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Upper Eyelid Surgery Pasadena

The Eyelid Lift, or Upper Eyelid Surgery (Upper Blepharoplasty)

The eyelids and brow form a dynamic portion of the face that not only changes as we age, but is also radically different between cultures and ethnicities. Skin thickness, fat content, bone structure, the presence of a crease or fold, and age-related gravitational changes are just a few of the factors that affect the cosmetic appearance of the eyes.

The discussion below focuses on age-related changes to the eyes that can be aesthetically improved with upper eyelid surgery. Please click on the hyperlink if you are interested in double-eyelid surgery, also known as Asian blepharoplasty. This surgery is often performed on younger individuals seeking a natural, harmonious change to the appearance of their eyes.

As normal aging occurs in the face, the eyelid skin may sag, and areas of preseptal fat may begin to protrude. Complicating matters is that overall fat in and around the eye may decrease with age, creating a more hollow appearance. The eyelids may appear to droop, with skin pressing down on the eyelashes. Occasionally, some of us develop a weakness in the muscle that opens the eyelid, creating a droopy eyelid on one side due to a condition called ptosis. This is a medical condition and corrected with a separate surgery that should occur before an eyelid lift, or blepharoplasty, is performed.

In order to rejuvenate the upper eyelids, blepharoplasty involves the removal or repositioning of fat and excess skin. This alone is not always the answer to redundant skin above the eyes. Premature aging and sagging of the brow can cause a tired, angry look with frown lines and wrinkles. This is due to the pull of gravity over decades, lowering the eyebrows over the eyes. This is the reason that many women gradually pluck more and more of their eyebrows in order to maintain the “height” of the eyebrows in a more youthful and attractive place. In addition, both men and women often develop horizontal lines and wrinkles across the forehead as a result of constantly raising the eyebrows to their original (youthful) position. In order to enhance the appearance of the eyes when not only the eyelids, but also the brow, have drooped, an endoscopic brow lift can be performed together with the upper eyelid surgery.

Preparation

There are a variety of techniques for upper eyelid surgery, or upper blepharoplasty, though most of them focus on the same basic principles. The techniques described below are for rejuvenation of the upper eyelid, and do not pertain to double eyelid surgery (Asian blepharoplasty) or eyelid reconstruction.

Before Your Upper Eyelid Surgery

During your initial consultation and any subsequent visits, Dr. Chow will perform a complete history and physical examination of your face and eyes to ensure that upper eyelid surgery will be as safe and effective as possible. He will be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have while addressing your aesthetic goals.

Before having any cosmetic surgery, you should always review the medications, supplements, vitamins, and foods that you consume. Many of these can cause problems during your procedure because they thin your blood, making you more likely to have heavier bruising or complicating the procedure with excessive bleeding. Others may overly enhance or otherwise interact with the numbing anesthetic used during your upper eyelid surgery.

Dr. Jen Chow should also know your medical history, especially any eye conditions you may have. Use of eyeglasses, contacts, and eye medications should be recorded. Any history of dry eye syndrome is very important and should be thoroughly evaluated, as this may be a reason to avoid eyelid surgery. Previous surgeries, particularly previous eyelid or brow surgeries, must also be known because they may affect your outcome.

The Day of Your Surgery

Please be sure to avoid the use of any make-up the day of surgery. Just before the procedure begins, Dr. Chow will meet with you to discuss any last minute questions you may have. He will also clean the upper eyelids and mark the skin while you are sitting upright in order to obtain the best and most natural cosmetic result.

Depending on a number of factors, you may or may not choose to have anesthesia administered by a physician (an anesthesiologist) on the day of your procedure. These will have been discussed before the day of surgery so that the appropriate arrangements have been made. Should you choose twilight sedation or general anesthesia, your surgery will be performed at an accredited facility with an anesthesiologist present.

Once you are comfortable, Dr. Chow will numb the upper eyelids. Using sterile techniques, he will then remove excess skin, muscle and/or fat from the upper eyelids. He will then carefully close the incisions and place cool compresses on each eye in order to minimize discomfort after surgery.

You will have a period of recovery while being observed by a nurse or team of nurses before heading home. You should have someone to drive you home and stay with you on the first night after your upper blepharoplasty.

Before & After
Before & After

* Individual results may vary.

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View before-and-after pictures of real patients of Dr. Chow

View Before & Afters

Recovery Info

There are a variety of techniques for upper eyelid surgery, or upper blepharoplasty, though most of them focus on the same basic principles. The techniques described below are for rejuvenation of the upper eyelid, and do not pertain to double eyelid surgery (Asian blepharoplasty) or eyelid reconstruction.

Before Your Upper Eyelid Surgery

During your initial consultation and any subsequent visits, Dr. Chow will perform a complete history and physical examination of your face and eyes to ensure that upper eyelid surgery will be as safe and effective as possible. He will be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have while addressing your aesthetic goals.

Before having any cosmetic surgery, you should always review the medications, supplements, vitamins, and foods that you consume. Many of these can cause problems during your procedure because they thin your blood, making you more likely to have heavier bruising or complicating the procedure with excessive bleeding. Others may overly enhance or otherwise interact with the numbing anesthetic used during your upper eyelid surgery.

Dr. Jen Chow should also know your medical history, especially any eye conditions you may have. Use of eyeglasses, contacts, and eye medications should be recorded. Any history of dry eye syndrome is very important and should be thoroughly evaluated, as this may be a reason to avoid eyelid surgery. Previous surgeries, particularly previous eyelid or brow surgeries, must also be known because they may affect your outcome.

The Day of Your Surgery

Please be sure to avoid the use of any make-up the day of surgery. Just before the procedure begins, Dr. Chow will meet with you to discuss any last minute questions you may have. He will also clean the upper eyelids and mark the skin while you are sitting upright in order to obtain the best and most natural cosmetic result.

Depending on a number of factors, you may or may not choose to have anesthesia administered by a physician (an anesthesiologist) on the day of your procedure. These will have been discussed before the day of surgery so that the appropriate arrangements have been made. Should you choose twilight sedation or general anesthesia, your surgery will be performed at an accredited facility with an anesthesiologist present.

Once you are comfortable, Dr. Chow will numb the upper eyelids. Using sterile techniques, he will then remove excess skin, muscle and/or fat from the upper eyelids. He will then carefully close the incisions and place cool compresses on each eye in order to minimize discomfort after surgery.

You will have a period of recovery while being observed by a nurse or team of nurses before heading home. You should have someone to drive you home and stay with you on the first night after your upper blepharoplasty.

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. Jen Chow uses a variety of anesthesia techniques depending on his patients’ needs and the specific type of surgery used. In most cases, it is performed using local anesthesia and light intravenous sedation. 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. Chow 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. Chow 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. Chow 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. Chow does perform revision upper eyelid surgery. However, he 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 Chow Center 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. Chow 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.

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  • I had been to other plastic surgeons before but never got the service, low rate and amazing natural work that Dr. Chow performs. When I got my work done nobody could tell what was done but knew something looked fresh and great. Thank you so much!
  • I went in to see Dr. Chow and he was amazing throughout the entire process, from the reception, to consultation, until the end. He answered all of my questions and made me feel absolutely comfortable with his abilities.
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