Eyelid surgery risks and complications
What are the main eyelid surgery risks and complications?
All kinds of surgical procedures carry a potential for complications to occur. Therefore, before you decide to go ahead with surgery you should educate yourself on the main eyelid surgery risks. Our BAAPS/BAPRAS surgeons advise that you spend two weeks after your initial consultation considering these risks before you decide to have your treatment. Only once you are aware of the risks can you give your fully informed consent.
Although complications arising from surgery are rare, there is a small chance that they may occur. The potential risks and complications include:
Blurred vision is common after surgery and may occur due to dry, watery eyes or swelling of the eyelids. If this were to occur it, it is often temporary and should resolve in around a month.
This is a rare complication after blepharoplasty. This happens when the muscles that move the eye are injured. Alternatively, it may also happen when the fat surrounding the muscle become scarred. This is often temporary but there is a risk that it may become permanent. If the double vision becomes permanent, you may need to have further surgery to correct it.
Loss of vision
A total loss of vision after eyelid surgery is a very rare complication. It may occur when there is a large amount of bleeding around the eye that creates enough pressure to cut off the blood or nerve supply to the eye. This would present with intense pain, double vision and sudden bulging forward of the eye. If you experience these symptoms it is critical that you seek medical attention as it may require further surgery.
Following surgery, tiny white bumps (known as milia) may form along the incision line. These usually resolve within a couple of weeks. You may also develop small fluid-filled sacs called cysts. These also can resolve by themselves, but if these small cysts bother you, your surgeon can remove them in a quick simple procedure.
There is a risk that your wound may become infected after your procedure. However, infections are often minor and not very serious. If you develop an infection, you may notice the following symptoms:
- A temperature over 38° C
- Increasing redness or swelling around the wound
- Yellow and foul-smelling pus oozing from the wound
- An increase in pain and discomfort, that your painkillers cannot control.
Most infections are mild and will resolve after a short course of antibiotics. It is however, to get infections treated quickly as they can spread and become more serious.
As your surgeon needs to make an incision during your blepharoplasty, the procedure will always leave a scar. The scars, however, tend to be minimal and well-hidden. The extent of the scar will depend on the technique your surgeon uses and the ability of your skin to heal. Some patients experience some more severe forms of scarring such as hypertrophic or keloid scars. It is important to let your surgeon know if you have any of these types of scars in the past.
Bleeding during the procedure may result in bruising around the eye. Rarely, there can be a large amount of bleeding which may affect your vision. This would require immediate medical attention and may need another operation.
Removal of too much skin
Sometimes your surgeon may remove too much skin in the operation. This may result in:
- Lagophthalmos – the inability to close your eyes completely.
- Ectropion – the lower eyelid drooping away from the eye and turning outwards.
- Eyelid retraction – the lower eyelid being pulled down.
You can avoid complications such as these by choosing a highly qualified and skilled BAAPS/BAPRAS surgeon.
There is always a risk that you are unhappy with the final result of surgery and the look of your eyelids. Therefore, we advise that all patients choose their surgeons very carefully. Being honest about all of your expectations and desires from surgery will help you achieve the results you want.
General surgical complications
All the different kinds of surgical procedures carry some common general risks. Everyone involved in your care will do all they can to reduce the risk of any of these occurring. These general risks can include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Reaction to your anaesthetic
- Blood clots in the legs and lungs
- Post-operative pain.
If you have had an operation in the past and been affected by any of the above it is vital that you tell your surgeon. This way they can take extra measures to prevent them from happening again. Carefully following your surgeon’s aftercare advice will also help reduce the chance of any eyelid surgery risks and complications from occurring.