If you’ve noticed your eyelids are not what they used to be making you look tired and wondered what you could do about it, Blepharoplasty or eyelid surgery might be right for you. Dr Naveen Somia, Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons Vice President, explains in more detail.
The area around the eyes is the first body part to show the signs of ageing. These changes involve the bone of the eye socket, the eyelid muscles, skin and fat. The muscle around the eyelids becomes weaker as we age and long-term sun exposure in Australia takes its toll on the skin. Collectively the impact on a person’s look is that they seem more tired, sad or even angry. With time it becomes more severe and can impact your vision.
Blepharoplasty or eyelid surgery can reverse this, restoring a fresh look to the eye area by removing the excess fat or skin around the upper or lower eyelids and tightening the loose muscle. Your Specialist Plastic Surgeon, after careful review of your case, will be the best person to advise you on the best procedure to address your concerns and help you achieve the look you desire.
Is the surgery covered by Medicare and private health funds?
Blepharoplasty or eyelid surgery may attract Medicare benefits and private health fund cover if it satisfies specific stringent criteria and is performed primarily for medical reasons, not cosmetic. If your vision is impaired due to excess skin resting on your eyelashes or a weak or droopy eyelid (Eyelid Ptosis) Medicare and private funds may cover part of the costs.
If the surgery is performed to reconstruct eyelid cancer defects, improve accidental injuries, birth deformities and eyelid malpositions such as entropion and ectropion, it is considered medical and will attract a Medicare benefit and private health cover.
After your consultation, your Specialist Plastic Surgeon will give you an indication whether you satisfy the criteria for ‘medically necessary’ Eyelid surgery and you will be given a Medicare item number.
We advise that you check with your private health fund if your plan covers you for the procedure.
Will I look different after having Blepharoplasty surgery?
This is the number one concern of patients having eyelid surgery and is understandable. The focus of a well-designed and well-executed surgery is to give you a natural look that will improve your look without altering it too much.
Will my wrinkles disappear after the surgery?
If you have a skin only blepharoplasty then it is unlikely your wrinkles will disappear. However, if you have a blepharoplasty combined with droopy eyelid (ptosis) correction, some of your forehead wrinkles will soften and may go away after the surgery. If your Plastic Surgeon is happy to resect the Corrugator muscle, you can get rid of the frown lines. Crow’s feet wrinkles can be reduced after the surgery but may not be abolished entirely.
Can I have upper and lower eyelid surgery at the same time?
Yes, they can be done at the same time. This way you have one operation, one recovery period and one anaesthetic but the procedure will take longer.
How much time off work will I need post-surgery?
As a general rule, it’s recommended that you take at least one week off work if you are having upper eyelid surgery and two weeks if you are having lower eyelid surgery. However, your Specialist Plastic Surgeon will be able to advise you if you need more time off.
Do I need to spend the night in the hospital after the surgery?
You may choose to go home the same day, provided there is a carer at home who can look after you. If not, it would be recommended that you stay overnight and leave in the morning, giving you at least 12 hours of medical care post your operation.
The trained nurses can provide focused eye care, monitor your vision, ensure that you get eye drops, eye ointment and ice packs and you remain pain-free.
What can I expect to achieve after surgery?
The surgery will rejuvenate your eyelids and give you a fresh and rested look. It reverses the ageing changes by getting rid of loose and excess eyelid skin, correcting droopy or weak upper eyelids and removing eye-bags and wrinkles around the upper and lower eyelids to get rid of the tired look.
To enhance the look around the eyelids, eyelid surgery can be combined with a brow lift, mid-face or cheek lift or fat grafting.
If I am thinking about surgery, what should I do first?
Doing your research is advisable. You can discuss the surgery with your GP, and they may be able to refer you to a Specialist Plastic Surgeon who specialises in eyelid surgery using the Find a Surgeon feature on the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons website.