Eyelid Lift (Blepharoplasty)
As we age, the skin around our eyes begins to sag leading to a tired appearance. Changes include drooping of the excess skin, bulging of the fat pockets, and atrophy of the tissues around the eyes. Similarly, the eyebrows may also droop as well (see Eyebrow Lift). These changes aesthetically alter the way we look by giving us a sad, tired, and aged appearance. If the changes are severe, they can also affect one’s vision by either blocking one’s peripheral vision or by causing difficulty wearing glasses (sagging lower eyelids). Surgery to correct the sagging and fullness of upper and lower eyelids is called Blepharoplasty.
Blepharoplasty is performed as an outpatient. The procedures is done using a local anesthetic. The eyelids are tightened, excess skin is removed, and if present, excess fat may also be removed or redistributed. Typically, bruising and swelling is experienced for the first one to three weeks, although the healing time varies for each person.
The position of one’s eyelids is important for vision and for aesthetic considerations. Sometimes, however, sagging of our eyebrows and forehead from the aging process contributes significantly to eyelid droop (the brow tissues droop into the eyelids.) Patients with significant eyebrow drooping can experience loss of vision and headaches or strain from having to raise their eyebrows using the muscles of their forehead to get the best vision possible. Surgical repositioning of the eyebrows is called Brow Lift.
Brow lifting procedures can improve vision, decrease strain, and improved aesthetic appearance. There are two distinct types of brow lifts. The first, called a Direct Brow Lift, removes the heaviness and excess tissues thereby leading to a tightening through an incision directly above the eyebrow hairs. This can be very effective in treatment of eyebrow droop. The second procedure, called an Endoscopic Brow Lift, uses hidden incisions behind the hair line to raise the forehead and eyebrows. Since the incisions are above the hairline in this procedure, an additional benefit is a lifting of the entire forehead thereby leading to a dramatic reduction in forehead wrinkles. Both types of procedures are performed as outpatient surgeries using local anesthesia. As with eyelid surgery above, the healing time varies from one person to the next, but typically, one can expect one to three weeks of swelling and bruising.
As we age, wrinkles and creases form on our forehead, and around our eyes and mouth. Many years of smiling, frowning, and squinting contribute to this process and the appearance of these unwanted lines. They include glabellar folds, ‘Crow’s feet lines’, forehead lines, and ‘lipstick lines’. Botox™ treatment for wrinkles has become the most common cosmetic procedure performed in the U.S. Treatment with Botox is effective at reducing these unwanted and unsightly lines, as well as preventing new ones from forming. Dr. Kavanagh is a co-author on a textbook chapter on the cosmetic use of Botox™ in Ophthalmology and Oculoplastics which teaches other physicians how to use this treatment.