Blepharoplasty: how to get rid of droopy eyelids

Written by: Mr Ahid Abood
Published: | Updated: 17/01/2020
Edited by: Laura Burgess

Blepharoplasty (or eye lift) is a surgical procedure that aims to rejuvenate the appearance of the upper and lower eyelids. It reduces bagginess from lower eyelids and removes excess skin from the upper lids, which often droops as we age. Here, one of our top plastic surgeons Mr Ahid Abood explains how effective the surgical procedure is and whether it improves wrinkles and dark circles under the eyes.

What is blepharoplasty?

With the upper eyelids, the main component of the surgery is to remove excess skin but often a small amount of muscle is removed and occasionally with some underlying fat, in order to optimise the outcome. With the lower eyelids, the appearance of ‘bags’ is more to do with bulging fat, rather than excess skin and therefore the aim is to remove or redistribute this fat and, in doing so, reduce the appearance of bags.

How effective is blepharoplasty and is there any risk?

Patients are usually very happy with the outcome of blepharoplasty. This tends to be particularly so for upper eyelid blepharoplasty. It is a procedure that can really transform the appearance of tired-looking eyes.

As with any procedure, there is an associated risk. These risks can range from dry, itchy eyes in the post-operative period to the extremely rare complication of blindness. Across the spectrum of all different types of surgery, blepharoplasty is definitely at the lower end of risk.

Will blepharoplasty get rid of wrinkles?

Blepharoplasty will remove excess skin, which contributes to a wrinkled appearance and therefore restores a more youthful appearance. If you have significant wrinkles in the ‘crow’s feet’ area of the eyes then a blepharoplasty will not have much impact upon these.

Can eyelid surgery without stitches be performed and is it more effective?

Eyelid surgery is nearly always carried out with stitches. These stitches will either be placed underneath the surface of the skin or on the outside of the skin depending upon your surgeon’s preference. You should discuss beforehand with your surgeon what your preference is. When I carry out blepharoplasty, I tend to use stitches placed superficially in the skin which is then removed in my clinic a few days after surgery.

Can blepharoplasty get rid of dark circles?

The appearance of dark circles can be contributed to by a number of factors. Frequently, this appearance is caused by a hollow appearance in the lower eyelid due to a loss of volume in an area. Redistributing fat during a lower eyelid blepharoplasty or injecting volume into this area, in selected cases, can improve the appearance of these dark circles.

How long does it take to recover from a blepharoplasty?

Most of the recovery following surgery relates to the inevitable swelling and bruising. Of course, everyone is different but on average most of this swelling and bruising has resolved by two weeks.

Surgery can be carried out under a local anaesthetic or general anaesthetic depending upon yours and your surgeon’s preference which will also have an effect upon recovery time too. Most of my patients have their surgery under a local anaesthetic, which in my opinion seems to result in a quicker recovery and less intrusion into everyday life.


Are you considering having a brow lift? Book an appointment with Mr Abood now for a first consultation.

By Mr Ahid Abood
Plastic surgery

Mr Ahid Abood is a highly esteemed consultant plastic, reconstructive and cosmetic surgeon with private clinics at 9 Harley Street, London,  Spire Lea Cambridge and Nuffield Health Cambridge. His areas of expertise include abdominoplasty, breast surgery, breast augmentation, blepharoplasty, breast reduction surgery and breast lifts.

After graduating from Cambridge University, Mr Abood trained extensively in all aspects of plastic surgery in the UK and internationally. He spent a year as a microsurgical fellow at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Australia and a further year as a microsurgical fellow at St. Andrews, Broomfield, Essex. He was also the Nagor Aesthetic fellow at the McIndoe Surgical Centre, East Grinstead, one of the few recognised training fellowships in cosmetic surgery in the UK. During his surgical training, Mr Abood also undertook research into the treatment of skin cancer for which he was awarded an MSc distinction from UCL. He also has a postgraduate certification in medical education and is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy.  

Mr Abood was appointed to his current NHS role back in 2014 and is currently the clinical lead for complex reconstruction following major trauma. Within the NHS he specialises in reconstructive surgery with a sub-speciality interest in microsurgical reconstruction. He also treats skin cancer, which includes the treatment of malignant melanoma for which he offers sentinel lymph node biopsy.  He was the speciality lead for Audit & Governance at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge and the divisional lead for Audit. Addenbrooke’s Hospital is part of the world-renowned Biomedical Campus. He is also an integral member of the Bone Infection Unit, which is a tertiary referral service to treat those with osteomyelitis. 

He also dedicates time to teaching trainee plastic surgeons and helped to establish the Wexham Park FRCS (Plast) exam course. He has also taught the Cambridge "lower limb flap course" and Mid Yorkshire "plastic surgery skills course". He has also produced, directed and edited "My New Ear" which aired on ABC news. 

Mr Abood has published thirty academic manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals and has written a number of book chapters. He is an honorary research associate at The National Medial Laser Institute and is a member of The British Association of Plastic Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgeons and the Royal College of Surgeons. 

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