Eyelid Surgery

eyelid surgery patient

If you have issues with sagging or droopy eyelids that make your eyes look tired or puffy you may wonder if there’s anything you can do. For many, getting enough rest and even using various eye creams doesn’t help the appearance of the excess skin or bags under your eyes. At New Image Plastic Surgery in Virginia, our board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Roberta Gartside offers eyelid surgery, called blepharoplasty, to address issues of eyelid laxity to help rejuvenate the appearance of your eyes.

This cosmetic procedure can give your eyes a more youthful appearance while also helping to enhance your peripheral vision. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeon (ASPS), over 211,000 eyelid surgeries were performed in 2019.

The best way to determine if blepharoplasty is the right procedure to achieve your aesthetic goals is to speak with Dr. Roberta Gartside in person. To schedule a comprehensive consultation, please fill out the form at the bottom of this page or give us a call at 703-742-8004 today. We have two convenient offices in Reston and McLean, Virginia to serve those who live in the Virginia and Washington D.C. areas.

What is Blepharoplasty?

Blepharoplasty is a cosmetic surgery that removes the excess skin and fat on the upper and lower eyelids. When you age, the structures around your eyes weaken. When this happens fat may begin to bulge below your eyes creating bags under your eyes and hanging skin appearing on the upper eyelids.

Not only can this condition cause your eyes to appear aged, but it can also cause vision problems as well.

Blepharoplasty can help improve vision and the appearance of eyes for those affected by:

  • Sagging or drooping upper eyelids
  • Excess skin on upper eyelids
  • Excess skin on lower eyelids
  • Bags or puffy skin below the eyes
  • Wrinkling below and around the eyes

It’s important to note that blepharoplasty is not a cure for crow’s feet, frown lines, or drooping eyebrows. These kinds of conditions require a different cosmetic approach, which Dr. Gartside will discuss with you at the time of your consultation. In some cases, Dr. Gartside may recommend a brow lift or a facelift or fillers or neurotoxins (ie, Botox) in conjunction with blepharoplasty for enhanced results.

Who are Candidates for Eyelid Surgery?

You might be wondering how to qualify for eyelid surgery. Well, as with any plastic surgery procedure, there are certain qualifications to be a good candidate to have a safe and effective procedure. Blepharoplasty does not require a significant recovery period, but some physical limitations and special considerations will be necessary to avoid complications. Dr. Gartside will discuss this with you in greater detail during your initial eyelid lift consultation.

Ideal candidates for blepharoplasty include those who:

  • Are in generally good physical and mental health
  • Are free of serious eye conditions
  • Don’t smoke
  • Have wrinkles or excess skin around your eyelids
  • Loose skin around the eye which cause difficulty seeing
  • Wish to be free of droopy, baggy eyelids from either or both eyelids
  • Are prepared for a facial plastic surgery procedure

It’s important to be open about your medical history, any allergies, or pre-existing conditions you may have. This allows Dr. Gartside to determine if this procedure is safe for you and to help her prepare for your surgery so that you can experience the best results.

How Should I Prepare for a Blepharoplasty Procedure?

If it’s determined that you’re a candidate for blepharoplasty and you want to get a head start on preparing for your procedure, your best bet is to listen to the doctor. Dr. Gartside will have many instructions about what you can and can’t do, eat, and drink in the weeks leading up to your surgery.

All of these instructions are given to help ensure the safety and efficacy of your procedure, recovery and results.To help prepare for your blepharoplasty recovery period, there are also a few things you can do to make your return home more comfortable. These include:

  • Purchasing cold compresses and eye drops
  • Planning how you’re going to get your post-surgery medication
  • Having some entertainment ready that doesn’t require the use of your eyes
  • Finding someone to drive you home after the surgery
  • Finding someone to help take care of you after the surgery

What Are the Potential Risks of Eyelid Surgery?

All surgeries have some risk, and blepharoplasty is no exception. While Dr. Gartside and her professional staff will do everything they can to reduce those risks down to zero, there’s always some chance that blepharoplasty complications from the surgery will occur.

Eyelid surgery has a small risk of:

  • Infection
  • Temporary bruising and swelling
  • Trouble closing eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Dry eyes
  • Double vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty producing tears
  • Scarring

Minor eye problems after surgery are temporary and to be expected. But if you begin experiencing alarming symptoms soon after your procedure, you should get in touch with Dr. Gartside’s office as soon as possible.

What Should I Expect During a Blepharoplasty?

The blepharoplasty procedure is completed in about two hours if Dr. Gartside operates on both of your eyes. An anesthetist will administer either intravenous or general anesthesia to keep you comfortable during the surgery. Dr. Gartside will then make incisions along the natural contours of your eyelids to separate the underlying fat and muscle from the skin itself.

