Laser Eye Lift
In a traditional eye lift utilizing a scalpel, a lot of bruising and swelling is to be expected due to the presence of an abundant blood supply to the eyelids. The use of a CO2 laser, in contrast, can avoid much of the problem of bruising. Laser eye lift is mostly “bloodless” and any bruising is likely the result of the local anesthesia injection rather than the surgery itself.
There are a number of advantages to laser eye lift. Typically, patients recover more quickly and experience less swelling and edema. There are no stitches required for the procedure. Patients often report no pain and less retraction of the eyelid following laser eye lift. Alterations to the shape of the lower eyelid are also less likely using this procedure over a traditional scalpel eye lift.
There are some important precautions that need to be taken to ensure patient safety during laser eye lift. Safety of the staff helping with the procedure is also important. The surgical team is required to wear special wavelength-protective eye wear for safety purposes. And patients must wear specialized contact lenses made of surgical steel to protect their eyes from the laser during the treatment.
A topical tetracaine is applied to the eyes as an ophthalmic ointment on the inner surface of the metallic contact lenses used by the patient. This is a strong topical anesthetic. The contact lenses are designed such that they have an anti-reflective outer surface that makes it impossible for the laser to accidentally reflect off of them into unwanted areas. In some instances, patients may be having other procedures done at the same time as the eye lift. If the patient is having a chemical peel, the use of alcohol or acetone should be postponed until after the laser treatment is complete.
The patient is first brought to the operating room to make the markings for the incisions using a special surgical marker. Then, the incisions are checked using forceps to pinch the skin gently and make certain the eyelids will close properly following the excision of skin. Symmetry of the eyes is also double checked at this time. Local anesthetic injections are then administered.
The patient is then prepared for laser eye lift surgery by applying metallic contact lenses to the eyes with the topical tetracaine in place on their undersurface. Though the patient may be given oxygen during preparation for the procedure, oxygen should be turned off when the laser treatment is started to avoid causing a fire or a build-up of oxygen in the patient’s body. The patient’s face is covered with moistened towels or gauze to help prevent unwanted burns from the laser on areas of the face not being treated.
A silk suture is made to keep the eyelids stabilized during the laser procedure. Typically the laser is pulsed and the incision is made in the areas that were previously marked and checked with the forceps. Though there may be some slight bleeding, usually this can be kept under control using the laser to coagulate the blood, which also diminishes bruising and swelling after the surgery.
The patient is first prepared for the procedure by having his or her eyelids clearly marked with a surgical marker. The incision markings are made in a manner similar to that of traditional eye lift. The surgeon sets up the laser machine near the patient’s head and the tetracaine is applied to the eyes along with the protective contact lenses.
Using a laser to perform an eye lift surgery means that the plastic surgeon must consider the potential for thermal damage throughout the procedure. The depth of the incision is related to the power setting of the laser and somewhat to the speed with which the surgeon makes the cut using the laser. The laser differs substantially from the scalpel as a tool for performing an eye lift and the major consideration pertains to burns rather than issues pertaining to bruising and swelling.
After the incisions have been made using the laser, the laser settings are changed and the skin and orbicularis muscles are removed from the orbital septum. The orbital septum itself may need to be cut in order to gain access to the fat pad behind it, which may need to be reduced. The laser can be used throughout the procedure to coagulate blood in vessels that are bleeding by merely defocusing it or moving it somewhat farther away from the treated area. Finally, the incisions are closed and the patient moved to recovery.
Advantages of Laser Eye Lift Surgery
There are a number of advantages to laser eye lift surgery including the following:
- Reduced bleeding associated with the procedure
- Reduced tissue distortion and drag
- Reduced risk of bruising and swelling
- Decreased time spent in surgery
- Increased sculpting abilities
- Keloid formation is non-existent
- Crease formation is arguably better using laser treatment
- Diminished risk of hemorrhage