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facial rejuvenation

What to expect after eyelid surgery (video)

By September 8, 2014No Comments
Upper eyelid blepharoplasty

Upper eyelid blepharoplasty, pre-op and 6 weeks post op

The day of your eyelid surgery can be stressful, most because you don’t know exactly what to expect. Will there be pain? Will you be able to see and function. I’ll try and answer the most common “after eyelid surgery” questions here.

Will there be pain after eyelid surgery?

Most eyelid surgeries are not especially painful. On average, our patients use 1 or 2 pain pills the day of surgery and most don’t need any pain medicine after that.  There are a few who take more, but they are a small minority. Itching is the main complaint, which is caused by both the healing process and the stitches.  Cold packs can help with both itching and any mild pain.

Will I be able to see after eyelid surgery?

We don’t patch your eyes after eyelid surgery, so yes, you’ll be able to see. The ointment we use after surgery can causing some blurring of the vision. Using too much ointment will make seeing more difficult. Rarely, swelling can be so intense that the eyes don’t open well for a day of two, but nearly every patient can still see well enough to get around.

Will I get black eyes after eyelid surgery?

Everyone gets bruising and welling to some degree after eyelid surgery.  Typically, the younger you are, or better you’ve taken care of your skin, the less bruising you’ll have.  Older patients tend to have more fragile skin, which bruises easily.  Overweight patients tend to have more ruddy skin, which holds on to swelling longer.  Patient who smoke also tend to have more swelling and slower healing times.

How long until my stitches fall out after eyelid surgery?

We most commonly use absorbable stitches, which dissolve by 1-2 weeks.  However, part of the suture that is under the skin can linger for 6-8 weeks in some patients, creating small bumps along the incision lines, which eventually fade away.  Using the ointment we prescribe 3-4 times daily the first week and at least night thereafter will ensure the stitches stay soft and dissolve.

How long until I’m back to normal after eyelid surgery?

This varies greatly depending on your age, health status, and what you consider normal.  Most patients have little to no bruising left by 2 weeks. Swelling can take 2-6 weeks to fully resolve, but longer in a few patients.  Getting back to normal activities happens within a few days. You should avoid strenuous activity, bending over and heavy lifting for at least a week.  Full healing takes 6-12 months. Your incisions will start out red and slowly fade back to your normal skin color.

What else should I know about recovering after eyelid surgery?

First, be patient. Many people get excited, frustrated, nervous, depressed or even angry when they don’t look normal just a few days after surgery. Healing is a long process, which you must be willing to endure if you go ahead with eyelid surgery.  It is common to get some depression in the first few weeks, but this subsides as you heal and your appearance improves. Several patients have documented their experiences on Youtube. The video below, from user R Beard is similar to what our patients experience (except we don’t remove your stitches and we don’t put any bandages or packing on your eyelids, as you’ll see in this video).