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Senior Citizen's Guide to South Jersey

The Eyes Have It

Do you have extra skin on your upper eyelids that make it difficult for you to see well, and make you look older than you feel? If so, you are probably a candidate for removal of the skin (upper blepharoplasty), and it is probably a procedure that your medical insurance will pay for! The result of the surgery is immediate – you look more awake, you can see more around you, and you look younger and happier.

This procedure is shockingly misunderstood by the general public and even the medical profession – it is thought to be a major procedure with dangerous risks and a difficult and painful recovery, which requires general anesthesia and hospital time. None of these things are true!

In fact, this procedure takes about 30 minutes. I do 90% of these procedures in my office under local anesthesia and the vast majority of patients have minimal discomfort and take no narcotics after the procedure.

It is almost the only procedure in medicine, which makes you, look better, feel better, and function better that is paid for by insurance. For these reasons, I tell my patients, “It is the best operation we do in plastic surgery – low risk, high reward, and easy recovery”.

The first step is to come in for a consultation. Next, photographs will be taken to confirm to your insurance company that you have “visual field obstruction”. Your doctor will order a “visual field examination” done by an eye practitioner that shows if your upper visual fields are blocked by your excess skin. If possible, the procedure will be pre-approved with your insurance company.

You will next receive lots of information about the procedure to help you decide if you want to proceed. If you choose to have the procedure, your doctor will meet with you again to discuss your questions, write any prescriptions you might need, and discuss the dos and don’ts for before and after the procedure.

If your desire is to be asleep for the procedure, you will need to go to a hospital or surgery center and have to fast overnight before the operation. On the day of the operation, the surgeon will mark the skin, place some local anesthesia into the excess skin, cleanse and sterilize the skin, remove the excess, then suture up the defect. They will then place some antibiotic ointment on the incision. There are no bandages; just place some ice compresses on your eyelids the first day.

Expect to look very bruised for several days afterwards. Sutures will come out in 4 to 7 days. Some patients don’t even take off from work. As with any technical procedures, good training, excellent judgment, high skill level, and lots of experience are keys to predictable results. Choose a surgeon carefully!

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