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Blepharoplasty Chicago

What is the value of a first impression? The first place we look is into the eyes of whoever we are interacting with. Your eyes display emotional states to the world. They also show signs of aging or betray a poor night’s sleep. Sagging tissue of the upper eyelid, fine lines of the outer eyelid, and bags under the eyes that can make a person look tired, unhealthy, frail, and older. To turn back the clock, Chicago Oculofacial Plastic Surgery offers patients blepharoplasty surgery (also known as eyelid lift surgery, or eye bag surgery ). Many patients comment that they look refreshed and get positive feedback from friends and family after having eyelid surgery. Upper and lower lid blepharoplasty procedures address the excess skin, prolapse of fat bags, and other conditions of the eyelids. Blepharoplasty may improve the appearance of your eyes and help you look less tired and more youthful. It may also improve a heaviness some patients feel around their eyes. What is the improved confidence many experience after blepharoplasty worth to you?

Board-Certified Oculofacial Plastic Surgeons are super subspecialists in complex reconstructive surgery of the eyelids and face. Amongst their peers in Aesthetic Facial Plastic Surgery (Facial Plastic Surgeons, Plastic Surgeons, and Dermatologists) Oculofacial Plastic Surgeons (or Oculoplastic Surgeons) have preliminary training in Ophthalmology and therefore take your eye health and safety as their primary concern. Subsequent fellowship training involves 2 years of apprenticeship followed by oral and written board exams required to join the Oculofacial Society. Dr. Phelps is an examiner for this prestigious group of super subspecialists who are best suited to perform your blepharoplasty safely and with the highest quality outcomes.


Why have a blepharoplasty?

There are several reasons why someone might choose to have a blepharoplasty:

To improve the appearance of the eyes: Blepharoplasty can be done to improve the appearance of the eyelids, including removing excess skin or fat deposits that can make the eyes appear tired, puffy, or aged. Most patients want a blepharoplasty to enhance their appearance.

To correct asymmetry: Some people may have asymmetrical eyelids, where one eyelid droops more than the other. Blepharoplasty can help to correct this and improve overall symmetry of the face. Perfect symmetry is impossible to achieve, but blepharoplasty can be done to improve symmetry.

To correct vision problems: In some cases, excess skin or fat on the eyelids can obstruct vision, making it difficult to see. Blepharoplasty can correct this problem and improve vision. Please check your insurance plan to see if they cover eyelid surgery. Most insurances will require photos and visual field testing that demonstrate significant vision loss before they will pay for eyelid surgery.

It is important to note that like any surgery, there are risks and potential complications associated with blepharoplasty, and it should be done only after careful consideration and consultation with a qualified and experienced oculofacial plastic surgeon.

What should you consider before blepharoplasty surgery?

Before deciding to undergo blepharoplasty, there are several important factors to consider:

Your overall health: Blepharoplasty is an elective eyelid surgery, and you should be in good overall health and should have good eye health prior to surgery. We may ask you to discontinue blood thinners, avoid certain cosmetic treatments, or recommend that you see an expert in something related to your eye or overall health before you undergo blepharoplasty.

Your expectations: It is important to have realistic expectations about the result of blepharoplasty. While the procedure will likely improve the appearance of your eyelids, it may not eliminate all signs of aging or produce dramatic changes in your appearance. We aim to give patients a natural and refreshed result.

Recovery time: The first few days after surgery you will be icing frequently, this constricts blood vessels and reduces bruising and swelling. By around one week the sutures typically dissolve and at this time you will visit the doctor to monitor healing. Most patients go back to work after this visit. At around two weeks most casual observers will likely not be able to see bruising or swelling, this is when most patients return to social activities and can resume strenuous activity such as exercise. If you have major events such as a wedding or graduation, we recommend planning surgery at least six weeks prior. Full healing and maturation of scar tissue may take up to one year.

Potential risks and complications: As with any surgery, blepharoplasty carries certain risks and potential complications, such as bleeding, infection, poor healing (scarring), and rare risk of vision loss. It is important to discuss these risks with your oculofacial plastic surgeon and to carefully follow all pre- and post-operative instructions to minimize the risk of complications.

Decisions regarding type of anesthesia: We will also discuss options to help you be as comfortable as possible during surgery. Options include local anesthesia combined with either an oral anti-anxiety medication, monitored anesthesia care (twilight), or general anesthesia. We preform local and twilight anesthesia in our office with the assistance of our excellent nurse anesthetists. General anesthesia cases with intubation of the airway require a trip to the hospital or ambulatory surgical center.

