Eyelid Surgery and Brow Lift
Eyelid surgery and brow lift surgery can enhance your appearance and your self-confidence by eliminating the drooping and sagging in the upper and lower eyelid and brow areas that can create a tired or angry look. These procedures are available at our practice, Minneapolis Plastic Surgery, LTD., serving Minneapolis / St. Paul, Minnesota and beyond. Using lower lid blepharoplasty (lower eyelid surgery), loose, wrinkled, or sagging skin and protruding fat pads under the eyes can be corrected.
Loose skin and hooding of the upper eyelid areas may be correctable via upper eyelid blepharoplasty alone, or may require brow lift. If the brows are at or below the upper orbital rim (the bony edge of the skull), what appears to be upper eyelid skin excess may actually be brow ptosis (droop) causing this appearance, or a combination of true upper eyelid skin excess and brow ptosis. Performing upper lid blepharoplasty in this situation may sculpt or refine the upper eyelid areas, but will pull the brow even lower, making a angry, tired, pensive, or brooding appearance even worse.
Our Minneapolis / St. Paul-area patients may also benefit from a brow lift (or forehead lift), which can raise the brows to their proper position just above the bony rim (for women) or just at the bony rim (in men), giving a more awake or refreshed look. Frown muscles can also be surgically reduced at the time of brow lift, minimizing the vertical “worry lines” between the brows. Any remaining true upper eyelid skin excess and protruding fat pads can be addressed via upper lid blepharoplasty, at the time of brow lift surgery, or separately. All three procedures are commonly performed together where necessary, and can be combined with face lift or other surgery if desired.
As people age, upper and lower eyelid skin stretches and muscles weaken, allowing normal fat around the eyes to protrude, causing "bags" and loose folds of excess skin and wrinkles to appear. Lid position can also change. The forehead and brow tissues can also loosen and sag, causing the brows to droop below the orbital rim, contributing to true upper eyelid skin excess, and giving a hooded, tired, angry, or “drawn” appearance. During your consultation, one of the plastic surgeons at Minneapolis Plastic Surgery, LTD. can assess which areas require surgery. The best candidates for blepharoplasty and/or brow lift are men and women who are physically healthy, psychologically stable, and realistic in their expectations. Generally patients for this procedure are 35 years or older. However, sagging eyelids or prominent fat pads can be a genetic trait in some families, making eyelid surgery beneficial at a younger age.
Eyelid surgery is performed under general anesthesia, local anesthesia plus sedation, or local anesthesia. During your consultation, you can discuss these options with your plastic surgeon. Blepharoplasty surgery takes one or two hours, depending on whether two or all four eyelids are to be treated. If brow lift is necessary, this requires an hour or slightly more depending on hairline and incision placement choices.
With lower lid blepharoplasty, the lid skin and muscle are tightened and the fat pads trimmed or repositioned. The incisions made during lower eyelid surgery are just below the eyelashes, and leave a scar that is nearly imperceptible. Lower lid position can be elevated if necessary or desirable, and may help to avoid scar tissue pulling the lower lid out of its desired final position.
For upper eyelid blepharoplasty, the incision is made in the natural eyelid crease, and also leaves a nearly imperceptible scar in most cases. Accurate measurement of the true upper eyelid skin excess is made by our surgeons in the preoperative area before anesthesia or sedation is received, maximizing the cosmetic result after healing, and minimizing dry eyes or lid malposition causing an abnormal or “staring” appearance. Some swelling and bruising is present in every eyelid surgery patient, and this usually resolves within two weeks or so. You will be given instructions on what to do to reduce bruising and enhance healing so you may return to work and social activities promptly.
Brow lift may be necessary in either men or women with brows that are at or below the orbital rim, contributing to “apparent” upper eyelid skin excess or hooding. Consultation with our plastic surgeons will allow you to find out if this is recommended for your best result. If upper eyelid surgery is performed instead of brow lift (when brow lift is recommended), the upper eyelids may be smoother and sculpted, but the brow position can drop even more, adding to the hooded, brooding, tired, or pensive appearance for which eyelid surgery was considered initially.
