashes. Excessive skin and fat will be removed, sagging muscles will be tightened and the incision stitched (sutured). Often the lower lid bags can be removed without any visible incision or scar.

Some women have hereditary or acquired darkening of the lower eyelid skin in addition to bags and wrinkles. The eyelid lift may not improve this darkening, but most people can be helped by a chemical peel of the lower lids some weeks after the procedure. A peel is rarely done at the same time as an eyelid lift. Consult with your surgeon to determine if additional procedures will enhance your eyes.

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How do I prepare for my eyelid lift?

During your initial preoperative visit with your surgeon, be prepared to give a complete medical history including all your medications, allergies and previous surgeries. You will undergo a thorough physical examination and blood tests. If you are over age 50, an electrocardiogram may be taken. Photographs are important aids in planning and performing your eyelid lift. They become a permanent part of your patient record and are taken before and several months after your procedure.

During your consultation, you will be given specific directions to help you prepare for your procedure. Instructions generally include taking vitamins, cautions about taking certain medication and drinking alcohol, the shaving process and use of antibacterial soap.

You must not eat or drink anything eight hours before your procedure. If you take daily medication, ask your surgeon if it is safe to take before your procedure. If you have any sores on your body, if you have a cold, sore throat or allergic condition, inform your surgeon so you may be examined prior to your procedure.

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How long does the procedure take?

If both upper and lower eyelids are done together an eyelid lift takes approximately one hour. Less time is required if the procedure is performed only on the lower or only on the upper eyelids.

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What form of anesthesia is used?

You may have an eyelid lift under local anesthesia with light sedation administered by your surgeon. If you are having an eyelid lift in conjunction with a facelift or other procedures, you will receive general anesthesia, given by an expert anesthesiologist M.D. (medical doctor) and you will be asleep throughout.

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Can I return home the same day?

Yes. An eyelid lift is done on an outpatient basis. Be sure to arrange for someone to drop you off, pick you up, take you home and stay with you for at least 24 hours. You will not be able to drive yourself.

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What precautions should I take during my recovery?

After your procedure, ice compresses are applied to the eyelids. Your eyes are not bandaged. However, medication used during the procedure may cause blurred vision for one or two hours but clears up rapidly. Ice compresses should be continued for 24 hours after your procedure. You should remain quiet at home and keep visitors and telephone calls to a minimum for the first two days. Bruising around the eyes can be disguised with lightly tinted glasses. You can purchase and wear these glasses before your procedure so that they will not draw attention during your postoperative period. You will be given specific instructions regarding rest, sleeping position, washing your face and hair, driving and work involving any eye strain.

A light cosmetic cover-up may be blended onto the lower lids starting four days after the procedure. Other facial and eyelid makeup for women including mascara, eye shadow, eyeliner, and artificial eyelashes may be applied seven days after the procedure. It is important to remove all makeup thoroughly at the end of the day using an upward motion. You may use oiled eye pads for makeup removal.

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How long before I can return to normal activity?

Most people return to work and regular functions in less than a week.

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What are some of the complications that can occur with an eyelid lift?

Eyelid lift rarely produces a serious complication. Any form of surgery will leave scars. With an eyelid lift, the scars are placed within natural eyelid folds and facial lines so that they are inconspicuous and rarely detectable. Nevertheless, you should be aware that scars are permanent, and their width, height, and color are not totally predictable. Patients occasionally ask if blindness can result from this procedure. While this complication has been reported, it is exceedingly rare. Lesser complications include improper closure of the eyes during sleep (lagophthalmus), dryness of the eyes, light sensitivity and sagging (ptosis) of the upper eyelids. It is important to enter into your procedure aware not only of the benefits, but also of the possible complications. Talk to your surgeon about every question and concern you may have.

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What can I expect immediately after my procedure as well as later on?

Some swelling and discoloration are expected following an eyelid lift but usually subside in five to ten days. Following the procedure, there will be slight discomfort that can be relieved by medication. You will be given a prescription for any pain. Eyelid stitches are removed four days postoperative.

Remember that an eyelid lift cannot stop the aging process around your eyes. Although excess skin is removed and wrinkles are diminished, your skin continues to age. "Bags" beneath the lower eyelids usually do not recur. As you grow older the skin of the upper lids becomes looser and may create additional folds in which case an upper lid "touch-up" can be done. In time you may feel the need to have a second procedure. There is no set limit as to how many eyelid lifts you may have.

Your eyelid lift is designed to give your eyes the lighter more vigorous appearance you seek. Be sure to address any questions or concerns about this procedure to your surgeon immediately. Your health and contentment are the most important considerations any time.

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