One of the most common questions that plastic surgeons hear from their male and female patients is, “How can I get rid of the bags under my eyes?” This is a valid concern. The eyes are the main focal point of the face; however, elements of facial aging can take attention away from the eyes.
Cosmetic eyelid blepharoplasty (cosmetic eyelid surgery) is a procedure performed to restore the eyes’ youthful appearance. However, when performing the procedure on the lower eyelids, it’s important for plastic surgeons to look at what truly is causing the bags. Commonly, the fat is cut out or removed from the lower eyelid to remove the bags, but this is not always the solution.
The so-called “bags” are actually fat that everyone has throughout their entire life. It’s not that as people age, their eyelids get “fatter.” The two things that cause lower eyelid fat to project with age are: the weakening of the ligament that holds the fat within the eyelid, and the loss of muscle, fat and bone from the eyes and cheeks area.
Unfortunately, in many cases, when surgeons remove fat from the lower eyelid, they take away too much fat, making the eyelid look sunken in.
To avoid this look, plastic surgeons can reposition or place the fat back into the lower eyelid instead of removing it. Very minimal fat, if any at all, is removed. A good analogy of what is performed is how a hernia is treated: the fat under the eyelid herniates out, so it’s reduced back into the eyelid.
Then, by fat grafting, or using fat from the patient’s own body, surgeons can fill in the volume that has been lost over time. The fat is purified and distilled, and then injected in very small amounts around the eyes and cheeks, ultimately reducing wrinkles and puffy bags under the eyes.
The end result: the appearance of the area surrounding the eyes is refreshed, making patients look younger, rested and alert. The procedure offers a long-lasting or permanent solution to keep the lower eyelids looking youthful.
During lower cosmetic eyelid blepharoplasty, there are often no incisions on the skin as it can all be placed on the inside of the eyelid. In some cases an incision may be placed just below the lash line, but it’s unnoticeable when the healing process is complete.
The average time for the procedure takes between one and two hours. It can be performed in an outpatient surgical facility or hospital. Most patients undergo deep sedation or twilight sleep; however, some patients prefer a general anesthetic.
The majority of patients are able to return home comfortably right after the procedure, return to work within one week, and are enjoying full activities after 10 days. There may be some bruising, which can be hidden with makeup. After the procedure, some patients have minimal pain, which can be alleviated with a mild narcotic.