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Swelling After Eyelid Surgery: When to Worry and When It’s Normal

Dr. Joanna Kam is a leading specialist in South Jersey for managing swelling associated with eyelid surgery.

Cosmetic eyelid surgery, also referred to as eyelid lift surgery or blepharoplasty, is a popular cosmetic procedure done to improve the look of the eyelids or fix functional problems like baggy, or droopy eyelids.

Swelling after eyelid surgery, whether it’s upper eyelid surgery or a procedure involving both eyelids, is a typical part of the body’s healing process. It’s a natural response to the trauma inflicted on the body during the surgical procedure.

However, it’s crucial to understand the eyelid surgery recovery process and know when swelling is a normal part of the recovery journey and when it’s a cause for concern.

Unraveling Eyelid Surgery

Blepharoplasty in New Jersey, often referred to as eyelid lift surgery, is an expert surgical procedure that involves the careful removal or adjustment of skin, muscle, or fat from the eyelids.

Based on what the patient needs and what the expert surgeon recommends, this facial plastic surgery can be performed on the upper eyelid, lower eyelid, or both eyelids. It can correct issues such as impaired vision that results from excess skin or fat obstructing the field of view.

Symptoms of Swelling After Eyelid Surgery

Swelling is a common symptom after any surgical procedure, including eyelid surgery. It is the body’s natural response to trauma and is part of the healing process. However, it’s important to be aware of the symptoms associated with swelling after blepharoplasty to ensure proper recovery and avoid complications.

Pain and Discomfort Around the Eye Area

Following an eyelid surgery it’s quite normal for patients to experience a certain degree of pain and discomfort around the eye area. This discomfort is typically a direct result of the surgical incisions made during the procedure and the body’s natural healing process that kicks in post-surgery.

In the hours after surgery, the discomfort may be more pronounced due to the immediate effects of the surgical procedure. As the body begins to heal, the pain should gradually start to subside. 

Tenderness and Redness in the Area Around the Eye

The skin around the eye, a delicate and sensitive area, may undergo noticeable changes following the eyelid surgery. It’s not uncommon for the skin to become tender, a sensation that might be more pronounced in the hours and days after surgery. This tenderness can be accompanied by a distinct redness, a visible sign of the body’s healing process in action.

Patients may experience pain, discomfort, tenderness, redness, and blurred vision as symptoms of swelling after eyelid surgery.
Patients may experience irritation and discomfort in the area around the eye

Blurred Vision

Blurred vision is a common occurrence in the days following eyelid surgery. This temporary alteration in vision is often a direct result of the swelling that naturally occurs during the healing period. The swelling can cause a slight distortion in vision, making things appear less sharp or clear than usual. 

Itching, Burning Sensation, or Irritation

It’s not uncommon for patients to experience itching, a burning sensation, or irritation in the days after blepharoplasty New Jersey. These symptoms can be particularly noticeable in the first few hours after surgery and may persist for several days or weeks.

This discomfort can directly result from the body’s healing process as it responds to the trauma of the surgical procedure. The sutures used to close the incisions can also cause some irritation as the body adjusts to their presence. 

The Normal Eyelid Surgery Healing Journey

The healing journey after eyelid surgery varies from person to person, but there are some common stages that most patients go through. Immediately after the surgery, the eyelids will be swollen and bruised, and vision may be blurry. This is a normal part of the recovery process and should gradually improve over the next 1 to 3 weeks.

In the days following the surgery, it’s important to rest, get enough sleep, and keep the head elevated to help reduce swelling. Limiting activities such as reading, computer work, and TV for the first few days can also help speed up healing.

How to Manage Swelling

Several strategies can help to manage swelling after eyelid surgery, ensuring a more comfortable recovery and optimal results.

Using Cold Compress

Applying a cold compress, such as an ice pack or a cold pack, to the eyes in the hours after surgery, specifically for the first 24-48 hours, can significantly help to minimize swelling and soothe any discomfort or eye irritation.

The cold compress works by reducing the body temperature in the area, which in turn helps to control the body’s natural inflammatory response. 

Keep Head Elevated

Maintaining an elevated position, particularly during periods of rest and sleep in the days and weeks after surgery, can significantly aid in reducing fluid pressure in the eye area, thus minimizing swelling.

Using a couple of extra pillows to prop up your head can help facilitate the body’s natural process of fluid drainage, thereby reducing the likelihood of fluid retention around the surgical sites. 

Avoid Straining Activities

Activities that can increase blood pressure, such as bending over, lifting heavy items, or engaging in strenuous exercises, should be avoided for at least two weeks after surgery to prevent exacerbating the swelling.

This includes any form of intensive exercise or cardiovascular activity that could potentially heighten the body’s blood pressure and fluid pressure, thereby increasing the risk of swelling after eyelid surgery. 

Follow Surgeon’s Orders

It’s crucial to follow the surgeon’s postoperative instructions closely. This may include instructions on how to clean the eye area, when and how to use eye drops or antibiotic ointment, and when to return for follow-up visits.

When to Worry About Swelling After Eyelid Surgery

While swelling is a normal part of the recovery process after eyelid surgery New Jersey, there are some instances where it may be a cause for concern.

Severe, Uncontrolled, or Prolonged Swelling

If the swelling is severe, uncontrolled, or persists for a longer period than expected, it’s important to seek medical attention. This could signify complications such as infection or a reaction to the surgery.

Signs and Symptoms of Infection

Signs of infection include increased pain, swelling, warmth, redness, or pus draining from the surgical site. If these symptoms are present, immediate medical help should be sought.

Reaction to Medication or Anesthetic Agents

In some cases, patients may have an adverse reaction to the medication or anesthetic agents used during or after surgery. Symptoms can include severe trouble breathing, sudden chest pain and shortness of breath, or vision changes. If these symptoms occur, seek immediate medical help.

Excessive Bleeding or Scarring

While some bleeding and scarring are normal after surgery, excessive bleeding or scarring can be a sign of complications and should be addressed by a medical professional.

If the surgeon notices signs of infection, such as increased pain, swelling, warmth, redness or pus draining from the surgical site, immediate medical help should be sought.
A surgeon can explain how swelling can be reduced

Preventing Excessive Swelling

While some degree of swelling is unavoidable after eyelid surgery, some steps can be taken to prevent excessive swelling and promote a smoother recovery.

Avoid Blood Thinners

Blood-thinning medications should be avoided in the weeks leading up to and following surgery, as they can increase the risk of bleeding and swelling.

Limit Salt Intake

High sodium intake can lead to fluid retention and exacerbate swelling. Limiting salt intake can help to minimize postoperative swelling.

Stay Hydrated

Staying well-hydrated can help to flush out toxins, reduce inflammation, and promote healing, helping to control swelling after surgery.

Talk with a Blepharoplasty Surgeon

Engaging in a thorough consultation with a board-certified surgeon like Dr. Kam about blepharoplasty surgery is a crucial step to learning more about the eyelid surgery recovery process. It’s also the best time to discuss any concerns about complications post-surgery, such as swelling. Contact us today to schedule a consultation in New Jersey.