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As we age, the upper eyelid skin stretches and the muscles weaken, causing the excess skin and muscle to gather in the upper eyelids. It is often accompanied by drooping of the eyebrows and occasionally by ptosis, a lower upper eyelid margin.  As the eyebrow/eyelid complex ages, there is a gradual crowding of the eyes. As it becomes more advanced, it can affect one’s vision. In those cases, insurance may cover the cost of the procedure.

The goal of upper blepharoplasty at the UNC Center for Facial Aesthetics is to restore the upper eyelid to a more youthful but natural facial appearance, and avoids the “surprised” appearance some eyebrow/eyelid surgeries can produce.

How is upper blepharoplasty performed?

Upper eyelid blepharoplasty is performed in the office procedure suite under oral sedation, usually Valium (diazepam), and local anesthesia. The excess upper eyelid skin, some excess muscle, and occasionally a small amount of excess fat is removed. A row of very small sutures is placed in the upper eyelid crease. The procedure generally takes about an hour to perform and requires no narcotic pain medicine.

If ptosis repair is performed, the ptosis repair and upper blepharoplasty are performed at the same time.

Suture Knot Externalization Modification of the Fasanella-Servat Technique for Involutional Ptosis

What are the possible side effects of upper eyelid blepharoplasty?

Similar to any surgery, bleeding and infection are risks but these are very low ( less than 10%). Asymmetry of the eyelids (requiring revision) and worsening of dry eye complaints are additional low risks upper eyelid blepharoplasty.

In any surgery around the eye, an extremely rare complication that must be considered is loss of vision, however, this risk is far less than 1%. This complication is why any eyelid surgeon should be very familiar with the complex anatomy of the eyelid. Patients frequently have bruising and swelling after surgery which gradually subsides over a few days to a few weeks after surgery.


If you would like to schedule a consultation at the UNC Center for Facial Aesthetics, please call 984-974-2255 to make an appointment.