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How To Reduce Swelling After Blepharoplasty Surgery

surgeon making incision marks around eye

Blepharoplasty, also known as eyelid surgery, is a cosmetic surgery procedure that removes or tightens sagging skin, bulging fat, and excess muscle around the eyes. As is the case with all surgeries, you will experience some swelling and bruising following your blepharoplasty. This is a natural part of the healing process, but the swelling is temporary, and there are steps you can take to ensure your swelling heals quickly and without any complication.

What Is Blepharoplasty?

Eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty, is a type of facial plastic surgery that focuses on the upper and lower eyelids. During a blepharoplasty, your surgeon will tighten or remove sagging skin around your eyes or will remove any bulging fat that is resulting in a tired appearance, or that may be obstructing your vision. Your surgeon will also tighten the muscles around your eyes, resulting in a more alert, youthful look.

Blepharoplasty candidates may be individuals who are self-conscious about drooping or baggy eyelids, puffy under eyes, or dark circles. In addition, those with hooded or drooping eyelids or bulging lower lids may suffer from obstructed vision; blepharoplasty will not only improve youthfulness in these patients but improve their quality of life by removing these obstructions.

Is Swelling Normal After Blepharoplasty?

Yes, swelling is normal after blepharoplasty. During a blepharoplasty, your surgeon will make an incision on your lower or upper eyelid (depending on what kind of blepharoplasty procedure you are having done), to remove excess skin and fat and tighten the skin and muscles around your eyes. Because this surgery involves an incision, your body will send fluids and healing white blood cells to the incision site, which will result in some bruising and swelling following your procedure. This is perfectly natural and expected, and temporary.

How Long Does It Take to Recover from Blepharoplasty?

For the first 24 hours following your blepharoplasty, you will be instructed to use cold compresses and ensure someone is at home with you. After 2-3 days, you will be able to resume reading and watching television, and after 10-14 days, you will be able to return to work.

7 Tips for Reducing Swelling After Blepharoplasty Surgery

While swelling after your blepharoplasty is perfectly normal, there are some steps you can take to help reduce swelling and encourage your body to heal quickly and without complication.

before and after image of woman's eyes

1. Protect Your Eyes

Protecting your eyes after your blepharoplasty procedure is the most important step you can take to ensure a full recovery. Avoid sunlight exposure as much as possible, but if you do go outside, be sure to wear dark sunglasses with frames that cover your eyes as well as the sides of your face. Your surgeon may also recommend eye drops, to help prevent uncomfortable dryness.

2. Get Plenty of Sleep

Rest is key to recovery, no matter what type of procedure you have had — but it is especially important after your blepharoplasty. Giving your eyes and eyelids the chance to rest after your surgery will give them plenty of time to recover; in addition, getting adequate sleep will ensure your immune system is working as efficiently as possible to help you heal after your surgery. Try to get eight hours of sleep a night, and nap during the day if you feel tired (it’s recommended to take about two weeks off work following your blepharoplasty procedure).

3. Apply Cold Compresses

Cold compresses can help alleviate any discomfort you are feeling around your eyes after your blepharoplasty procedure, and they can also help reduce swelling by reducing circulation to your eyelids and the surrounding area.

4. Keep Your Head Elevated

Try to prop your head up on multiple pillows when you sleep, or, if possible, try to get your rest in a chair or recliner as often as possible following your blepharoplasty. You can also try propping your head up with a travel pillow that wraps comfortably around your neck.

5. Stop Smoking

If you are a smoker, it’s best to try to quit (or cut back substantially) prior to your blepharoplasty, as smoking during your recovery can lead to constricted blood vessels, which can severely reduce circulation and compromise your recovery.

6. Avoid Any Strenuous Activity

Strenuous exercise and physical activity can result in a significant increase in blood flow to your face and eyes, which can affect (and even increase) swelling. While gentle exercise is important for your recovery (after a few days of rest), you should avoid strenuous cardiovascular activity or heavy weight-lifting immediately following your blepharoplasty.

7. Follow Your Self-Care Instructions

Your eyes and eyelids are very sensitive, and they will be especially tender after your blepharoplasty. Properly cleaning your eyes following your surgery is an important step in avoiding infection and ensuring a risk-free recovery, and you can find full details on how to safely and correctly care for your eyes after your procedure here.

In addition, after your blepharoplasty procedure, your surgeon may have other recommendations — such as avoiding the application of makeup, when you are able to resume wearing contact lenses, and what type of pain medication you can take to help alleviate any discomfort — to help encourage a speedy and complication-free recovery. It’s important to follow these instructions closely, and contact the clinic if you have any questions or concerns about your blepharoplasty recovery.

Dr. Thomas Bell | SpaMedica

by Dr. Thomas Bell

Dr. Tom Bell, with over 25 years of practice experience dedicated to cosmetic plastic surgery, pioneered Avenue Road and Yorkville as Toronto’s Beverly Hills of plastic surgery with his first surgical center in Yorkville’s Avenue road corridor back in 1986. Named as Canada’s best plastic surgeon by W magazine and one of the world’s best, Dr. Bell returns home to join the SpaMedica Plastic Surgery team as the reigning King of Plastic Surgery.
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