Even before the pandemic-influenced “Zoom boom” drove people to improve perceived facial imperfections, eyelid surgery was among the top plastic surgery procedures every year. The surgery’s popularity has only increased with the heightened use of video conference calls. Before scheduling surgery, though, most patients want to know how long it takes to recover from eyelid surgery.
Upper, Lower, or Both?
Before describing what to expect during your recovery following eyelid surgery, it’s important to explain that patients may get surgery for their upper or lower eyelids, or both, during the same operation. Eyelid surgery is often performed to lift upper eyelids that have started to sag because of age, but younger patients may also choose to get upper or lower blepharoplasty because of inherited traits. These include hooded upper lids and puffy lower eyelids.
Sagging or hooded upper eyelids create a tired, older appearance, although you may feel rested and youthful. Our board-certified facial plastic surgeons perform upper blepharoplasty by making an incision within the natural crease of the eyelid, extending to just beyond the corner of the eye. This makes the scar well hidden. The surgeon then removes excess skin and underlying fat before suturing the incision.
Undereye bags are a common concern for people who want lower eyelid surgery. If excess fat on the lower lid is the only issue, the surgeon can make an incision on the inside of the lid to perform the procedure. An external incision just below the lash line is needed to remove fat and excess skin.
Eyelid surgery can take 1 to 3 hours, depending on whether it includes both upper and lower lids, and is performed with the patient under general anesthesia in most cases.
Recovery After Eyelid Surgery
The downtime needed after eyelid surgery varies a bit from patient to patient, but most people say they start feeling like their usual selves within a few days of the surgery. Expect your eyelids to feel tight and possibly watery, dry, sticky, or itchy. It’s very important that you don’t rub them. Our surgeons prescribe medication to minimize pain and discomfort.
Bruising and swelling gradually resolve during the first 2 to 3 weeks after the surgery. You’ll likely feel ready to go out in public and back to work in about 10 to 14 days, depending on your job and how you feel about people knowing about your surgery. You can plan to resume exercising about a month after the procedure.
We provide detailed postoperative instructions that, when closely followed, limit the time needed to recover and minimize the risk of complications.
If you’re considering eyelid surgery, you can learn more about the procedure by requesting a consultation with one of our surgeons using the online form or by calling our Des Moines practice at (515) 277-5555 to schedule an appointment.