When considering eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) many people are concerned about the recovery process and how long it will take to return to normal activities. In this blog I’ll discuss how long it takes to recover from eyelid surgery, what can impact the recovery process and what you should avoid during recovery.
How long does it take to heal after eyelid surgery?
Recovering from eyelid surgery is much easier than you might think. Pain is not usually an issue after eyelid surgery and any mild discomfort may be relieved with pain medication as recommended by your surgeon.
Stitches are usually removed in 5-7 days and the slight incision mark is hidden in the natural crease of the eyelid. For about 80% of patients there will be no noticeable incision marks, swelling or bruising in about 7-10 days. The remaining 20% of patients will need more time. Generally, patients may return to work in 3 days but if the goal is to be discreet, the 7-10 day rule holds up as long as the patient has been following the recovery protocol. Any remaining marks that show after this time can be easily hidden with make-up. Eyelid surgery can have one of the most straightforward recoveries in facial plastic surgery but recovery will vary from patient to patient.
There are several things that will impact healing after eyelid surgery:
- The patient's individual constitution will determine the rate at which the individual typically heals.
- The amount of bleeding during the surgery impacts the amount of bruising. All surgeons try to minimise bleeding but if there was bleeding from a small blood vessel that was difficult to stop, there will be more bruising and healing will take longer.
- People who smoke are at risk of a higher rate of complications and healing time is significantly longer. Smoking should be avoided for at least 14 days prior to surgery.
- Various medications and supplements should be avoided for at least 14 days before surgery. These include aspirin, ibuprofen, naprosyn (and other anti-inflammatories which can thin the blood), vitamin E and fish oil.
- Adhering to the recovery protocol as recommended by your surgeon. For example for 1-3 days after surgery you should keep your head elevated (using extra pillows at night) and apply ice.
Things to avoid after eyelid surgery
Some of the healing after eyelid surgery is in your control and depends on how well you follow recommended recovery practices.
Just as it is important to avoid smoking and certain medications and supplements prior to surgery, these should be avoided for 14 days after surgery as well. During the recovery period you should avoid activities that increase blood flow to the eyes (bending, lifting, crying and exercise), and avoid activities that dry the eyes for as long as possible during recovery (reading, computer use, watching television and wearing contacts). You should also avoid alcohol which can cause fluid retention, and wear sunglasses to protect from sun and wind irritation.
Lastly, there is a very real but immeasurable factor in your recovery - your attitude! Patients with a positive and healthy outlook on life heal faster. Stress and worry are intangible factors that do make a difference. Make sure you are well-informed about the procedure. Discuss your concerns with your cosmetic surgeon until you are comfortable with your decision to proceed with surgery.
There has never been a better time to have cosmetic eyelid surgery
With modern techniques and recent technological advancements, eyelid surgery has become safe, effective and capable of delivering results that you always wanted with minimal pain, discomfort and downtime. A skilled and capable plastic surgeon who uses modern techniques can offer you better and longer lasting results while the specialist anaesthetist ensures your safety and comfort in a modern hospital.
As with any medical procedure, it is important to seek the advice of a skilled professional capable of addressing your concern. Since each person's anatomy and response to surgery and healing is different, an evaluation by a plastic surgeon can help you explore all options and determine the appropriate approach that addresses your concerns.
Tips on how to choose the right plastic surgeon for eyelid surgery
In Australia you should seek out a FRACS Plastic Surgeon. The FRACS Plastic Surgeon has 5 key attributes among others:
- Is fully qualified in Plastic Surgery including Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgery
- Is trainedby the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) which is the only College in Australia authorised by the Australian Medical Council (AMC) to train Surgeons
- Is registered as a Specialist Plastic Surgeon with the National Medical Board of Australia
- Is recognised as a ‘Specialist in his or her field’ by Medicare Australia
- Is a member of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and the Australian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS)
If you need additional information to assist you in deciding whether cosmetic surgery is the right option for you, send me a quick email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will happily assist you.
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