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Post-Operative Instructions

General care

  • You must have someone drive you home after surgery and spend the first night with you following surgery.
  • Rest. You have had major surgery.
  • Sleep on your back with your head and shoulders elevated on two pillows for 72 hours.
  • You may shower and wash your hair the next day with your head and back to the shower.

Incision care

  • Apply ice or frozen peas to your eyelids. This will reduce swelling and increase comfort. Apply for 15 minutes every hour for the first 2-3 days while awake. Always keep a dry washcloth between ice and skin.
  • Use bacitracin ointment on incision lines two or three times a day until the sutures are removed.
  • Use natural tears to wash your eyes. This will help keep the ointment out of them.

Possible complications

  • Minor complications that occasionally follow blepharoplasty include double or blurred vision for a few days; temporary swelling at the corner of the eyelids; and a slight asymmetry in healing or scarring. Tiny whiteheads may appear after your stitches are taken out; your surgeon can remove them easily with a very fine needle.
  • Some patients may experience dryness or itchiness of the eyes, which may be caused by failure of the eyelids to completely close during the healing process. This can be treated with eye drops and ointment. People who have dry eyes before surgery are at a greater risk for this condition.
  • Following surgery, some patients may have difficulty closing their eyes when they sleep; in rare cases this condition may be permanent. Another very rare complication is ectropion, a pulling down of the lower lids. In this case, further surgery may be required.

After surgery

  • After surgery, the surgeon will probably lubricate your eyes with ointment and may apply a bandage. Your eyelids may feel tight and sore as the anesthesia wears off, but you can control any discomfort with the pain medication prescribed by your surgeon. If you feel any severe pain, call your surgeon immediately.
  • Your surgeon will instruct you to keep your head elevated for several days, and to use cold compresses to reduce swelling and bruising. (Bruising varies from person to person: it reaches its peak during the first week, and generally lasts anywhere from two weeks to a month.) You'll be shown how to clean your eyes, which may be gummy for a week or so. Many doctors recommend eye drops, since your eyelids may feel dry at first and your eyes may burn or itch. For the first few weeks you may also experience excessive tearing, sensitivity to light, and temporary changes in your eyesight, such as blurring or double vision.
  • Your surgeon will follow your progress very closely for the first week or two. The stitches will be removed two days to a week after surgery. Afterward, the swelling and discoloration around your eyes will gradually subside, and you'll start to look and feel much better.

The recovery period

  • You should be able to read or watch television after two or three days. However, you won't be able to wear contact lenses for about two weeks, and even then, they may feel uncomfortable for a while.
  • Most people feel ready to go out in public (and back to work) in 7-10 days. By then, depending on your rate of healing and your doctor's instructions, you will probably be able to wear makeup to hide the bruising that remains. You may be sensitive to sunlight, wind, and other irritants for several weeks, so you should wear sunglasses and a special sunblock made for eyelids when you go out.
  • Your surgeon will probably tell you to keep your activities to a minimum for three to five days, and to avoid more strenuous activities for about three weeks. It's especially important to avoid activities that raise your blood pressure, including bending, lifting, and rigorous sports. You may also be told to avoid alcohol, since it causes fluid retention.
  • Healing is a gradual process, and your scars may remain slightly pink for six months or more after surgery. Eventually, though, they'll fade to a thin, nearly invisible white line.

If you need to contact us

  • To reach your doctor or our plastic surgery nurses between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. from Monday through Friday, call (603) 650-5148.
  • After 5:00 p.m. and on weekends, call (603) 650-5000 and ask to speak with the doctor on call for plastic surgery.
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