Lower and upper eyelid blepharoplasty can address three issues: eyelid skin laxity, fat bulging and, less frequently, thickened muscle. When it comes to making the incision, a plastic surgeon can either use a scalpel or a laser. In this blog I’ll discuss the pros and cons of both incision options for eyelid surgery to help you decide which option you may prefer.
The pros and cons of laser vs scalpel for eyelid surgery
The eyelid skin must be cut with either process and the fat removed. There is little or no tissue damage with a scalpel, while with a laser there is thermal tissue damage. There is less bleeding at the time of surgery with the laser as it burns the tissue slightly, so it automatically coagulates vessels. This is often pushed as a benefit to having less bruising. However you see more swelling when a laser is used, due to the thermal injury. Lasers can be dangerous as they cause heat, and heat can lead to burns that can distort the eyelids or injure the eyeball. Both the laser or scalpel will have good, long lasting results. The longevity of the procedure depends on how your plastic surgeon rearranges the anatomy and how you care for your skin (so avoid sun exposure and don't smoke if you want results to last longer).
You can combine both laser and scalpel for optimal results
While substituting a laser for a scalpel for eyelid surgery does not offer proven benefit, lasers are effective for skin resurfacing which can produce tightening of the upper and lower eyelid skin. Sometimes both techniques can be used together. A combined approach to treat the lower eyelid area can be very effective. This would involve blepharoplasty using a scalpel to make the incision and remove fat, and laser to smooth out fine wrinkles and tighten the skin under the eye.
Laser for eyelid surgery is not scientifically proven to be superior to the scalpel
Laser blepharoplasty is sometimes touted as being superior because of people's perception of lasers as high-tech devices which provide superior results. Although this perception is sometimes used for marketing purposes, it is not warranted, certainly not in the case of blepharoplasty or eyelid surgery. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that either technique is superior over the other or leads to longer-lasting results. There have been some studies where one eyelid was done with a laser and one with a scalpel and the patient then was asked after surgery if they could tell which side was which. The patients couldn't tell and a second surgeon looking at the patients post operatively couldn't tell either.
The skill of your plastic surgeon has more to do with the results following eyelid surgery
The important variable here is who is wielding the tool. The laser and the scalpel each have advantages and disadvantages. The key is how they are used. Choose your plastic surgeon based on results, recommendations, and your gut feeling. Consider someone who has a good eye or aesthetic vision of what looks great, has the skill to effectively perform the procedure, who cares about you and your goals, who is committed to excellence and will look after you in the difficult post operative period following your eyelid surgery.
In the end, your results will depend on the skill and judgment of the plastic surgeon rather than the tool used.
Do you have any concerns about eyelid surgery? If so I invite you to download my free eBook 'Top 10 eyelid surgery FAQs - What you really need to know before going under the knife'. You'll find the top 10 frequently asked questions about eyelid surgery from patients over the years and the answers I gave them. Click on the button below to get your copy now.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and I will happily assist you.
Was this article helpful? I would love to hear your feedback, please let me know in the comment section below.
Don’t forget to share this with your friends using the social media icons.