What should you expect during blepharoplasty surgery?

During surgery we want to make sure that you are completely comfortable. The exact details will depend on the specific case, but you will find a general overview of what to expect during surgery:

Marking: The surgeon will carefully measure and mark your eyelid. These markings are a guide as to how much tissue will be removed and where fat pads may be transposed to improve the aesthetic appearance.

Sterilization of the surgical site: We will clean the surgical area immediately before surgery to reduce the risk of infection.

Injection of local anesthesia: With local anesthesia, you can expect mild discomfort with the initial injection. This is experienced as a “bee sting” by most patients. If you have elected twilight anesthesia, you will not feel the injections of local anesthesia and will be given medication during the surgery to ensure absolute comfort during the operation.

Incisions: The surgeon will make incisions into the natural folds of the eyelids to minimize visible scarring. For upper eyelid surgery, the incision is typically made in the crease of the eyelid, while for lower eyelid surgery, the incision may be made just below the eyelash line or on the inside of the eyelid.

Tissue removal and repositioning: The surgeon will then remove excess skin, fat, and/or muscle tissue from the eyelids as needed. In some cases, tissue may also be repositioned to improve the overall appearance of the eyes.

Closure: The incisions will be closed with sutures, which will typically disintegrate and fall out by around one week after surgery. If some sutures remain at your post operative visits the surgeon can help remove them for you.

After surgery patients find that applying cold compresses to the area can help alleviate discomfort and reduce swelling. We recommend keeping the area cool for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off for the first two days after surgery. Typically, over the counter acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) are all that is needed for comfort beyond icing. The morning after surgery most patients do not require any medications for comfort.

The entire procedure typically takes 1-2 hours, and the patient may stay in the office or surgical center for an hour or so after surgery to ensure proper recovery from anesthesia. After the surgery the patient will need to follow post-operative care instructions carefully to minimize the risk of complications and ensure proper healing. These may include taking medications, using cold compresses to reduce swelling, and avoiding strenuous activities for a week or so after the surgery.

What is recovery like after blepharoplasty?

The recovery period after blepharoplasty surgery can vary depending on the extent of the surgery and the individual patient’s healing process. Here are some general guidelines for what to expect during recovery:

Swelling and bruising: Swelling and bruising around the eyes is common after blepharoplasty surgery and can last for several days or even weeks. Most patients experience the worst of this at around day 2 and 3 after surgery. The use of cold compresses can help to reduce swelling and bruising during the first few days after surgery.

Pain and discomfort: Pain and discomfort around the surgical area is typically mild and easily controlled with ice and Tylenol.

Stitches: We typically use dissolvable sutures, but if some remain at your one week visit we can remove them for you or allow them to dissolve on their own if you prefer that.

Avoid strenuous activities: During the first week or two after surgery, it is important to avoid strenuous activities, such as exercise or heavy lifting, to prevent complications and promote healing.

Follow-up appointments: You will typically have several follow-up appointments with your surgeon in the weeks and months after surgery to monitor your progress and ensure proper healing.

Final results: It may take several weeks or even months to see the final results of your blepharoplasty surgery, as swelling and bruising subside, and the tissues fully heal.

It is important to follow all post-operative care instructions provided by your surgeon to minimize the risk of complications and to ensure the best possible outcome from the surgery.

Can blepharoplasty be combined with other procedures?

Blepharoplasty may be combined with many other types of surgery. When we perform upper and lower eyelid blepharoplasty at the same time it is called a “quad blepharoplasty” or “four lid blepharoplasty.” We frequently perform upper and/or lower blepharoplasty with the following operations: ptosis surgery, laser resurfacing, eyelid tightening, fat grafting, fat transposition, browpexy, brow lift, mid face lift, face lift, and neck lift. We also combine surgery with Botox or fillers in appropriate patients.

What techniques will be used to perform my blepharoplasty?

Oculofacial plastic surgeons use a wide variety of techniques to achieve the best possible outcome for your eyelid surgery. Upper blepharoplasty often involves skin removal, fat sculpting, and browpexy to optimize cosmetic outcomes. Lower blepharoplasty is most often done in a transconjunctival approach to avoid a visible scar.

