What You Need to Know About Eyelid Lift Surgery in 2023 (As Told by a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon)

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Dr. Darren Smith is a New York City-based board certified plastic surgeon. He is one of only a handful in the nation to have advanced fellowship training in both aesthetic surgery and craniofacial surgery. He brings his deep experience in eyelid aesthetics and anatomy to the evaluation and treatment of each patient that desires facial rejuvenation with eyelid lift surgery. He has prepared this guide to answer some common questions about this popular procedure.

How does eyelid lift surgery work?

Eyelid lift surgery, also known as blepharoplasty, is a cosmetic procedure that rejuvenates the appearance of the upper and/or lower eyelids by removing or repositioning excess or drooping skin, fat, and muscle. The surgery can effectively address issues such as drooping eyelids, puffiness, and wrinkles, resulting in a more youthful and refreshed appearance. The procedure can be done on the upper eyelids, lower eyelids, or both.

The process begins by meeting with Dr. Darren Smith to discuss your specific concerns, desired outcomes, and any potential risks or complications. Having advanced fellowship training in aesthetic surgery and craniofacial surgery, Dr. Smith has deep experience with eyelid lift surgery. On the day of the surgery, you will be given either local or general anesthesia to ensure comfort and safety throughout the procedure.

Depending on the targeted area (upper or lower eyelids), the surgeon will make carefully placed incisions. For upper eyelid surgery, the incision is typically made within the natural crease of the eyelid, making it less visible. In the case of lower eyelid surgery, the incision is usually made just below the lash line or on the inside of the eyelid, which also helps to minimize visible scarring. Dr. Smith then removes or repositions excess skin, fat, and muscle to achieve the desired eyelid contour. In some cases, the surgeon may also tighten the surrounding muscles and tissues to provide additional support and enhance the overall outcome. The incisions are then closed with fine sutures (or often left to heal on their own if inside the eyelid).

How painful is eyelid lift surgery?

Eyelid lift surgery is not considered to be a painful procedure. While individual pain tolerance and experiences may vary, Dr. Smith will design a customized pain control plan with you during your consultation.During the procedure, you will have either local anesthesia, IV sedation (“twilight” anesthesia), or general anesthesia, so you should not have any pain at all aside from a quick pinch when the numbing medicine is given as part of an awake procedure. Immediately after eyelid lift surgery, as the anesthesia begins to wear off, patients may experience mild to moderate discomfort in the treated area. This pain is usually manageable with over-the-counter pain medications or prescription medications provided by Dr. Smith. As healing progresses, the eyelids may feel sore, itchy, and tight. These sensations are common and can be alleviated with the help of cold compresses and proper care. Most patients find that their pain diminishes significantly within a week of surgery.

How long is the recovery from upper eyelid surgery?

Dr. Smith generally advises his patients to be up and walking immediately after the procedure. It is reasonable to work from home nearly immediately. Due to swelling and bruising, most will not want to return to the office for about 5 days. We like our patients to avoid strenuous activity or heavy lifting (anything that can raise your heart rate or blood pressure) for two weeks after the procedure.

Is eyelid lift surgery worth it?

Whether or not eyelid lift surgery is worth it depends on various factors, including your concerns, expectations, and overall health. While this is ultimately a personal decision, we can consider the benefits, potential risks, and alternatives to help you make the decision.

Some benefits of eyelid lift surgery include improved appearance, better vision, and long-term results compared to alternatives. These procedures can correct drooping or puffy eyelids giving the eyes a more youthful and refreshed appearance, enhancing self-confidence and overall satisfaction with one’s appearance. Excessive eyelid skin or muscle laxity can obstruct vision. By removing the excess skin and tightening the muscle as necessary, a blepharoplasty can improve vision for those who experience this issue. The results of an eyelid lift surgery are long-lasting, often remaining effective for 10 to 15 years or more.

