Ptosis (“droopy eyelids”) is the medical term for dropping of the upper eyelids. As you age, one of the first places that you’ll start to notice a change in your appearance is in your eyes. The muscles supporting your eyelids begin to weaken, and the lowering of your upper eyelid may cause a reduction in your field of vision and difficulty in keeping your eyelids open. It is possible to have asymmetric ptosis of the two upper eyelids, where one eyelid has ptosis and the other does not, or the eyelids have varying degrees of ptosis.
This condition and the corrective surgery differs from an upper blepharoplasty in that ptosis occurs when the eyelid sags down in front of the colored iris. An upper blepharoplasty is when there is excess skin above the eye, even if that skin doesn’t sag down in front of the iris. After ptosis surgery, you will be able to see more of the eye and iris.
The results from your ptosis surgery can be life changing, helping you feel not only more confident in the way you look, but also in how you interact with others. Your field of vision and ability to see the world around you will be better than it has been in years.
Selecting the right cosmetic surgeon is a choice that you live with for years, if not your entire life. A successful procedure will make you feel more like yourself and give you greater confidence for years to come. On the other hand, selecting the wrong surgeon increases your chances of having poor results, which can lead to additional costs, time, and heartache.
When choosing your surgeon, there are a few key points to keep in mind:
Ptosis surgery is typically performed using only local anesthesia in Dr. Liu’s procedure room or may be performed at an off-site surgery center for additional sedation. Only in very rare cases would general anesthesia be used.
It is difficult to provide pricing before a patient has had a consultation with Dr. Liu. The cost of a procedure can vary depending on what a patient needs and what the surgery will entail. More importantly, 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.
Ptosis can be corrected surgically and usually involves tightening the levator or Mueller’s muscle to elevate the eyelid. Depending on the strength and response of these two muscles, Dr. Liu will determine the best form of correction for you. An incision will either be made through skin at the level of the lid crease or on the backside of the eyelid, which will not be visible on the skin. The appropriate muscle will be tightened with attention to optimizing contour and symmetry of the eyelids.
Once Dr. Liu has achieved the desired height and reshaping of your eyelids, she places sutures to smooth and reconfigure your eyelids. The sutures are finer than a human hair and will dissolve or be removed at 5-7 days after surgery.
Ptosis surgery typically takes about 1 – 2 hours from start to finish.
Depending on the type of ptosis surgery, there may be scars on the inside of your eyelid, in the natural crease of your eyelid, or above your brow that may not be visible after you have fully healed. Non-specialized surgeons typically have results with more visible scarring.
Ptosis surgery is generally a very safe procedure. When considering any surgery, 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 surgery carries some risks, even when performed by the most highly trained surgeon and at the best facilities. Below are some of the more common risks associated with ptosis surgery:
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 surgery. Certain severe 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 of eyelid surgery and any associated risks can be dramatically reduced.
Surgery should be scheduled for a time when you can relax for at least 1-2 weeks. It is important to avoid any strenuous activity, heavy lifting, or bending down during this time to avoid complications and to promote the best healing. It is also important to avoid taking any blood thinning medications around the time of surgery. If you are on a blood thinning medication due to a specific medical condition, you will need to discuss this with Dr. Liu and your primary care physician prior to stopping any medication. Dr. Liu’s staff will review a list of common medications, supplements and vitamins that can cause your blood to be thinner.
Please note that Dr. Liu expects to see patients back in the office a few days after a procedure to ensure that the healing process is going as expected and that you are on track for a good result. Do not plan any travel immediately after your procedure.