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Spa Services Procedures and Treatments » Eyelid Surgery (blepharoplasty)

Eyelid Surgery (blepharoplasty)

eyelid surgery

As the skin matures, its gradual loss of elasticity combines with gravity’s constant pull to cause excess skin to collect in the upper and lower eyelids. Too much skin on the upper eyelids causes an extra fold that can hang over the eyelashes and obstruct vision.  On the lower lids, excess skin causes wrinkles and bulges. Blepharoplasty is a procedure that removes unnecessary skin and fat from upper eyelids and reduces lower-lid bagginess. 

To a large extent, aging around the eyes is determined by heredity. If droopy, baggy eyelids run in your family, you may decide to have eyelid surgery at a younger age.  Since eyelids tend to age 10 years earlier than the forehead and neck, eyelid rejuvenation is one of the earliest procedures performed.  Eyelid surgery, more modest than most in scope, risk, cost, and recovery time, can go a long way toward rejuvenating the face. 

Dr. Sykes performs more than 150 blepharoplasty surgeries a year, with the goal of creating a natural look with a proportional balance of features.  His experience has resulted in consistent success in providing a refreshed appearance with a younger, firmer eye area without the “surprised look” seen in poorly performed surgeries.  The procedure is often combined with a forehead lift, or forehead and midface lift, with Botox® used for crow’s feet.

In your case
In an individual consultation, Dr. Sykes will talk to you about your concerns, and look for indications that this surgery may be right for you.  These signs could include appearing tired even though you aren’t, feeling heaviness in the upper lid, or the feeling of skin sitting on your lashes.  Your eyes may appear smaller than they did in years past, or there may be bulges and bags now where they shouldn’t be.  There may be a functional component too, where you find yourself needing to tilt your head or lift up your forehead to increase your peripheral vision, which may indicate a need for a forehead lift to provide complete correction.

What to Expect
The surgery usually takes from one to three hours, and is performed under local anesthesia.  The doctor will make an incision following the natural line of your eyelid in the creases of your upper lids so they can remove the excess tissue causing the heaviness.  Placement of the incision on the lower lids will depend on whether you need skin and fat removed, or fat only.  The incisions are closed with a combination of dissolvable and removable fine sutures that will come out within a few days.

The eyelid skin is thin, so it doesn’t take long for it to heal and incision lines to fade.  You can expect swelling and bruising after the surgery.  The swelling will usually peak on the day after the surgery, while the bruising may continue for a few days.  There is minimal discomfort during this recuperation phase and most patients manage with only light pain medication or none at all.  Applying cold compresses and keeping your head elevated when lying down enhances healing and helps relieve any discomfort.  You may experience sensitivity to light, blurred vision, or tearing the first few days, but will be able to read or watch TV in two or three days, and wear contact lenses again within a week.  Within a few days, you should be able to work from home and can expect to return to work and social activities in about a week, with your eyelids looking normal in about two weeks.

Eyelid Rejuvenation Fast Facts
The following are general guidelines only.  Variations are common.

Surgery length:

1 to 3 hours


Office or hospital outpatient surgery suite


Local anesthesia, along with oral or intravenous sedation


Lubrication of eyes with ointment, eyelids may be covered with moist gauze

Pain & discomfort:

Eyelids may feel tight and sore as anesthesia wears off, and may not fully close during the first week 

Swelling & bruising:

Swelling typically reaches its maximum on the morning following the surgery and should be gone within 2 weeks.   Bruising may increase for several days, but typically fades in 10 to 14 days. 

Suture removal:

Typically in 3 to 6 days

Return to work:

One week

Resume exercise:

Moderate exercise may be resumed in about five days.  Avoid vigorous exercise for at least 10 days, and swimming for 3 weeks.

Initial results:

One week following surgery 

Final results:  

6 to 9 months


Permanent, affected by ongoing aging and post-surgery injuries



Jonathan M. Sykes, MD
Professor/Director of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
UCDavis Medical Group
2521 Stockton Blvd., Suite 6206
Sacramento, CA 95817
(916) 734-2347
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