Monday, March 30th, 2020
Most people realize that their skin will change as they get older. What comes as a surprise are what causes some of these changes and the underlying and surrounding structures’ contributions to them. These are caused by stretch of the skin and underlying support and descent caused by gravity. They can cause drooping and fullness of the upper eyelid in several ways.
Heavy and droopy upper eyelids are frustrating. Many people visit their plastic surgeon to explore how they can correct this sign of aging. The common options are to lift the upper eyelids directly using the blepharoplasty technique or to lift the upper eyelids indirectly using the brow lift technique. Because each technique can improve the appearance of the eyes, they may be confused as being the same thing. They’re not and, in fact, both may be required to achieve your desired improvement. Here, we discuss how blepharoplasty and brow lift surgery are different.
Eyelid rejuvenation with blepharoplasty addresses the upper eyelid that has become droopy with sagging skin, excess fat, and/or loose muscle. Often, all three are part of the problem. To improve the appearance of the eyes, blepharoplasty removes excess skin to restore the visibility of the natural crease and smooth roll around the orbital bone. When necessary, excess muscle is also trimmed. On rare occasions, excess fat is removed, usually from medially. This is because that, in the past, fat removal has resulted in greater cosmetic problem than before surgery, usually several years after the surgery. Experienced surgeons, therefore, rarely ever remove any fat.
The brow lift technique is also called a forehead lift. Dr. Buchanan performs this procedure through small, hidden incisions. Beneath the skin, the muscle and skin of the eyebrows are lifted and secured in a position that stabilizes the eyebrows above the upper orbital rim. If all the tissue excess in the upper eyelid area is from the brow, this is all that is required.
We could use the analogy of drooping eyelids being like a pair of pants whose legs pool on the floor. The pants may droop because they are too long, or they may droop because their belt does not hold them up at the waist or both. Eyelids that are too long due to excess skin and muscle laxity can be refreshed with blepharoplasty. Eyelids that are not being held well by the tissue and muscles of the forehead require a brow lift for correction. In some cases, a combination of the two is the ideal approach.
Both blepharoplasty and brow lift surgery may be performed without general anesthesia in the office. The use of minimally-invasive techniques also reduces downtime and speeds recovery. To learn more about these procedures, call (828) 526-3783 and schedule a consultation in our Highlands, NC office.