What Does Upper Blepharoplasty Recovery Look Like?

Woman (model) looking in the mirror holding hands up to her face.

Upper blepharoplasty creates a more alert, rested appearance for men and women bothered by sagging upper eyelids. It’s among the most popular cosmetic procedures performed at our facial plastic surgery practice because it’s a relatively straightforward surgery that involves minimal incisions and remarkable results.

Recovery is one of the primary concerns of people considering upper eyelid surgery. Knowing what to expect can make the recovery process more manageable, so this blog post will provide a general timeline to help you prepare for your own experience.

Are You a Good Upper Eyelid Surgery Candidate?

Women and men seeking upper eyelid surgery feel that sagging or hooded upper lids make them appear tired and older than they are. The upper eyelids can sometimes obstruct a person’s peripheral vision. Even though most upper eyelid patients are in their 40s, 50s, or older, younger men and women who inherited hooded lids can also benefit from the procedure.

What Happens During Upper Eyelid Surgery?

If you’re getting only upper blepharoplasty, Dr. Ladner uses a local anesthetic with sedation. (Some patients may combine upper and lower eyelid surgery, which sometimes requires a general anesthetic.) After the anesthetic and sedation take effect, Dr. Ladner makes incisions in the upper eyelid’s natural crease. He then removes excess skin and fat.

Recovery After Upper Blepharoplasty

One of the advantages of using a local anesthetic with sedation for upper eyelid surgery is that your initial post-op recovery is much more tolerable. Because you won’t be under the influence of strong sedatives or narcotics, your recovery will be faster, and you’ll experience fewer side effects like grogginess.

Upper Eyelid Surgery Before and After Photos

Upper Eyelid Surgery Recovery Timeline

Upper eyelid surgery recovery is generally a smooth process, but it does require patience and adherence to your surgeon’s postoperative instructions. Below is a general timeline to give you an idea of what to expect during the recovery journey:

Day 1-2: Immediate Post-Op Recovery

Some mild discomfort, swelling, and bruising around your eyes are typical in the first day or two after the surgery. These side effects should subside over the next few days. We’ll provide pain medication and specific care instructions, although many patients only need over-the-counter pain medication.

Day 3-7: Swelling Peaks and Starts To Subside

Swelling typically peaks around the third day after surgery. It might be more noticeable in the mornings and improve throughout the day. Applying cold compresses and moisturizing ointment can help reduce swelling, as can sleeping with your head elevated. Dr. Ladner prescribes medication to keep the incisions clean and minimize the risk of infection.

Day 7-10: Suture Removal and Transition to Makeup

Around the one-week mark, your surgeon will likely remove any non-dissolvable sutures. You’ll also notice a significant improvement in your swelling and bruising. You can usually begin wearing makeup to conceal any residual discoloration. Prescription eye drops alleviate dry eyes, a common side effect patients experience after eyelid surgery.

Week 2-4: Return to Normal Activities

By the end of the second week, most patients feel comfortable enough to return to work and resume light activities. You may still have some residual swelling, but it should be minimal. Continue to avoid strenuous exercise and activities that could strain your eyes.

Week 4-6: Swelling Fully Subsides

At this point, most remaining swelling should be gone, revealing your final results. You’ll notice a refreshed and rejuvenated appearance. Dr. Ladner may recommend a follow-up appointment to assess your progress. You may notice decreased sensation along the eyelid margin for 6 to 8 weeks. 

Tips for a Smoother Recovery

This timeline provides a broad overview of what to expect during upper eyelid surgery recovery, but here are some additional tips to ensure a smooth journey:

  • Follow Dr. Ladner’s instructions: Dr. Ladner provides specific postoperative instructions based on his extensive experience performing eyelid surgery. Diligently following them will minimize complications and speed up your recovery.
  • Stay hydrated and follow a healthy diet: Staying hydrated and consuming a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals can help your body heal faster.
  • Protect your eyes: Avoid activities that could strain your eyes, such as heavy lifting or bending over. Additionally, use sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats to protect your eyes from the sun.
  • Be patient: Healing takes time, and you may not immediately see the desired results. Be patient with the process and trust that improvements will come.

Remember that every individual’s recovery may vary, and Dr. Ladner is here to answer any questions you might have throughout the process. Even when patients experience unexpected bumps during their recovery, the results are worth the effort. You’ll appear more youthful and refreshed, which reflects how you feel.

You can request a consultation with Dr. Ladner, who is a double board-certified facial plastic surgeon, using the online form. Or call our office at (303) 253-7686 to schedule an appointment.

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