Transconjunctival lower blepharoplasty with fat repositioning or fat grafting may be recommended to improve your cosmetic results. Lower blepharoplasty combined with CO2 laser resurfacing is a powerful way to improve dark circles and wrinkles with long lasting results. Chemical peels such as TCA may also be utilized to brighten the skin around the eyes. Skin pinch blepharoplasty may be combined with lower blepharoplasty to remove excess skin.

Alternatively, blepharoplasty of the lower eyelids beneath the lash line may be performed if there is a significant amount of redundant skin of the lower eyelid. These procedures may also be combined with lateral canthoplasty, canthopexy, or mid face lift to tighten the eyelid and prevent lower eyelid retraction. Dr. Phelps will help you decide the best technique to achieve the eyelid rejuvenation you aim to achieve.

Can blepharoplasty be covered by insurance?

Getting upper eyelid surgery covered by insurance requires extensive documentation and a true vision impairment. Most insurance companies base their coverage of upper blepharoplasty on the guidelines from the Centers for Medicare Services which are shown below:

Significant interference with vision or superior or lateral visual field, (e.g., difficulty seeing objects approaching from the periphery); Difficulty reading due to superior visual field loss; or, Looking through the eyelashes or seeing the upper eyelid skin.

Visual fields and external ocular photos should demonstrate a significant loss of superior visual field and potential correction of the visual field by the proposed procedures. A minimum 12 degree or 30 percent loss of upper field of vision with upper lid skin and/or upper lid margin in repose and elevated (by taping of the lid) to demonstrate potential correction by the proposed procedure or procedures is required.

Lower blepharoplasty is never covered by insurance. If blepharoplasty is performed with other surgeries, the other surgeries are generally not covered. For more details, please visit the CMS website.

What is the cost of blepharoplasty?

The exact cost of blepharoplasty depends on the techniques used and the extent of correction required. At the time of the consultation appointment, Dr. Phelps will seek to understand your goals and come up with specific surgical plans that would reach your goals. Most of our rejuvenating eyelid surgeries range in cost between $4,500 to $8,000.

What is the best age to have a blepharoplasty?

The best age to have a blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) can vary depending on the individual’s specific needs and goals. In general, blepharoplasty is often performed on individuals who are over the age of 35, but there is no specific age requirement.

The ideal candidate for blepharoplasty is someone who has drooping, sagging, or puffy eyelids that make them look tired, aged, or affect their vision. It is important to note that aging affects people differently, so some individuals may develop these signs of aging earlier than others.

In some cases, blepharoplasty may be recommended for younger patients who have genetic or structural issues with their eyelids, such as a prominent or droopy eyelid that affects their vision or self-confidence.

Ultimately, the decision to have a blepharoplasty should be made after a consultation with a board-certified oculofacial plastic surgeon who can assess your individual needs, goals, and overall health to determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure. The surgeon can also provide guidance on when the surgery may be most appropriate for you.

How long does blepharoplasty last?

The results of blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) are long-lasting, but the exact duration of the results can vary depending on various factors such as the individual’s aging process, lifestyle, and overall health.

Blepharoplasty is designed to remove excess skin and fat from the eyelids, and the results of the procedure can be seen immediately. The eyelids will appear smoother, more youthful, and more alert. The results can typically last for several years, and in some cases, they may be permanent.

However, it is important to note that the aging process will continue, and the skin and muscles around the eyes will continue to lose elasticity over time. This means that eventually, the signs of aging may reappear, and additional treatments may be needed to maintain the results of the initial surgery.

To ensure long-lasting results, it is essential to follow the post-operative instructions provided by the surgeon, including proper wound care, taking prescribed medications, and avoiding activities that could cause trauma or damage to the eyes. Additionally, maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet, regular exercise, and avoiding smoking and excessive sun exposure can help preserve the results of the surgery.

Should I get a blepharoplasty?

Whether or not to have a blepharoplasty (eyelid lift) is a personal decision that should be made after careful consideration of the individual’s needs and goals, as well as their overall health and candidacy for the procedure. Blepharoplasty can be a good option for individuals who have excess skin or fat around their eyelids, which can make them look tired or aged, or affect their vision.

A good candidate for blepharoplasty should be in good general health, have realistic expectations about the results of the surgery, and have adequate skin elasticity to support the surgical changes. It is also important to choose a board-certified oculofacial plastic surgeon with extensive experience and a track record of success in performing eyelid surgery.