There are options when it comes to the types of incisions you can have. In the upper eyelid, the incision is always made in the natural fold above the eyes to help minimize scars’ appearance. If you are having the lower portion of your eyelids addressed as well, then you can opt for a standard incision just below the eyelid or a transconjunctival incision that is made inside of the bottom eyelid.

While the transconjunctival option does a better job at hiding the scarring, it does not provide the same level of access to underlying tissues, so it may or may not be an appropriate technique for your condition.

Once the incision has been made, excess skin and fat are removed to eliminate that puffy or sagging appearance and the skin will be gently pulled taut. Finally, Dr. Gartside will suture the incisions, and you’ll be moved to our recovery area. If appropriate, certain individuals may only require local anesthesia.

What to Expect After Eyelid Surgery

Once your surgery has been completed, it is likely that some combination of ointments, cold compresses and gauze will be applied to help mitigate the after effects of the procedure. In some cases, patients feel minor twinges of pain and discomfort during this initial recovery period. Every patient will experience some degree of swelling as well. Since blepharoplasty is major surgery, we require that you have a friend or family member available to drive you home to help you set up for recovery.

When you leave the facility, you will be given a set of postoperative instructions to follow in the days, weeks and months following your procedure. It is vital that you follow these instructions to avoid harming your recovery or results. You may be given over-the-counter or prescription medications, depending on your pain levels. 

By the two-week mark, most patients can be out in public with minimal bruising or swelling, but it will take a couple of months before your recovery is complete and the final results are apparent. You should avoid any strenuous activities until you are cleared by your medical professional.

Can I Combine My Blepharoplasty with Other Procedures?

Blepharoplasty does a great job at reducing signs of aging around the eye area, but odds are if you have developed signs of aging in those areas, you likely have some other problematic areas as well. Luckily, eyelid surgery can be combined with many different combinations — in fact, we generally recommend it whenever possible for a few different reasons.

The first is that you save both time and money when you combine procedures. When you go in for surgery, a lot of the cost comes from anesthesia and facility fees, which will need to be repaid every time you go in for surgery. While you will have to also pay the surgeon fees that you would accrue anyway, you can save a lot on only having to pay for the visitation costs once. 

You also save yourself months of potential recovery time if you get multiple surgeries done at once. It can take a few months to recover from many cosmetic surgeries fully, and there are many weeks that you will need to take off from work and other responsibilities in order to get the rest you need. Instead of doing the same process twice, you can combine procedures and only request personal time once. 

Lastly, the practice of cosmetic surgery is all about creating a natural harmony and balance throughout the face. This is why we will always suggest adding procedures that we believe will create a better overall appearance. If you are suffering from severe skin sagging in the entire facial area but only address the eyes, then it is likely that your eyes will seem disharmonious with the rest of your features. 

But by having multiple procedures performed at once, a larger area of concern can be addressed and a more substantial improvement can be achieved. Having these additional procedures is always your decision, so there is no pressure to automatically sign up for any suggestions. 

The list of procedures that can be combined with blepharoplasty is substantial, but here are a few of the most commonly performed tandem operations:

But combination procedures don’t always need to be surgical. In fact, there is a host of different nonsurgical or minimally invasive procedures that can work alongside your eyelid lift to create a more youthful appearance. In fact, they can sometimes prove so effective that they are referred as a nonsurgical blepharoplasty. Here are some of the most popular:

Let your physician know if you are interested in combining procedures as early on in the process as possible. It will help them to develop an appropriate treatment plan that is most likely to provide you with results you are happy with.

How Much Does Blepharoplasty Cost?

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost of an eyelid surgery was $3,282 in 2019. While this is a reasonable ballpark estimate, you will be given a more accurate quote during your initial consultation, after which your physician will begin to factor in your unique conditions and requests. 

It might seem like a good idea to shop around for the cheapest cost, but the blepharoplasty price is directly tied to the experience, training and expertise of the person performing your procedure. Since the face is such an important part of your appearance, many people find themselves moving from cheaper alternatives to the more “expensive” surgeons anyway to correct problems from the initial procedure with revision surgery. 

This means they ultimately wind up nearly doubling the cost of their procedure. It is crucial to prioritize finding a surgeon who will give you the appearance you are searching for, not necessarily the best price you can find. 

Contact Our Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Today

Dr. Roberta Gartside is a board-certified plastic surgeon with over two decades of experience. A past Vice President for Membership and Communications for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Dr. Gartside’s dedication to the art and science of aesthetic surgery is seen in every procedure she performs.

When you come to our office for your initial consultation, Dr. Gartside will take time to understand your concerns and honestly answer any questions about blepharoplasty you may have. Working with you individually, Dr. Gartside will customize your treatment options to help you reach all of your cosmetic goals.

Dr. Gartside serves D.C. and Virginia from our offices in Reston and McLean. If you would like to learn more about eyelid surgery, please contact New Image Plastic Surgery online or call 703-742-8004 today.