Eyes allow us to experience our world visually, to communicate emotions with others, and to make social connections. The eyes help us to read, write, drive a car, eat lunch, and countless other activities throughout the day. When the eyes are blocked, puffy and tired, or weighted down, countless problems can result. Unfortunately for many men and women, aging can take away our eyes in a way that most haven’t considered; not by impaired eyesight, but instead with the sagging skin above the eyes. Learn more about how the eyes can be affected by signs of aging and what blepharoplasty surgery can do to help.
How Is Blepharoplasty Performed?
Blepharoplasty or eyelid surgery is a popular anti-aging facial surgery. It is often performed to reverse the effects of sagging, drooping skin and lax muscles in the upper and lower lids. Sometimes, fine lines and wrinkles form in the lower eyelid, creating the “bags” beneath the eyes. Puffiness and swelling can also result, thanks to fat cells that have pooled in this area, along with excess skin. Eyelid surgery can be performed to reverse these effects for both cosmetic and medical reasons, depending on the patient’s needs.
Most blepharoplasty surgeries are performed as in-office procedures with local anesthesia and sedation as needed. The surgery lasts about 45 minutes to an hour, although it can sometimes take longer to excise larger amounts of excess fat and skin in order to achieve the desired results. Typically, your facial plastic surgeon will place your incisions within the natural folds of the eyelids to prevent visible scarring after surgery. With the incisions in place, fat deposits can be redistributed or removed as needed. Often, the muscles and tissues will be tightened. Excess skin will be removed before the surgeon uses very fine sutures to close the incisions and complete the procedure.
What Are the Cosmetic Benefits of Blepharoplasty?
There are many cosmetic reasons that might bring a prospective patient in for a blepharoplasty consultation. This surgery can provide many aesthetic benefits, including:
- Relieving puffy eyes can give patients a refreshed, more youthful look.
- Aging eyes can look tired or sad; blepharoplasty will alleviate this effect by rejuvenating the eyes. Patients will be able to convey their true emotions again.
- The removal of excess skin leaves the eyelids smooth enough to apply eye makeup without struggling with creases and folds.
What Are the Medical Benefits of Blepharoplasty?
For most patients, eyelid surgery is an elective procedure without any medical implications. There are those few cases, however, when blepharoplasty is much more necessary for a patient’s health and well-being. One condition that can occur is blepharoptosis, which happens when the eyelid hangs below the normal position and obstructs the patient’s field of vision. The delicate skin of the eyelid is easily susceptible to the force of gravity, combined with the natural breakdown of elastin that causes sagging. Skin that hangs over the eyelashes and blocks vision is extremely dangerous. Without full vision, these patients find it hard to do many basic daily tasks. Driving can be especially difficult and dangerous, as drivers with blepharoptosis can risk their own lives as well as those of other drivers and even pedestrians.
Blepharoptosis is managed with a blepharoplasty operation, where the excess skin is trimmed away to restore the full field of vision. The muscles can also be tightened to avoid a recurrence of his condition. Given the extreme need these patients have for an eyelid surgery, many insurance companies will offer coverage for treatment. Discuss your options with your general practitioner, your insurance agent, and your facial plastic surgeon to create the best surgical plan to solve your problem.
Another emerging medical need for blepharoplasty is chronic migraine headaches. Patients who suffer from these headaches experience blinding pain across the forehead and temples, sensitivity to light and sound, nausea and vomiting, and other unpleasant symptoms. Chronic migraine sufferers can experience these headaches at any time and can often determine triggers that will spark an episode. They can occur in clusters, strike at random, or stretch out for days at a time. While there is no known cause or cure for migraines, new information has emerged linking blepharoplasty to relief from these debilitating headaches.
While the connection is not yet clear, early research has shown that migraine headaches can be eliminated in as many as 51% of blepharoplasty patients. Furthermore, the same recent study shows that roughly 90% of remaining patients experienced significant improvements to their migraines following this surgery. Performing blepharoplasty on migraine patients seems to release some of the tension buildup around the forehead and eyes, which can constrict nerves in the area and trigger a migraine attack. If you suffer from migraine headaches, not enough is yet known to prescribe blepharoplasty as a cure, but having the surgery performed for cosmetic reasons could lead you to the same result. Discuss this potential, unconventional approach to migraine relief with any specialists you see for your migraines as well as a facial plastic surgeon. Perhaps one day, when more is known, this procedure will become a part of any migraine treatment plan.
Where Can I Book a Blepharoplasty Consultation?
Whether you’re hoping to reap cosmetic or medical benefits of blepharoplasty, you’ll need to start your surgical planning with a consultation. Let Dr. Sheldon S. Kabaker to guide you through the transplant process. As an Aesthetic Facial Plastic Surgeon and Hair Transplant Specialist, he also offers nonsurgical skincare treatments at his practice. He received his medical degree from the University of Illinois, College of Medicine in 1964, before serving in the U.S. Army Medical Corps and seeing active duty in Vietnam. Dr. Kabaker has studied and taught facial plastic surgery internationally in countries including France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Israel, Mexico, Argentina, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Today, he continues to educate himself while delivering superior results to his patients. To book a consultation with Dr. Kabaker, contact his office located at 3324 Webster Street in Oakland, California by calling (415) 379-9015.