Blepharoplasty is a cosmetic surgical procedure that removes fat deposits, excess tissue, or muscle from the eyelids to improve the appearance of the eyes.
The primary use of blepharoplasty is for improving the cosmetic appearance of the eyes. In some older persons, however, sagging and excess skin surrounding the eyes can be so extensive that it limits the range of vision. In those cases, blepharoplasty serves a more functional purpose.
Blepharoplasty can be performed on the upper or lower eyelid. It can involve the removal of excess skin and fat deposits and the tightening of selected muscles surrounding the eyelids. The goal is to provide a more youthful appearance and/or improve eyesight.
The surgeon will begin by deciding whether excess skin, fat deposits, or muscle looseness are at fault. While a person is sitting upright, the surgeon will mark where incisions will be made on the skin. Care will be taken to hide the incision lines in the natural skin folds above and below the eye. The surgeon will then inject a local anesthetic to numb the pain. Many surgeons also administer a sedative intravenously during the procedure.
After a small, crescent-shaped section of eyelid skin is removed, the surgeon will work to tease out small pockets of fat that have collected in the lids. If muscle looseness is also a problem, the surgeon may trim tissue or add a stitch to pull muscle tissue tighter. Then the incision is closed with stitches.
In some persons, fat deposits in the lower eyelid may be the only or primary problem. Such people may be good candidates for transconjunctival blepharoplasty. In this procedure the surgeon makes no incision on the surface of the eyelid, but instead enters from behind, through the inner surface of the lid, to tease out the fat deposits from a small incision. The advantage of this procedure is that there is no visible scar.