Upper Bleph: FAQ

What is upper blepharoplasty?

Also known as upper eyelid surgery, blepharoplasty is an operative procedure that rejuvenates the eyes. It is achieved through removal of excess skin, muscle, and/or fat from the upper eyelids. This procedure may also enhance vision in those who have excess skin of the upper eyelids sagging down to partially obstruct their peripheral vision.

How is the procedure performed?

Please see the description of upper eyelid surgery.

Will insurance pay for upper blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery)?

If excess skin is obstructing your vision, your upper blepharoplasty may be deemed a medical problem covered by your insurance. You should check with your insurance company to determine what coverage it provides for you.

What type of anesthesia do I need for upper blepharoplasty?

Dr. Retief uses a variety of anesthesia techniques depending on her patients’ needs and the specific type of surgery used. In most cases, it is performed using local anesthesia. It is most commonly performed in an outpatient setting (you will go home after the procedure). Occasionally, when combined with other procedures, such as endoscopic brow lifts and facelifts, a different level of anesthesia may be used.

How long does the surgery take?

In general, Dr. Retief performs most upper eyelid surgeries in less than an hour. The actual time may vary depending on your specific eyelid anatomy, cosmetic concerns, and the type of anesthesia used. Dr. Retief will never rush through your surgery and stresses safety and excellent results.

Will I have bruising after upper blepharoplasty?

There will be some bruising in most cases. This can last several weeks. Most patients are presentable and return to work within one to two weeks.

When are the stitches removed?

Most stitches are removed 3-4 days after surgery.

Are there scars after upper blepharoplasty?

After any surgery involving an incision, there will be a scar. However, the scars are generally very difficult to see and appear invisible to the casual observer once they have fully healed. This is because the incision lines are placed in the normal creases (folds) of the upper eyelids.

Will my eyes change shape after upper blepharoplasty?

The most common change is that the eye appears more open, youthful, and less tired after upper eyelid surgery.

Will an upper blepharoplasty help the appearance of my drooping eyebrows?

No, upper eyelid surgery does not improve drooping eyebrows. In order to return your eyebrows to their original, more youthful position, a brow lift is generally recommended.

How old do I have to be to have an upper blepharoplasty?

There is no set age when upper eyelid surgery can be performed. Most patients do not seek consultations for this procedure until after age 35. That said, those who have excess skin and fat in their upper eyelids may choose to have surgery earlier, and those desiring double eyelids (Asian eyelid surgery) are frequently younger, from ages 18-35.

What are the risks of upper blepharoplasty?

Before surgery, you will have an in depth discussion with Dr. Retief about the risks and benefits of the procedure. You will also receive an information packet that includes many of the major risks of this surgery. Fortunately, most eyelid surgery complications are infrequent and minor when performed by a competent facial plastic surgeon. All patients should expect some bruising and swelling after surgery, as well as possible blurry vision from the use of eye ointments immediately after surgery. More serious complications, including, but not limited to, chronic dry eye, inability to close the eyelid, bleeding, infection, heavy scarring, and permanent vision changes are also possible, but thankfully much less common.

I have already had an upper blepharoplasty and desire revision surgery. Is this possible?

Dr. Retief does perform revision upper eyelid surgery. However, she does not recommend any revision procedures before a year has passed since the prior surgery. The best way to determine if revision surgery is right for you is to schedule an appointment at the Retief Center for Facial Plastic Surgery for a detailed consultation in a friendly environment.

How much time do I need to take off work?

While recovery time varies with each individual, Dr. Retief generally recommends at least 1 week of recovery. There may still be minor bruising and swelling after this time, though this can usually be disguised with make-up.

When can I exercise after surgery?

You should avoid any significant strain or exercise in the first week after surgery in order to reduce swelling and promote healing. During the second week after surgery, you can begin light exercise, again avoid heavy lifting or sustained, strenuous aerobic exercise. After three weeks, you should be able to engage in your usual activities without restriction in most cases.

What other procedures can be combined with upper blepharoplasty?

A number of other aesthetic procedures are often combined with upper eyelid surgery. These include lower blepharoplasty, brow lift, facelift, necklift, midface lift, neck liposuction, and skin resurfacing.

BrianUpper Bleph: FAQ