Eyelid Surgery

Quick Summary
Eyelid Surgery
Procedure Length
1-2 hours
General, sometimes local with IV sedation
Improve the appearance of the area surrounding the eyes and to improve vision obscured by drooping eyelids
Back to work 1-2 weeks. Strenuous activities 3-4 weeks
Type of Specialist
Oculoplastic, plastic & facial plastic surgeons
Final Appearance
2-4 months
Duration of Results
Approx 5-10 years
Average Cost
The total average cost of eyelid surgery is between $4,500 and $12,000.

What is eyelid surgery?

Eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty, is a surgical procedure that aims to restore and rejuvenate the skin surrounding the eyes. It can be performed on both the upper and lower lids with the goal of improving the appearance of wrinkles and reducing puffiness or under-eye bags, giving patients a more rested and refreshed appearance. Eyelid surgery can also restore proper eyelid function by removing drooping skin to increase visibility.

Eyelid Surgery Before & After Photo

Lower Eyelid Surgery

Cost of eyelid surgery

The average cost of eyelid surgery is $4,120 according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), however this only includes the surgeon’s fee. There are several other factors that can affect the cost. Here are some of the top factors that influence cost:

  • Your Surgeon: The experience and reputation of the eyelid surgeon performing your procedure can affect the cost. Highly skilled facial or plastic surgeons often charge a premium for their services.
  • Anesthesia: The type of anesthesia used, procedure duration, and the qualifications of the anesthesiologist can influence the anesthesia fees.
  • Surgical Facility: These fees cover the usage of the operating room and other associated services. To ensure a safe experience, check to see if your surgical facility is certified by the Accreditation Associations for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC).
  • Location Matters: The cost of living and the average pricing for medical services in a particular area can affect the cost of your procedure. In general, urban areas tend to have higher procedure fees. If you want a general idea of the prices for medical procedures in your local area, you can use the Healthcare Blue Book, which functions similarly to Kelley Blue Book for estimating car prices.
  • Complexity of the Procedure: The intricacy of your procedure can affect the cost. If it involves significant reconstruction or additional procedures expect the cost to be on the higher side
  • Pre and Postoperative Care: This includes consultations, medical tests, surgical garments, medications, and follow-up appointments.
  • Additional Procedures: Your cost may be higher if you’re considering having other procedures along with your eyelid surgery such as a brow lift or neck lift.
  • Insurance: In certain cases, your eyelid surgery may be covered by insurance if it is deemed medically necessary. In these cases, insurance may cover a portion of the procedure. However, insurance coverage can vary and specific criteria must be met to qualify.

When taking all these factors into consideration, the total cost of eyelid surgery is between $4,500 and $12,000. If you are considering eyelid surgery, schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon near you.

Will insurance cover your procedure?

Eyelid surgeries are typically not covered by insurance. However, in cases where excess upper eyelid skin interferes with vision (a condition called dermatochalasis), insurance may cover the procedure. Insurance companies rarely cover lower eyelid surgery.

In order to determine if you are eligible for coverage, you will need to be evaluated by an ophthalmologist who will assess your normal visual field compared to your visual field after taping the excess skin back. Most insurance companies will cover upper eyelid surgery if three requirements are met:

  1. Photographic proof of excess eyelid skin (dermatochalasis)
  2. A documented clinical exam by a physician
  3. Significant improvement in the visual field test with tape as compared to without tape

Insurance companies often require a statement from a physician indicating the medical benefit of surgery and the specific type of eyelid procedure that is recommended. A few other cases where insurance may provide coverage include:

  • Ptosis: This is a condition caused by a drooping upper eyelid that impairs vision. Ptosis differs from dermatochalasis in that ptosis is not related to excess skin around the upper eyelid but is caused by an impairment in the ability of the upper eyelid muscles to fully elevate the eyelid.
  • Ectropion or entropion: These are caused by outward or inward facing eyelids. In ectropion, sagging lids may leave you susceptible to dry, irritated eyes. With entropion, your eyelashes and skin may contact your eyeball, leading to irritation and discomfort.

Before moving forward with surgery, confirm that your procedure will be covered by insurance. If your procedure is not covered, there are various financing options available to help make eyelid surgery more affordable.

Is eyelid surgery right for you?

Signs that you might be a good candidate for eyelid surgery include:

  • Healthy with no medical issues
  • Have under eye bags
  • Excess fatty deposits which cause puffiness
  • Excessive drooping or sagging skin around the eyes

You may not be a good candidate if you:

  • Have serious eye or medical conditions (e.g. glaucoma, diabetes, thyroid disease), as these can increase the risks of complications
  • Have severe dry eyes
  • Have drooping eyebrows
  • Are a smoker

What to know beforehand

The following are few important things patients should know about before having eyelid surgery.

