Blepharoplasty Recovery

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From the moment the surgeon closes the final incision to the day you’re entirely healed, we’ve got all the details on the recovery process following a blepharoplasty procedure.


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The Skinny

Let’s quickly overview the basics of blepharoplasty before we deep dive the recovery. Blepharoplasty is an umbrella term for any plastic surgery procedure to change the appearance and positioning of the upper and/or lower eyelid. Excess skin and excess fat can be removed and eyelid skin generally repositioned. There are several different approaches to a blepharoplasty procedure depending on the unique needs of each individual candidate. Some of the procedures are more involved than others, but all generally involve a few weeks of recovery.

Upper eyelid procedures include Asian blepharoplasty with an open incisional or partial incisional approach and upper eyelid blepharoplasty. Lower eyelid procedures include lower eyelid blepharoplasty subciliary or transconjunctival approach, lateral canthal suspension canthopexy, and lateral tarsal strip canthoplasty. A non-surgical blepharoplasty, lower eyelid malposition steroid injection and massage, will only have a day or so of recovery, but is usually used in preparation for or conjunction with a surgical blepharoplasty procedure.

The Specifics

What to Expect During Blepharoplasty Recovery

So, what’s it actually like to have your [eyelids]( operated on? Upper or lower, all candidates can expect pain, swelling, and some bruising following these cosmetic surgeries. While actual recovery time varies with procedure invasiveness and your body’s natural healing, one to two weeks is a safe amount of time to assume you’re going to be uncomfortable and not necessarily looking your best.

Another factor that may be relevant depending on your procedure is your reaction to general anesthesia. It is common to feel nauseous, drowsy, and slightly disoriented in the hours following general anesthesia. These side effects usually resolve quickly as your body clears the sedating medications.

The Ultimate Blepharoplasty Recovery Timeline

Ok, time for some nitty gritty. We’ll begin with some ways to utilize your pre-op time to possibly minimize the length of your post-op experience and then we’ll cover the first few days, weeks, and months. Remember, there will be timing variations between procedures, and we’ll note some of these as we move along the timeline.

And one more side note, your plastic surgeon should provide comprehensive pre- and post-op instructions, and you should always defer to the advice of your medical team. This is simply meant to serve as a general guide.

Tips to Improve Your Blepharoplasty Recovery

Now that you know more about the recovery timeline associated with facial plastic eyelid surgery, we’ve got some tips to help you out along your healing journey to make it as efficient and effortless as possible. As we mentioned, every individual heals at their own pace, but there are definitely some universal truths that promote healing.

1. Be Mindful & Be Patient

We’re not trying to be vague here. Your body will let you know what it needs. If you feel like taking it slow one day, do it! If you suddenly have the desire to get some fresh air, go for it (with hat and sunglasses, if appropriate, of course!). The mind-body connection is your best friend and the more you respect it the easier your recovery will be. Patience is the golden rule, so be kind to your body and gently ease yourself back into your routine. Don’t force yourself back into HIIT class or sitting in the office under fluorescent lights.

2. Eat well, sleep well, & stay hydrated

Really this is just good life advice, but, especially during times of increased stress (think: following a plastic surgery), the more you nourish yourself and rest the better. Some of the most beneficial repair hormones only get cycled through the blood during sleep, so like a pro athlete get those eight hours a night. Your eyes (and your entire body) will thank you for it.

Additionally, eating a balanced diet free of processed foods, drinking plenty of water, and reducing caffeine and alcohol will reduce inflammation and lessen swelling more quickly (check out our guide to what to eat before and after cosmetic procedures). Oh, and don’t smoke. Our advice is to never smoke, but it’s particularly vital to abstain after a major surgery.

3. Elevate & Ice

Cold compresses (used appropriately as directed) and keeping your head up (literally and metaphorically) will strategically reduce blood flow to the eye area and lessen the amount of fluid accumulation. While blood does bring all the good nutrients and healing cells, it can also leave large amounts of infection-fighting cells and other materials you don’t really need hanging around. This is why icing for periods of time (i.e. not continuously) creates the best balance of blood flow.

4. Moderate Your Activities

This probably doesn’t need to be said, but, just in case, a few days after your blepharoplasty is not the time to begin a CrossFit training regimen. Vigorous exercise increases blood pressure. Increased blood pressure creates increased swelling. Intense exercise also increases the stress hormone cortisol. While it’s great in moderation when you're healthy, it’s not ideal in the days and weeks following a surgery.

Other activities to avoid or limit: reading a 10,000 word document in size 10 font, sun bathing, and wearing glasses for long periods of time.

Blepharoplasty Side Effects & Complications

So now that we’ve thoroughly reviewed the days and weeks following a blepharoplasty procedure, let’s review what you can definitely expect versus what may or may not occur. Every blepharoplasty patient should expect at least a few days to two weeks of bruising (i.e. a good old fashion black eye) and at least two to four weeks of noticeable swelling. Difficulty focusing, blurred vision, eye pain, dry eyes, and headaches are all common side effects during eyelid surgery recovery that will resolve within a few days to weeks and can be mitigated with medications.

While rare, more serious complications are possible following blepharoplasty. Infections of the eyelid tissues are a possible complication of blepharoplasty and can be treated with antibiotics. Permanent numbness from nerve damage, intractable pain, asymmetry, vision loss, and scarring are more significant complications that may require further surgical revision or be unable to be fixed.

The Takeaway

The healing process following a facial plastic cosmetic surgery like blepharoplasty can seem intimidating. And while we are not minimizing the fact that an eyelid surgery is definitely a significant surgery with considerable risks and side effects, thousands of blepharoplasties are safely performed successfully in the United States each year with patients enjoying life-changing results. Never underestimate the value of a consultation with a blepharoplasty surgeon to more specifically determine what your unique blepharoplasty experience will entail.
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Source List


AEDIT uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Dailey RA, Wobig JL. Eyelid Anatomy PubMed; 1982-12-01
  2. Harry S Hwang The effect of "single" vs "double" eyelids on the perceived attractiveness of Chinese women; 2014-03-03


‘Try on’ aesthetic procedures and instantly visualize possible results with AEDIT and our patented 3D aesthetic simulator.

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