It’s all about your eyes. At Carolina Facial Plastics in Charlotte, North Carolina we believe that the eyes play a crucial role in communication and the expression of emotions. The eyes are the focal point of the face as they express over 70% of our non-verbal facial expressions. As the eyes age, their appearance may change from bright and open to heavy and tired. If the eyes appear different than how we feel, this is typically the time patients will seek options to improve the appearance of the eyes. Some patients may experience drooping and sagging in their eyes as early as their late twenties and other patients might be born with heavier shaped eyes.
At Carolina Facial Plastics we perform two different blepharoplasty procedures, upper and lower. In this blog, we will focus and discuss all aspects of an upper blepharoplasty or upper eyelid lift. We will review:
- Definition of an upper blepharoplasty
- Conditions upper blepharoplasty can alleviate
- Goals of an upper blepharoplasty
- Good candidates
- Details of the surgery
What is an Upper Blepharoplasty?
Upper blepharoplasty or upper eyelid lift is a surgical procedure used to correct drooping upper eyelids or enhance heavy upper eyelids. Making incisions on the upper eyelids, removing skin, and modifying the fat of the upper eyelid perform an upper blepharoplasty.
What Conditions Can an Upper Eye Lift Treat?
Upper blepharoplasty can remedy a variety of different eyelid and eye related issues or concerns that range from cosmetic to medically necessary. Upper blepharoplasty can treat:
- Drooping upper eyelids
- Obstructed vision due to eyelid shape
- Excess fatty deposits that appear as puffiness in the eyelids
What is the Ultimate Goal of an Upper Blepharoplasty?
The key feature of the upper eyelid is the shape and curve of the upper eyelid crease. Heavy upper eyelids will shrink or obliterate the upper eyelid crease. When that crease disappears, the eye will appear sad or tired. During an upper blepharoplasty, the most important feature is the creation of a gentle curving and defined upper eyelid crease. This will create space between the eyelashes and the upper eyelid skin. The height of the crease can be made high or low depending on the wishes of the patient. Many times, I will look at old pictures of the patient to help guide the future placement of the upper eyelid crease.
How is an Upper Eye Lift Performed?
Upper blepharoplasty is an outpatient procedure that can be performed using local anesthesia (awake) or patients can choose to go to sleep. An upper blepharoplasty is well tolerated in all patients both while awake or under anesthesia.
For patients that choose to have the procedure while awake, they will take medications an hour or two before the surgery that will relax them and take off the edge. In the office, I will draw on the eyelid the amount of excess skin to remove and then I will inject the upper eyelids with numbing medication. This will take only a few minutes. After this point, patients will not feel any pain.
The incisions of an upper blepharoplasty are made in the natural eyelid crease. This method is chosen so the incision will be hidden in the crease after healing. During surgery, a variable of skin and/or fat is removed. The upper blepharoplasty is customized for each patient. The following are the different approaches I take to perform an upper blepharoplasty:
- Remove only excess skin
- Remove excess skin and fat
- Remove excess skin and move excess fat into areas of the eye that are hollow
As we age, we lose volume and fat around the eye. In the “old days” surgeons were very aggressive at removing fat in the upper eyelids during a blepharoplasty. This approach created a hollow and gaunt appearance to the eyes. In my practice, I prefer to maintain as much fat and volume around the eye as possible. If there are areas that have too much fat and other areas that are hollow, I will move the excess fat into in the hollow area. This will create a youthful and natural result. This is referred to as a fat repositioning upper blepharoplasty.
Are There Benefits of Doing the Upper Eye Lift While Awake?
An upper blepharoplasty can be done asleep or awake. Both methods can create equally great results. There are some advantages to doing the procedure while awake. Yhey are:
- No need for general anesthesia – Most patients tolerate general anesthesia very well but a small subset will get sick after anesthesia
- Cost – It is less expensive to have a blepharoplasty while awake
- Time – The overall time of the procedure is faster if done in the awake setting
What is Recovery from Upper Blepharoplasty?
Recovering from upper blepharoplasty is a relatively easy experience and at Carolina Facial Plastics, we strive to make it as comfortable as possible. Immediately after the surgery, patients have small stitches in the upper eyelids and some swelling. For the first 24 hours after surgery the patient should only engage in minimal activity, rest, and keep the head elevated. During the first 48 hours after surgery, a bag of frozen peas should be held on the eyes for ten minutes during every hour that you are awake. At this time, patient have get the eyes wet in the shower.
For the first week, it is important for patients to keep the eyes moist with artificial tears and eye ointment. I will have them periodically place drops in the eyes during the day and ointment in the eyes before bed. This can make the eyes briefly blurry. Typically Tylenol will be enough to control any pain post surgery, but Dr. Kulbersh may provide additional medication if it is necessary.
After 5 to 7 days, the stitches are removed. At this time, patients are presentable to resume their normal life. There are a small subset of patients that may have some light-bruising present at this time. Two weeks after surgery, patients can resume full physical activity, wear make-up on the upper eyelids, and resume wearing contact lenses. Makeup elsewhere can be worn immediately after surgery.
The incisions on the upper eyelids will continue to heal for up to one year after surgery. After complete healing of the incisions, it is difficult to see the incision.
When Can Patients Go Back to Work After an Upper Blepharoplasty?
If patients work from home, they can resume work the next day after surgery. I recommend most patients should take 2 days off from all work to be on the safe side. During the recovery, patients will have drops to place in the eyes to keep them moist during the day. This can make the vision slightly blurry at times. If patients work at an office, they can return to the office 2 days after surgery if they don’t mind if the co-workers can see their stitches, and swelling. If they want to wait until they look presentable, I suggest that they take 1 week off from work.
What is the Cost of an Upper Blepharoplasty in Charlotte?
An upper blepharoplasty at Carolina Facial Plastics in Charlotte cost approximately $2900 if completed in the office while the patient is awake. It will be slightly more if patient chooses to have the procedure completed while asleep in the outpatient surgery center.
Can Upper Blepharoplasty be Combined with Other Procedures?
Blepharoplasty can be done alone or in conjunction with other facial surgery procedures. Common procedures that are combined with an upper blepharoplasty are:
- Lower Blepharoplasty
- Face or Neck Lift
- Facial Fat Grafting
- Brow or Forehead Lift
How Long will the Results of an Upper Blepharoplasty Last?
An upper blepharoplasty will last forever. The face and eyes will continue to change during the aging process, but the eyes will always look better than if a patient never had surgery. On the conservative side, I believe an upper blepharoplasty will last 10 years, but I have seen them last over 20 years.
Who are Good Candidates for Upper Blepharoplasty?
Anyone who is in good health and has a positive outlook and expectations in regards to surgery is a good candidate for an upper blepharoplasty in Charlotte. Patients that may not be a good candidate are ones who have the following conditions:
- Symptoms or history of dry eye syndrome
- Previous eyelid surgery
- Other ocular conditions
How Do I Schedule a Consultation with Dr. Kulbersh to See if an Upper Blepharoplasty is a Good Option?
Dr. Kulbersh is a double board certified facial plastic surgeon in the Southpark area of Charlotte, North Carolina. If you would like to have a consultation with him please call (704) 842-3644 or fill out the online contact form on this website. Patients should plan on spending 1 hour in the office for the consultation, and he will create a customize blepharoplasty plan.
Next, read about Eye Lift Surgery.