It is important to note that while blepharoplasty can provide significant improvement in the appearance of the eyes, it is not a cure for all eye problems or aging. Additionally, there are risks associated with any surgical procedure, including bleeding, infection, scarring, and adverse reactions to anesthesia. The individual should discuss these risks and any potential complications with their surgeon before deciding to undergo the surgery.

Ultimately, the decision to have a blepharoplasty should be made after a thorough consultation with a qualified oculofacial plastic surgeon, who can assess the individual’s needs, goals, and candidacy for the procedure, and provide guidance on the best course of action.

Where can I find more information about blepharoplasty?

Your best source of information about surgery for you specifically is a consultation with a qualified physician who performs many of these surgeries. Information found with research on the internet may not pertain to your unique condition.

The Oculofacial Society website has information approved by oculofacial plastic surgeons:

When can I wear makeup after eyelid surgery?

The timing for when you can wear makeup after eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty, will depend on the specific instructions provided by your surgeon. It is important to follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions carefully to ensure optimal healing and to avoid any complications.

Avoid wearing makeup for the first week following the surgery to allow the incisions to heal properly. The use of eye makeup, in particular, should be avoided during this period to prevent irritation or infection.

After the first week, your surgeon may allow you to gradually start wearing makeup again, but you should avoid applying it directly to the incisions or the eyelids until they are fully healed. You may be advised to wait for up to two weeks before using makeup around the eyes.

It is important to use clean brushes and applicators when applying makeup to prevent the risk of infection, and to avoid any makeup that may irritate the eyes or cause further swelling or inflammation. If you experience any discomfort, redness, or unusual symptoms after applying makeup, you should contact your surgeon immediately.

Ultimately, the timing for when you can wear makeup after eyelid surgery will depend on the specifics of your individual procedure and the recommendations of your plastic surgeon.

How should I care for my eyelids after blepharoplasty?

After blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery, it is important to follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions carefully to ensure proper healing and minimize the risk of complications. Here are some general guidelines for caring for your eyelids after blepharoplasty:

Apply cold compresses: Applying cold compresses to your eyelids can help reduce swelling and bruising in the days following surgery. Your surgeon may recommend using a cold compress for 10-20 minutes at a time, several times a day.

Take prescribed medication: Your surgeon may prescribe medication to aid in the healing process. Be sure to follow your surgeon’s instructions on how to take these medications.

Keep your head elevated: Keeping your head elevated while sleeping or resting can help reduce swelling and promote healing.

Avoid strenuous activity: For the first week or two after surgery, you should avoid strenuous activity, bending over, or lifting heavy objects to avoid putting pressure on your eyelids.

Avoid direct sunlight: Avoiding direct sunlight and wearing dark sunglasses can help protect your eyes from UV radiation and reduce sensitivity to light.

Follow a healthy diet: Eating a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables can help promote healing and reduce inflammation.
Attend follow-up appointments: Attend all scheduled follow-up appointments with your surgeon to monitor your progress and ensure proper healing.

It is important to note that every patient is different, and your surgeon may provide specific instructions tailored to your individual needs and circumstances. Be sure to follow your surgeon’s instructions carefully and contact them if you experience any unusual symptoms or have any concerns about your recovery.

How can I treat scarring after blepharoplasty?

Scarring after surgery is a common concern, and there are several ways to help treat and minimize the appearance of scars. Here are some tips on how to treat scarring after surgery:

Follow your surgeon’s post-operative instructions: Following your surgeon’s instructions for wound care and scar management is critical to preventing complications and promoting optimal healing. Be sure to keep the surgical site clean and dry and avoid picking at scabs or incisions.

Massage the scar: Massaging the scar site can help break up scar tissue and promote circulation, which can help reduce the appearance of the scar. Your surgeon may recommend a specific massage technique or a scar cream or ointment to use during massage.

Apply silicone sheets or gels: Silicone sheets or gels can help hydrate the skin and promote healing, reducing the appearance of scars. Your surgeon may recommend specific brands or products for scar management.

Use sunscreen: Sun exposure can make scars more noticeable, so it is important to apply sunscreen to the surgical site when going outside.

Consider laser treatment: Laser treatment can help reduce the appearance of scars by promoting collagen production and breaking up scar tissue. Your surgeon may recommend laser treatment as a scar management option.

It is important to note that scars can take several months to a year to fully mature, and it may take time to see significant improvement in the appearance of scars. If you have concerns about scarring after surgery, speak with your surgeon about the best options for managing and treating scars.