  • Choosing an experienced surgeon is vital to getting the results you desire and reducing the risks of complications.
  • Eyelid surgery is a structural enhancement, not a transformation. The goal of eyelid surgery is to restore and rejuvenate rather than making large changes to your appearance.
  • Dark under eye circles or sagging eyebrows may be better addressed with other cosmetic treatments.
  • Some patients may see increased darkness under their eyes after lower eyelid surgery.
  • In rare cases, patients may experience swelling and bruising for up to 3-4 weeks after the surgery.
  • Makeup and contact lenses are not recommended in the 2 weeks following surgery.
  • The results of eyelid surgery are not immediate. Final results are often not apparent for several months post-operation.
  • It is relatively common for patients to undergo subsequent eyelid surgeries in the years following their first surgery.
  • Insurance (including Medicare) may cover eyelid surgery, especially if you have upper eyelid hooding that impairs your vision.

Types of eyelid procedures

The two main types of eyelid surgery procedures are upper and lower eyelid surgery, which may be performed simultaneously.

  • Upper eyelid surgery: As the name suggests, this procedure addresses the drooping or sagging of the upper eyelids. During the procedure, incisions are created in natural skin folds and excess skin and tissue is removed. If “crow’s feet” or wrinkles are a concern, the incisions may extend past the eye’s outer corner to allow the surgeon to smooth these wrinkles.
  • Lower eyelid surgery: This procedure addresses puffiness or bagginess under the eyes. During the procedure, the incision may either be placed in the natural skin folds, or behind the eyelid. If the incision is behind the eyelid, rather than in the skin of the lower eyelid, it is known as transconjunctival eyelid surgery.

A variation of upper eyelid surgery is double eyelid surgery, commonly known as “Asian blepharoplasty” due to its popularity in East Asia, which reshapes the upper eyelid to include a crease.

  • Double eyelid surgery (Asian blepharoplasty): This procedure is used to create a wider, larger-looking eye by adding a crease to the upper eyelid.
Asian Eyelid Surgery Before and After Photo

Asian Eyelid Surgery

Regardless of the method used or whether the surgeon is working on the upper or lower eyelids, the incisions may be closed with tape, very small sutures or, in the case of transconjunctival surgery, left to heal on their own.

Upper and lower eyelid surgeries are frequently performed simultaneously but, if excess tissue is restricted to only the upper or lower eyelid area, surgery can be performed on just one set of eyelids.

In some cases, eyelid surgeries are performed at the same time as a forehead lift (also known as a brow lift) to correct drooping brows or deep lines in the eyebrow or forehead area.

Recovery time

Following surgery, your eyes will be swollen and bruised for 1 to 3 weeks. The appearance will continue to get better over the next few months. Most patients feel ready to go out in public after 10 to 12 days.

When will you see results?

The final results of your eyelid surgery will take several months to become apparent. While most people achieve final results within 3-4 months, in some cases they may not be apparent for more than 6 months.

How long will your results last?

You can expect the results of your eyelid surgery to be long lasting but, as with other types of cosmetic surgeries, they are not permanent. Some patients may choose to undergo subsequent eyelid surgeries in the years following an initial procedure.

Alternatives to eyelid surgery

Nonsurgical approaches to treating under eye bags, wrinkles and fine lines, or dark circles may be appropriate for some patients. The following are some non-surgical alternatives:

  • A combination of dermal fillers and neuromodulators such as Botox can be used to add volume and support to help minimize the appearance of under eye bags, wrinkles, sagging skin and darkness.
  • For the upper lids, Botox injections in the “crow’s feet” area have proven to be an effective way to gently lift the lateral brow and lift a bit of the hooding on the side of your eye and reduce the appearance of crow’s feet. Botox injections last for 3-4 months.
  • For lower lids, ceramide creams are effective, if temporary, option. After application, ceramide creams dry clear and tighten the lower lid skin, effectively minimizing bags and wrinkles. Ceramide creams last for 4-8 hours and can be reapplied as needed.
  • Other nonsurgical options for lower eyelids include ultrasound (e.g. Ultherapy), radiofrequency, CO2 lasers, and peels that tighten the skin with minimal downtime.
  • Fat transfer procedures where fat is transferred from other areas of the body to the lower eyelids are sometimes an option in order to fill in the cheek-lid depression, which can create obvious shadows that contribute to the appearance of dark under eye areas.

In cases of advanced dermatochalasis (saggy, overhanging upper eyelids) surgery may be the best or only option.

Tips for choosing a plastic surgeon

To attain the desired results, it is important to carefully select your eyelid lift surgeon. The surgeon you choose, along with their recommended surgical approach, significantly influences patient satisfaction. Seek out a surgeon with substantial experience in eyelid lift specifically. Ensure that your surgeon is board-certified and holds membership in one or more of the following organizations:

  • The American Board of Plastic Surgery
  • American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
  • American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery
  • The American Society of Plastic Surgeons
  • The Aesthetic Society

Are you ready to take the next step? Contact a qualified doctor near you.

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