Eyelid surgery is extremely safe, however every surgical procedure does have risks. While rare, possible risks include infection, unfavorable scarring, an asymmetric result, dry eyes, or visual changes. Again, all of these occurrences are extremely unusual. Dr. Smith will review in detail with you during your consultation.

Alternatives to eyelid surgery include non-surgical treatments such as dermal fillers, Botox, or chemical peels, which can help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes. They generally cannot achieve the same degree of improvement as eyelid lift surgery, but can be reasonable options for those who cannot or do not wish to have surgery. Minimally invasive procedures, like AccuTite, may be an appropriate compromise between non-surgical treatments and blepharoplasty for carefully selected patients. Lifestyle changes can also contribute to a more youthful appearance. Examples include getting enough sleep, maintaining a balanced diet, and using sunscreen.

What is the best age for eyelid lift surgery?

The best age for eyelid lift surgery, also known as blepharoplasty, can vary greatly depending on individual factors, such as genetics, lifestyle, and personal preferences.There is no specific age that is the “best” for everyone. Instead, this is a highly individualized decision that depends on each person’s unique circumstances, motivations, and goals when considering eyelid lift surgery.

Generally, candidates for blepharoplasty start considering the procedure in their late 30s, 40s or 50s when they begin to notice significant signs of aging around the eyes, such as sagging skin, drooping eyelids, or bags under the eyes. However, certain factors can influence a person’s decision to undergo this surgery earlier or later in life. Genetics: Some individuals may have a hereditary predisposition to develop sagging or drooping eyelids, which may lead them to consider eyelid lift surgery at a younger age. For instance, if a person in their 30s already experiences noticeable sagging in the upper eyelid, it may be appropriate for them to undergo the surgery at that time. Lifestyle: Factors such as sun exposure, smoking, or high levels of stress can contribute to premature aging of the skin, including around the eyes. In such cases, a person might opt for eyelid lift surgery at an earlier age to address these issues and maintain a more youthful appearance. Personal preferences and motivations: Ultimately, the decision to undergo blepharoplasty is a personal one. Some patients may prioritize addressing their aging-related concerns as soon as they become noticeable, while others may wait until the signs of aging have become more pronounced.

Who is not a good candidate for blepharoplasty?

While eyelid lift surgery can be a great way to achieve a brightened, refreshed appearance, it is not right for everyone. Some factors that might make someone a less than ideal candidate for blepharoplasty are discussed here. Individuals with certain medical conditions, such as uncontrolled high blood pressure, bleeding disorders, and cardiovascular diseases, may face a higher risk of complications during and after the surgery. Additionally, people with severe dry eye syndrome or those with insufficient tear production may not be suitable candidates, as the surgery can exacerbate these conditions. A good candidate for blepharoplasty should have realistic expectations about the outcomes of the surgery. Dr. Smith can help you understand what you can expect to achieve with this procedure during your consultation. Blepharoplasty requires proper care and hygiene practices after the surgery to avoid complications such as infection, poor healing, and scarring. A person who is unwilling or unable to follow post-operative care instructions may not be a suitable candidate. Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can hinder the healing process and increase the risk of complications. A good candidate for blepharoplasty should ideally be a non-smoker or willing to quit smoking for a certain period before and after the surgery. Similarly, they should be able to refrain from excessive alcohol consumption during the healing process. Previous eyelid surgeries: Individuals who have had multiple previous eyelid surgeries may not be suitable candidates for blepharoplasty, as the risk of complications and unsatisfactory results increases with each subsequent surgery.


Eyelid lift surgery, also known as blepharoplasty, is a cosmetic procedure that rejuvenates the appearance of the upper and/or lower eyelids by removing or repositioning excess or drooping skin, fat, and muscle. The surgery can effectively address issues such as drooping eyelids, puffiness, and wrinkles, resulting in a more youthful and rested appearance. Dr. Darren Smith is an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon who will design a customized eyelid lift surgery plan to deliver a natural result that will leave you looking vibrant and refreshed.