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As a patient’s skin ages, they may begin to notice excess skin or wrinkles around their eyes. Often, men and women see their first evidence of aging in their eyes. Factors like aging and genetics can both contribute to drooping lids, wrinkles, or eyelid bags which contribute to a tired or angry appearance. Allergies, long work hours, previous sun exposure, and animated facial expressions can all accelerate the appearance of age around the eyes. Blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery, is a procedure to improve the appearance of the upper and lower eyelids. Eyelid surgery can remove excess wrinkles and treat puffiness, returning energy and vitality to a patient’s face.
A good candidate for eyelid surgery may have problems with the upper eyelids, lower eyelids, or both. Upper eyelids are usually heavy with drooping skin and fatty bags which create puffiness or bulging. Lower eyelids may have fatty bags, skin excess, drooping, or creases between the lower eyelid bags and the cheek (tear trough deformity). Patients seeking eyelid surgery should be sure they do not have any other serious eye conditions.
Eyelid lifts are performed under local anesthesia or IV sedation. Upper eyelid skin and fatty tissue are removed through an incision in the naturally-occurring crease of the upper eyelid, in order to conceal any scarring. For lower eyelid surgery, Dr. Kim prefers to remove fatty tissue through a transconjunctival incision. This incision is made along the inside of the eyelid and is not visible after surgery. If skin needs to be removed from the lower eyelid, an incision can be made along the eyelid, just below the eyelashes. The tear trough is corrected by a small series of fat injections into the depression below the eyelid, to restore volume to the lower lid. Then any incisions made on the skin surface are closed with sutures, which will be removed one week after surgery.
Patients recovering from eyelid surgery do not have significant pain. Immediately after surgery, patients should keep their head elevated and use cold compresses to help minimize swelling. Any bruising and swelling should improve over time, and can be covered with makeup after one week. Surgical sutures are removed one week after surgery. Patients are back to work and driving after one week. They can resume full physical activity after two to four weeks.
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