4 min read

How to reduce eyelid swelling after blepharoplasty

12 Jan

Swelling after a blepharoplasty surgery is normal. Post-operative swelling peaks at about 48-72 hours, and then subsides over the next few days. The majority of swelling after eyelid surgery will disappear in the first week, but small amounts may persist for 6 - 12 weeks during which subtle improvements in appearance will continue. In this blog I’ll discuss tips on how you can reduce upper eyelid swelling after eyelid surgery as well as what you should be avoiding to ensure you heal faster.

Eyelid surgery and blepharoplasty is done by cutting and rearranging tissues, this process creates inflammation that causes accumulation of fluid, swelling, redness, mild pain and discomfort. The tissues around the eye are very delicate and the skin is very thin. Since the skin has little strength the accumulated fluid distends the eyelid skin to give it the puffy look.


What you should be doing

There are a number of things you can do:

  • Keeping your head elevated. The best way to help limit swelling is to keep your head elevated. When you lay down, you increase the pressure of the fluid in the eye tissues. When you sit up, you decrease the pressure and the fluid starts to leave the tissues. It is typical for swelling to be worse when you get up in the morning and diminish over the course of the day as you remain upright allowing the fluid that has built up overnight to drain away with the assistance of gravity. The swelling is usually at its minimum at bedtime. Sleeping with your head elevated with two pillows can help to minimise swelling overnight.
  • Cold packs: Cold packs will help with swelling in the first few post-operative days as well. Use as directed by your
  • Loading up on antioxidants: Bromelain (pineapple extract) or daily fresh pineapple or other antioxidant foods (berries etc.) may also help with healing.
  • Covering up: Be sure to wear sunglasses when outside to protect the skin of your eyelids from UV rays, dust and wind.


What you shouldn’t be doing

  • Smoking: It is recommended to stop smoking for at least 14 days after surgery as it can slow down the healing process.
  • Drinking alcohol: Alcohol consumption can cause retention of excess fluid as well as slow down the healing process, so it’s best to limit it.
  • Exercising: Avoiding exercise is important as it causes your heart rate to increase and raises the blood pressure in your face. The tissues affected by the surgery cannot compensate for this as easily until they heal, and as a result you may experience more persistent swelling if you exercise. Bending over and heavy lifting should also be avoided.
  • Putting on makeup: Any irritation of the eye area can cause inflammation and worsen the swelling. Avoid environmental toxins (such as smoke), and do not use makeup or products with chemicals until cleared to do so by your surgeon.


It is normal to have swelling that diminishes over the course of the first couple of weeks after eyelid surgery. Usually after then, things begin to stabilise, but you will continue to see small improvements every week. Make sure that you follow the recovery protocol recommended by your plastic surgeon. If you are not seeing ongoing improvement in the swelling, you should consult with your surgeon.


If you have any further concerns about eyelid surgery I invite you to download my free eBook 'Top 10 eyelid surgery FAQs - What you really need to know before going under the knife'. In it you’ll find the most frequently asked questions about eyelid surgery from my past patients along with my answers. Questions include “Will I scar?”, “How long will it take to recover?” and “How long do the results last?”. Get your free copy now by clicking on the button below.


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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 trained by 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 info@naveensomia.com.au and I will happily assist you.


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Dr Naveen Somia MBBS, PhD, FRACS

Written by Dr Naveen Somia MBBS, PhD, FRACS

Dr. Naveen Somia is a Sydney Plastic Surgeon who listens to his patients, understands their problems and works alongside them to help achieve their aesthetic goals by applying his skills and years of experience in Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery. A published author on Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery, Naveen’s blog is aimed at helping you make the right choices and stay safe in your quest to look your personal best.