After surgery, patients may feel tightness around their eyes. Lubricating ointment is used in the eyes immediately after surgery, and will be continued at night until the lids close completely as swelling diminishes. Ice bags to the protected skin (frozen peas over a dry cloth works well) and elevation of the head will help keep swelling and bruising down. Do not use moist compresses, as the incisions absorb water and swell more. For the first few weeks following blepharoplasty surgery, patients may experience increased tearing, sensitivity to light, and temporary changes in vision such as blurring. Patients will return to Minneapolis Plastic Surgery, LTD. five to seven days after eyelid surgery to have upper eyelid sutures removed, and ten days or so for brow lift patients. Lower eyelid sutures are dissolving and do not require removal. If you note bleeding or vision change after eyelid surgery, contact us immediately at 763-545-0443.
Most patients resume social activities about two weeks after brow lift and/or eyelid surgery, though daily activities resume within a few days after surgery. Strenuous activities and exercise must be avoided for two weeks after surgery. Patients in certain occupations, such as TV personality, actor, or those in close personal contact with their coworkers or clients may prefer to wait slightly longer to return to work.
As with any surgical procedure, complications are possible. Bleeding around the eyes is potentially more serious than in other areas, as pressure on the retina or optic nerves can cause vision change or blindness. For this reason, it is imperative that you avoid aspirin or ibuprofen-containing medications for two weeks before and after surgery. Head elevation and avoidance of strenuous activity or exercise is necessary for two weeks after surgery, and bending over or lifting objects heavier than 5 pounds is forbidden. Other extremely rare complications can include infection or a reaction to the anesthesia used. Minor complications seen with eyelid or brow surgery can include minor vision change or blurring, which is caused by swelling of the cornea. This generally resolves as bruising and swelling settle, allowing the eyelids to lubricate the eye more completely. After surgery you should use the provided eye lubricant at night, as some patients may have difficulty closing their eyes when they sleep. During the day, artificial tears should be used as needed until swelling resolves and the lids close completely. Since swelling is different in each patient, and also in each eye, it is normal to note slight asymmetry in healing or scarring. This usually resolves over time. Adhering to your surgeon’s instructions regarding pre- and post-operative care will greatly reduce the risk of complications.
A brow lift, or forehead lift, is a surgical procedure designed to elevate drooping eyebrows and minimize the frown lines and forehead creasing that sometimes results over the years as people make normal facial expressions. Forehead creasing and frown lines are minimized in the brow lift procedure, but this treatment is also excellent for patients who can benefit from repositioning of the eyebrows. A low or sagging brow caused by aging can make the eyelids appear hooded; for this reason many patients who come to our Minneapolis, Minnesota office thinking they need blepharoplasty or eyelid surgery are actually better candidates for brow lift surgery or a combination of both surgeries.
Brow lift may be necessary in both men and women with brows that are at or below the orbital rim, contributing to “apparent” upper eyelid skin excess or hooding. Normally, the incision for brow lift or forehead lift is hidden entirely within the hair and inch or two behind the hairline, making the final scar well-concealed within the hair. In some patients with high foreheads or receding hairlines, a better incision choice is just at the hairline, which can actually lower the hairline or reduce forehead height. Hairline incisions require more time and surgical skill, but can yield improved cosmetic results in those patients who require this, such as men or women with thinning hair or high hairlines. At the time of brow lift, tiny forehead frown muscles between the brows can be surgically treated, reducing the “furrows” or worry lines between the eyebrows. The hair is not shaved or clipped with this procedure, and a head bandage and tiny surgical drain is present for one or two days, after which it is removed and a hair wash and blow dry performed at our clinic. Bruising and swelling is similar to that seen with eyelid surgery, and generally resolves in about two weeks.
After surgery, patients will receive instructions from their plastic surgeon that should be carefully followed for the best cosmetic result. It is important to keep the head elevated to reduce swelling and speed healing. One or two days after brow lift surgery, your bandages can be removed, but it is likely that there will still be some numbness and light swelling. Most patients can return to work seven to 10 days after surgery; however, it is important to keep in mind that every patient’s recovery is unique.
To schedule a consultation at our Minneapolis, Minnesota office at which you can learn more about your possible results from blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) or brow lift surgery, contact our staff today. One of our doctors can determine which of these procedures would be most beneficial for you and show you what cosmetic surgery may be able to achieve.
Please contact Minneapolis Plastic Surgery, LTD. if you have any questions about our procedures or would like to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our plastic surgeons.
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Minneapolis Plastic Surgery, LTD.
4825 Olson Memorial Highway (Hwy 55) Suite 200
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55422
Phone: (763) 545-0443
Fax: (763) 545-2784