Cosmetic eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) is a procedure that corrects drooping upper eyelids and puffy bags under the eyes by removing excess fat, skin, and muscle from the area. In some cases, eyelid surgery corrects overhanging upper lids that obscure vision.
The result of cosmetic eyelid surgery is a more youthful and well-rested appearance without a change in the shape or expression of the eyes. For many people, these results are long-lasting. With that being said, while uncommon, after some time if a small amount of excess skin develops again it can be removed.
In the all-important preparation period, you need to make sure that your physical and mental condition are in the best shape prior to your procedure. Top board-certified New York plastic surgeons will routinely give you a set of instructions outlining what to do and what not to do before and after your procedure. Below we’ve outlined general best practices for patients to follow before and after surgery.
Best Practices to follow Before Your Procedure
- Do Not Smoke: Studies show that surgical wounds will take longer to heal than those of a non-smoker. Smoking also increases the risk of increasing the chances of postoperative complications so we recommend cutting back as early as you possibly can.
- Take No Aspirin: Drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, or anti-inflammatories should not be taken in the few weeks prior to your procedure. Over-the-counter medicines like nutritional supplements should also be avoided. This is because they can have an adverse effect on your body’s ability to heal properly, and could interact negatively with any prescribed medications your plastic surgeon might give you during or after your eyelid surgery. Your plastic surgeon will provide you with detailed instructions about this.
- Avoid Aspirin and Ibuprofen: If you normally rely on these drugs to relieve pain, curtail their use while you recover from your cosmetic eyelid procedure. These drugs can interfere with your body’s ability to form blood clots as it would normally. Instead, take drugs containing acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, for relief from headaches or other forms of pain.
- Arrange Transportation: You’ll need to be driven to and from the site of your surgical procedure, as you’ll be tired and groggy due to the general anesthesia you’ll be given. Ask a trusted friend, partner, or family member to drive you to your surgical appointment and back home.
- Avoid Unnecessary Bending: Refrain explicitly from any lifting or physical activity which can increase blood flow to your eyes and complicate your surgery.
- Have Things Within Reach: There are everyday items that you’ll need and want to have within reach during your recovery, like bottles of juice, bathroom items, kitchen utensils for meals, light snacks, etc. Have everything on a small table or by your favorite chair or recliner.
- Get Your House In Order: Make sure you have all of your household tasks taken care of before you go in for your procedure. Even simple things like doing the laundry or loading up the dishwasher are not going to be options for the immediate time that follows after your surgery.
- Arrange Pet and Child Care: If you care for family members or children, even pets, enlist the help of someone to look after everybody for the first few days after you’re home to begin your recovery.
- Stock Up: Have necessary medications, and vitamins that you normally take ready and waiting for you when you return home. Another great tip is to create a schedule that clearly lists when which drugs should be taken and how so (in the morning, with food, etc.).
- Freeze Ahead: Try to prepare your meals in advance before you go in for your cosmetic eyelid surgery. We also recommend stocking up on ready-prepared meals that are already frozen.
- No Drinking: A week before your cosmetic eye surgery, take your last alcoholic drink. Your system should be free of any alcohol before you check-in for surgery.
- Overnight Stay (Optional): Cosmetic eyelid surgery is generally performed as an outpatient procedure, and takes between 1 and 2 hours to complete. In cases where a patient is combining eyelid surgery with other, more invasive plastic surgery procedures such as a tummy tuck, facelift, or rhinoplasty, an overnight stay may be recommended for the patient’s safety and to give them a better jumpstart on their recovery. If this is your situation, prepare an overnight bag with the essentials you need to keep you comfortable for a hospital stay. This could include a dressing gown and slippers, any toiletries, glasses, and your favorite body wash and lotion. You can leave valuables such as jewelry at home.
- Limit Food & Drink Before Surgery: There are guidelines that recommend patients to refrain from eating at least 8 hours prior to surgery. Clear fluids may be consumed up to 2 hours before surgery. This is to help avoid complications with your anesthesia that can result from solids or liquids in your system. Eating and drinking too close to the time of your surgery could cause your procedure to be canceled to protect your safety.
Best Practices to follow After Your Procedure
- Be Patient: In the first couple of weeks following your cosmetic eyelid surgery, your eyes are going to be red and swollen. Ultimately the end result will be worth every bit of discomfort you experience. Following your doctor’s orders regarding recovery will help you heal as quickly and smoothly as possible.
- Rest your Eyes: Refrain from any reading or television viewing in the first week following your cosmetic eyelid surgery, no matter how tempting it might be. These activities can quickly dry out your eyes, which can impede healing. If you’re a contact lens wearer, leave them out and put on dark sunglasses instead. This will be your new normal for the first couple of weeks after your procedure.
- Keep Personal Comforts Close: Your procedure is going to leave you very tired and loopy from the anesthesia, and you’re likely going to just want to sleep it all off. Have your cozy clothes and blankets close to ensure recovery is as comfortable as possible.
- Follow Medication Instructions: Make sure that you’ve gotten approval from your surgeon to either stop or resume medications you were taking before your eyelid surgery. One of the medications your surgeon may ask you to stop is blood thinners like Warfarin or over-the-counter drugs such as Aspirin. You may have to take antibiotics during your recovery to prevent and protect yourself from infection. Any prescription you’re given should be taken through its complete dosage cycle following doctor’s orders, and if you have any concerns about side effects or stopping any prescribed drugs, first consult all of your physicians and specialists.
- Keep Eyelid Dressings Clean: You may need to wear dressings that include ointments to provide lubrication to your eyelids to reduce scarring, or cold compresses to reduce swelling after your surgery. Be sure to keep the dressings clean and moist to maintain their effectiveness.
- Maintain Personal Hygiene: Your eyelid dressing instructions will likely include the regular application of medicated ointments or moisturizers. Therefore you must thoroughly and carefully wash your hands, clean under your fingernails, and wear gloves to prevent bacteria from getting into your eyes. Also keep any physical tubes or apparatus from directly touching your eyes when applying medications. During the first two weeks of recovery, you’ll need to avoid makeup, facial cleansers, and lotions.
- Sleep, Sleep, Sleep: As with any surgery, your body works hard to properly heal. You’ll find that you tire much more easily and need more time to rest. Whenever your eyes start to feel strained and tired, close them and sleep when you feel the need. The more rest you can give your body, the better.
- Avoid UV Rays: One of the benefits of your eyelid surgery is that the results will last as long as you can keep from exposing yourself to factors that can age your appearance. That’s why it will be particularly important to wear protective sunglasses that are very dark and can cover the entire orbital area of your eyes. For more information, check out the AARP protective eyewear guide. Additionally, we recommend the use of sunscreen protection daily to avoid preemptive aging.
The more you know about the procedure and the options available, the better equipped you’ll be to make an informed decision. At Aristocrat Plastic Surgery & MedAesthetics, Dr. Kevin Tehrani is an expert at providing safe and natural-looking eyelid lifts for his patients. When choosing our office, we want you to feel 100% comfortable and confident with your decision. We’re available to answer any and all questions you have about eyelid surgery. Just give us a call!