Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Eyelid surgery recovery process, tips & photos

In this post, we will explain the blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) recovery process, post-surgery instructions and tips to help you get all the information related to surgery.

What is blepharoplasty?

Blepharoplasty also known as eyelid surgery is one of the most common cosmetic facial procedures. In Korea, it is named double eyelid surgery and every clinic has a different name for it depending on their surgery method (skinny eyelid surgery, 7-lock eyelid surgery etc.) 

Since it is known popularly as double eyelid surgery in Korea, people think this surgery is mostly for people who want to create an eyelid crease. 

Contrary to popular belief, it is a surgery that anyone can get. The eyelid surgery is used to define the eyelid crease, or create a new eyelid crease. 

Two types of stitches are used, dissolvable stitches that do not need to be removed and those that need to be removed 7 days after surgery.  

Surgery methods

The surgery method is determined by your eye shapes, eye muscles, skin, fat etc. the surgeon will analyze these factors and recommend either an incision or non-incision method for eyelid surgery.  

Incision eyelid surgery method

Although many patients want to avoid getting scars, the incision method is usually the preferred method if you have asymmetry, excess skin, muscles or fat. An incision is made, and excess skin and fat are removed, then it is stitched to create the new eyelid crease.

This surgery is also suitable for those who already have eyelid crease but due to the excess saggy skin, there is more than one eyelid crease line.  

Incision Eyelid Surgery

Non incision eyelid surgery method

For the non-incision eyelid surgery, 7 points on the eyelid are sewn together to create a more defined eyelid crease. 

For this surgery method, patients who already have an eyelid crease but want to make it more defined and do not have excess skin or fat, are the best candidates for surgery. 

Non-incision Eyelid Surgery


Common misconceptions about eyelid surgery

Eye size: People think that this surgery will make their eyes bigger, but this surgery is for anyone who wants to define their eyelid shape. For people with “monolids”, their eyes tend to look bigger with this surgery once the eyelids are defined. 

Scars: The surgeon skillfully hides the scars on the eye crease so it will be hidden however depending on your body and how you heal, the level of scars varies.

Aging: You do not need to do this surgery more than once. Surgery results are pretty long-lasting, but when aging will occur additional surgeries like brow lift may or may not be required to fix the eyebrow area drooping.  

Eyelid surgery recovery process

It is good idea to be aware of the things you need to prepare before surgery so the recovery process does not overwhelm you. Being prepared in advance will allow you to relax and focus on healing. 

Swelling and bruising differs from person to person so do not focus too much on the swelling, within a week or two, major swelling should reduce.  

Things to avoid before surgery

AVOID blood thinners like Aspirin, NSAIDs, Ipobrufen, Advil etc. and excessive amounts of natural blood thinners like turmeric, ginger or cinnamon.

Blood thinners increase the risk of bleeding during surgery so they have to be avoided for 7-10 days before surgery. If you are not sure, please make sure to ask the hospital/clinic where you will have surgery if you can have those medicines or not.

You should not have alcohol or smoke for 1-2 weeks before surgery and 1-3 months after surgery. They increase the chances of getting an infection and hinder the recovery process.
Coffee can be avoided for the first week after surgery as it is dehydrating, and you need to stay hydrated to heal faster.

Do not get nail art done before surgery since it will have to be removed for surgery. It is better to get your nails done after surgery.


Eyelid surgery post-surgery instructions to follow

  1. Do not touch or irritate your eyes. Avoid rubbing your eyes.
  3. The prescribed antibiotic ointment is used twice daily. Apply it with a Q-tip and spread over the eyelid area (method will be shown to you before leaving the clinic)
  5. Do not forget to use the artificial tear drops to prevent dry eyes. You may think you do not need it, but still use it as instructed.
  7. The sleeping position is very important. Your head has to be above your chest, so stack your pillows and sleep at 30-45° elevation.
  9. Use an ice pack for the first three days after surgery (follow given instructions) as this will help to reduce the swelling and bruising on your face. From the fourth day, apply warm pack as needed. Test the ice pack/warm pack on your hand before putting it on your face and make sure to cover your eyes before placing the ice pack/ warm pack.
  11. After two to three days, light walking is recommended to increase the circulation. However, intense exercise, running or lifting heavy objects should be avoided. You can resume your exercise after 2 weeks but avoid any activities that require you to bend over.
  13. Use sunglasses to cover your eyes. If you got rhinoplasty together then use a hat to cover your face and cover your eyes from the elements.
  15. Pain medication and antibiotics are taken thrice daily. NEVER have your medications on an empty stomach. These are strong medications and they may cause nausea or other symptoms if eaten on an empty stomach.
  17. You can take a shower but you have to avoid getting your eyes wet. Use a wet tissue, or wet wipe to wash your face, and keep your eyes dry at all times
  19. Makeup is controversial. Though you can wear makeup after the stitches are removed, you shouldn’t rub your eyes for 4 weeks. The type of eye makeup you use should wiped off gently, so avoid anything waterproof or heavy eye makeup for 4 weeks.
  21. No contact lenses for a month post-surgery.
  23. Do not go to the sauna or steam room for a month after surgery.

Eyelid surgery recovery timeline process with photos

With blepharoplasty, pain is usually not an issue, but there is slight discomfort as the eyes are healing. You may experience symptoms like mild pain, blurred vision, itchiness, tightness or dry eyes etc, these are common and will reduce as you heal. Avoid contact with the eyes at all costs. 

The stitches are removed a week after surgery and you can get back to work within 7-10 days.  

Before surgery

If you came alone to Korea, then prepare yourself to stay in for 2-3 days. Prepare water, food, comfortable clothes and any other necessities in your hotel room before going for surgery. Convenience stores are open 24/7 so you do not need to worry about buying food items or drinks.  

Surgery Day

Dress up comfortably when going for your surgery. Remove all metallic accessories, pins, hair extensions, nail polish or gel nails (hands and toes). 

 The surgery takes 1.5 - 2 hours (anesthesia waking time included) and is performed under local anesthesia with sedation.

 After surgery, you will wait in the recovery area, then you can change to your clothes and go back to your hotel. 

Follow all the post-op instructions (using ointment, artificial tears, ice pack etc.)  

During the First week (Eyelid surgery)

The swelling increases on the second day after surgery and then slowly starts to reduce.  

1 week after

After the stitches are removed, most of the swelling should be gone. You should not feel any discomfort.  

1-3 months after

At this point, all swelling will be gone and the eyes will look normal.


6 months to a year

At this point, the eyes looks so natural, no one can tell you have had surgery!  

Tips to help you quickly recover from eyelids surgery 

  1. Smoking and alcohol – stop 1-2 weeks before and 1-3 months after. Healing time is longer for smokers so the longer you can avoid smoking, the better you will heal.
  3. Avoid any activity that makes the blood rush to your eye area, bending over, lifting objects 1 month
  5. Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated
  7. Eat healthy foods that are beneficial for healing and stay away from greasy, salted spicy foods for 1-2 days after surgery. Avoid salty, greasy, spicy foods for a few days to help your body heal faster.
  9. Manage your stress level and maintain a positive outlook to get the best results and quick recovery

Eyelid surgery is NOT recommended for you if… 

eyelid surgery

You have sultry almond shaped eyes…the eye shape will change completely with surgery so if you want to keep the same eye shape, then this surgery is not for you.   

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