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In the last few years alone, plastic surgery seems more commonplace than ever. Whether it’s people opening up about what they’ve had done, like Bella Hadid did with her rhinoplasty surgery at 14, or talking about the pressure to have a perfect “Instagram body,” which has popularized the Brazilian Butt Lift procedure. Either way, plastic surgery and conversations around “tweakments” are more prevalent than ever.
One procedure in particular has slowly started to make waves on TikTok: eyelid lifts. While it’s been around for years and years, a recent viral video resurfaced the topic, bringing in more than 100,000 views. In it, user Julia Carpenter shows the before and after of getting the eyelid surgery, and other users flooded her comment section saying that they had either been thinking about the surgery themselves or had already gotten it done and had no regrets.
So, what is eyelid surgery exactly? To better understand the procedure and what it entails, we spoke with Manhattan-based plastic surgeon Robert Schwarcz, MD, who discussed everything from the downtime to how much it costs, below.
What Is an Eyelid Lift?
An eyelid lift, also known as blepharoplasty, is “a general term for lifting the upper eyelid,” Dr. Schwarcz says. Though the term may suggest that the focus would only be on the eyelid, he says that the procedure could encompass both “skin removal with selective fat manipulation or surgery involving the levator muscle to address upper eyelid ptosis, which is when the upper eyelid droops over the eye.”
In order to check to see if you are a possible candidate for an eyelid lift, Dr. Schwarcz recommends “looking at old photos to compare differences in current anatomy.” Specifically, “looking for droopiness and volume loss and seeking a few consultations with surgeons that do a lot of eyelid lift surgeries.”
How Much Does It Cost to Get an Eyelid Lift?
Depending on your current location, the extent of the surgery, and other factors, Dr. Schwarcz says the total cost can land anywhere between $6,000 to $8,000. However, there are some cases where the procedure could be covered by insurance.
“For an eyelid lift to be covered by insurance, a patient must meet certain criteria proving that [eyelid drooping] can functionally interfere with vision,” Dr. Schwarcz says. “A patient must obtain a visual field that can prove that about 30 percent of the upper field of vision is involved and this should correlate to a photo.”
How Long Do Eyelid Lift Results Last?
The results from blepharoplasty surgery can last up to 10 years before patients start seeing any changes as the face generally ages in decades, says Dr. Schwarcz. Because of this, while there is no specific age that is best to get the surgery done, he typically sees patients that fall in the 40 to 55 year old category.
How Invasive Is an Eyelid Lift?
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While considered a major surgery, eyelid lifts take much less time to perform than other larger surgeries. According to Dr. Schwarcz, the surgery is “somewhat invasive, but compared to bigger procedures such as a tummy tuck, it is significantly less so.”
How To Prepare For an Eyelid Lift Surgery
Prior to making a decision on the surgery, patients should always make sure that the surgeons they consult with are certified to do eyelid lifts. “Surgeons should have a cosmetic surgical training background and have a very strong command of eyelid anatomy,” says Dr. Schwarcz. “Most importantly, they should be comfortable recognizing and treating their own complications at the least.” Specifically, make sure you find a board-certified oculofacial plastic surgeon that has a cosmetically oriented practice.
Once you have made a decision on the surgery, there is some work that goes into preparing for it. “Every surgeon has a different protocol but I recommend a low inflammatory diet for the week leading up to the surgery, and for patients to stop all blood thinning related agents,” Dr. Schwarcz says.
What is Recovery From an Eyelid Lift Like?
In terms of duration of the surgery and down time afterward, you can expect a fairly light lift there too. “The procedure itself takes approximately 30 minutes,” Dr. Schwarcz says. Patients can expect recovery to take one to two weeks. After the procedure he has patients use ice and apply antibiotic eye ointment to the suture line. He also recommends avoiding heavy lifting and exercise for two weeks.
Though there may be slight drawbacks after getting the procedure like drier eyes, overall, eyelid lifts can give a more “rested bright eyed look, offer some relief to the feeling of heaviness around eyelids, and can make a person appear more youthful while providing more symmetry to the face,” Dr. Schwarcz says. But it is important to note that you should never feel pressured by social media or outside sources to get any type of plastic surgery. Should you decide to get a cosmetic procedure done, make sure that it is something you want to do and that you have done your research beforehand.