William Portuese MD

A Complete Guide To Eyelid Surgery


blepharoplasty centerOnce the blepharoplasty surgery has been completed, patients are taken to the recovery room, where they stay for approximately one hour. Vital signs are monitored and observed closely by the anesthesiologist and our attending registered nurses. Patients feel a bit drowsy while they are in the recovery room, but that soon dissipates. Patients are typically discharged to home in the care of a responsible adult who drives them home and helps them through their postoperative recovery and convalescence. There is usually little to no pain following a blepharoplasty, but some patients complain of a mild burning sensation or headache in the first day or so after their surgery. The patient’s eyes will be quite tired in the postoperative phase for the first week, so trying to read can be difficult.


Some patients can have nausea and vomiting in the recovery room or at home after their eyelid surgery. This can be the result of the anesthesia or the narcotic pain pills. These are the two most common reasons that cause nausea and vomiting in the postoperative period. For this, Dr. Portuese gives anti-nausea medication during the time of the surgery to help prevent any further postoperative nausea and vomiting. Occasionally, patients will need additional pills in the postoperative phase within the first day. Occasionally, patients complain of a sore throat and dry mouth, which is related to the anesthesia. Once patients are awake and resting in the recovery room, they are discharged to home in stable condition with their responsible caretaker.


For the first week or two, it is very common for the eyes to be tired. It takes approximately two weeks for the majority of the bruising and swelling to subside in the postoperative phase. There is usually still some mild residual swelling and bruising around the eyelids, even after two weeks, but this can be camouflaged with makeup. Full healing takes approximately two to three months for the final result. After blepharoplasty surgery, patients tend to feel more energetic and their eyes look better. After leaving the Seattle Eyelid and Blepharoplasty Surgery Center, patients will begin their recovery at home in a stress-free comfortable environment. Most patients feel well enough to resume normal activities within two weeks after their surgery, including exercising and going back to school or work. The postoperative instructions are designed with patients in mind to help minimize any complications; swelling, pain, and/or discomfort in the postoperative recovery healing phase. The instructions are given to the responsible caretaker and are reviewed with them in the recovery room prior to the discharge.


The following is a list of post operative instructions that help patients through their convalescence. Postoperative instructions are given to emphasize protection of the eyelids while they heal for the first month after the surgery. Avoid hitting, contact sports, rubbing, and bumping the eyelids, which might necessitate additional surgery. With respect to cleaning the eyelids, patients are able to use soap and water within two to three days after the surgery, and it is acceptable to get the incisions wet with normal soap and water. All crusts can be cleaned off with normal saline. It is important not to pick at the incisions or the glue on the lower eyelids because the incision could open up and/or the eyelashes could be accidentally removed. In the postoperative phase, in order to minimize swelling, most patients are instructed to keep their head elevated above their heart on extra pillows. This is only a suggestion and not imperative to help bring the swelling down faster. It is important not to do heavy lifting or exercise or anything else to raise the heart rate or blood pressure for at least two weeks. These activities can cause additional swelling and bruising. Dr. William Portuese does not want patients to use any ice, gauze pads, frozen peas, or cold compresses around the eyes. After the first week post surgery, most patients are able to start wearing contacts, but for the first week to 10 days, patients need to wear glasses only.

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