Eye Lift - Blepharoplasty
The Aging Process
As the face ages, changes take place that affect the bone, muscle, skin, and fat tissues. Though changes in the skin may be the first and most noticeable alteration brought on by advancing age, bone tissues slowly degenerate as well, creating marked effects. Bone is lost around the eye sockets, which can cause the eyes to appear “sunken”. This is precisely the reason why most patients elect to have an eye lift and other related cosmetic procedures. Bone is also lost in the jaw and checks. Loss of bone in the jaw is often the culprit behind the initial development of jowls, for example.
The muscles that attach to these bones can become slack as less bone tissue is available for attachment. The result is a drooping, sagging look, especially in the jowls. A corresponding loss of fat in the cheeks and eye region can simply add to a patient’s aged appearance. Addressing these underlying issues by opting for an eye lift can have an obvious and rejuvenating effect on the face.
Despite the underlying changes going on under the skin, dermal thinning is perhaps the most noticeable change to patients along with an increase in pigmented spots and problems like wrinkles. Though the skin may seem to be the whole problem on the surface, a qualified plastic surgeon can analyze a patient’s face in terms of the different tissue layers. Based on this analysis a treatment plan can be developed to address the various issues that go beyond the problems that are only skin deep.
Aging of the Eye (Periorbital) Region
There are a number of changes that take place in the periorbital region that contribute to an aged appearance. The tissues around the eyes slowly weaken as the years pass, which can lead to bulging of fat above and below the eye. The fat pad that creates rounding and softness in the cheeks just below the eyes slowly starts to descend over time, hence the need for an eye lift. Moreover, the orbicularis oculi muscle begins to sag and droop. This can cause the bony part of the eye to become more noticeable, a telltale sign of an aging face.
Other gravity-related changes can affect the lower eyelid and the area where the cheek and the lower eyelid meet. Some patients notice that their eyelids appear more “sunken” or that they look tired all the time. These changes mostly pertain to the muscle, fat, and skin tissues that are susceptible to the pull of gravity. The problem is the result of having a deficiency of tissue in the region and doctors typically treat the problem by performing an eye lift surgery.
Examining the Brow
The artistic ability of the surgeon is of primary importance in any eye lift surgery. A good surgeon should have a firm grasp of the aesthetic relationship between the upper eyelid, the eyebrow, and the function of the bone that surrounds the upper eye in order to properly advise the patient on the best course of action when aging eyes become an issue.
Though the upper eyelids may be sagging, the correct course of action is not always an eye lift to correct the problem. Sometimes, surgeons are able to raise the eyebrows, which gives the patient a more wakeful and youthful appearance, while simultaneously lifting the skin of the upper eyelid such that it no longer sags or droops.
In some instances, doctors will recommend raising the eyebrows and also removing a bit of excess skin from the upper eyelid in a single treatment session. By raising the eyebrows first, the amount of skin that needs to be removed through an eye lift can be significantly reduced.
By treating upper eyelid problems, patients often experience a corresponding impact on the wrinkles in their forehead. Patients with the habit of raising their eyebrows using the muscle in the forehead will notice that it has a stretching effect on the skin of their eyes. They can be pleasantly surprised on how an eye lift can solve the negative effects of such mannerism.
The forehead muscles and the eyebrows are affected by gravitational pull as well as the pull of muscles on the lower part of the face that exert a downward force against these tissues in the upper part of the face. The downward pull of muscles are somewhat offset by the contraction of the muscles in the forehead that raise the eyebrows. Over time, the back and forth tug-of-war between the upper muscles and lower muscles of the face causes wrinkles as well as the gradual displacement of the eyelids and eyebrows.
Gender-Specific Brow Lift Approaches
Raising a sagging brow can be accomplished using a variety of different techniques. But skilled surgeons do more than just lift the eyebrow. They realized that the end result is not just about lifting the brow on the face, but also contouring the shape of the brow. In the end, the contour of the brow needs to be consistent with the patient’s gender as the shape of the eyebrow greatly affects the femininity or masculinity of the face.
Women typically benefit from having the outer portion of the eyebrow lifted to restore the original arch that is so depictive of a feminine face. Men, in contrast, tend to have eyebrows that are situated lower on the face that are straight rather than arched. Lifting the eyebrow for both men and women needs to take these features into consideration.
The way the upper eyelid is treated will depend on a number of different factors related to the age of the patient, skin type, and the anatomical issues of the eye that must be addressed. The doctor may feel that it is necessary to excise skin as well redundant muscle tissue. Fat tissues may need to be resectioned under certain conditions as well.
The plastic surgeon will need to determine the location of the eyelid crease and examine the location of the upper lid and lacrimal glands. Patients may be able to see the approximate results of a conservative muscle resection and skin excision by having the doctor roll the redundant skin away from the eye using a Q-tip.
A variety of different eye lift techniques and procedures may be implemented to create a more youthful appearance by altering the soft tissues surrounding the eyes. Because each situation is unique, the procedures and techniques that are appropriate in any given situation will differ. Patients should expect to see the clock turn back by at least 10 years with the help of a skilled plastic surgeon who can expertly perform an eye lift surgery.
Before Surgery Considerations
Your doctor should discuss healthful recommendations with you prior to performing an eye lift. The procedure itself and the risks and complications associated with it should also be addressed. The following are some important pre-surgical considerations:
- Avoid aspirin, ibuprophen, and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory products as well as vitamin E, which can all thin the blood and cause excessive bleeding during surgery or the presence of a very large bruise on the treated area after the procedure.
- Avoid alcohol, especially right before surgery as it can cause tissue swelling. In the weeks leading to your eye lift surgery, the anti-coagulant effect of alcohol can lead to problems similar to those encountered with aspirin and other blood-thinning products.
- Patients should be aware that exercise and other physical activities may need to be postponed for a specified period after surgery.
- Patients should consider putting off travel until recovery is complete.
- Patients should fully understand financing options for the surgery.