A chalazion (also known as a stye or hordeolum) is a bump that forms on the eyelid after blockage of a meibomian gland opening which causes the backup of oil and ensuing inflammation. When a chalazion, stye, or hordeolum first forms, there can be swelling and tenderness of the involved eyelid and even of the face. The chalazion itself is not dangerous but if not treated promptly can cause surrounding infection and changes in vision.
Chalazia typically resolve with several weeks of lid margin scrubs and warm compresses, however, if these treatments are ineffective the chalazion may require injections or surgical management. A revolutionary new treatment option is Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) technology which uses broad band light to reduce inflammation and improve the function of the meibomian glands. This new treatment option for chalazia is the first one to become available in over 40 years and does not involve the use of needles or blades.
Selecting the right surgeon for chalazion removal is very important. When dealing with any problem near the eye, you need to see a physician trained as an ophthalmologist. Many doctors are not comfortable working in that area because of the specialized anatomy and will refer you to an ophthalmologist anyway. Additionally, because this is an extraocular procedure (outside of the eye) as opposed to an intraocular procedure (inside of the eye), the best choice for any eyelid procedure is an oculoplastic surgeon (also known as an ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgeon).
A well-trained oculoplastic surgeon can combine their knowledge of the eye with the artistic expertise of a plastic surgeon. You need a doctor that can ensure that the procedure is done correctly, but also won’t leave an unsightly scar near your eyes. Dr. Liu is an oculoplastic surgeon and has completed an ASOPRS fellowship, making her one of the most highly qualified oculoplastic surgeons in North America.
Anesthesia is not usually needed for a chalazion injection or IPL treatment. Chalazion excision is typically performed using only local anesthesia in Dr. Liu’s procedure room.
It is difficult to provide pricing before a patient has had a consultation with Dr. Liu. The cost of a procedure varies depending on what a patient needs and what the procedure will entail. Many patients come to Dr. Liu believing that they need a certain procedure, only to find out during the consultation that a different procedure will provide a better outcome.
If IPL is selected as the treatment modality, a hand-held applicator is used to deliver a strategic level of light pulses to the skin surface across the cheeks, nose, and eyelids to help unclog the meibomian glands without making any cuts in the skin. If an injection is selected as the treatment modality, a combination of an anti-metabolite and steroid is placed into the chalazion to help the body absorb it faster.
If a surgical removal is needed, topical eye drops and a local injection provide anesthesia to the eyelid area. A chalazion clamp is applied to the affected area to help evert and stabilize the eyelid during the procedure. A posterior incision (on the inside of the eyelid), excision of the posterior cyst-like wall, and curettage of the involved area is performed as an office procedure. Less frequently, an anterior incision is made through the skin if the lesion is “pointing” through the skin. If the skin overlying a chalazion has become thin and damaged due to chronic inflammation, then suture wound repair is occasionally indicated. Eye patches are not typically needed, however ice packs should be applied the first few days following the procedure and then warm compresses can be used.
Chalazion removal typically takes about 30 minutes from start to finish.
Chalazion removal should not leave a visible scar after healing since either no incisions are made or the incision is typically hidden on the inside of the eyelid. Non-specialized surgeons may have results with more visible scarring.
Chalazion removal is generally a very safe procedure. When considering any eyelid procedure, it is important to inform your surgeon of any abnormalities of your eyes, vision, or your general medical health.
It is important to remember that while all procedures carry some risk, even when performed by the most highly trained surgeons and at the best facilities. Below are some of the more common risks associated with eyelid procedures:
The likelihood of serious complications arising from the procedure is typically influenced by both the surgeon’s skill as well as the patient’s individual response to the eyelid procedure. More serious risks or complications can be avoided by cooperating fully and completely following your surgeon’s instructions. With patience, a willingness to cooperate, and a qualified surgeon, the complications from an eyelid procedure and any associated risks can be dramatically reduced.