Dermatochalasis, or excess eyelid is not only a cosmetic problem for some patients, but a functional problem as well. A patient may notice a loss of upper and or side vision when excess upper eyelid skin is present. Quite simply, the excess skin drapes over the eye and can interfere with your visual field.
Fortunately the ophthalmologists at the North Dakota Eye Clinic are experienced and skillful surgeons, and have helped many patients by performing an upper eyelid blepharoplasty with or without ptosis repair. The procedure is performed at the state-of-the-art North Dakota Surgery Center, conveniently located in the same building as the eye clinic.
Most insurance companies, including Medicare will cover eyelid surgery when it is for a functional (not necessarily cosmetic) problem. This means if the excess skin or drooping interferes with a significant portion of your vision, you have lost a portion of your “functional” vision. We will help guide you through the insurance process.
A blepharoplasty (see figure 1) is a relatively quick procedure and typically painless. Prior to the procedure a marker and measuring tools are used to plan the amount of tissue to be removed. The predetermined amount of excess eyelid skin and muscle (and sometimes eyelid fat) is excised and the incision is carefully closed. The incision is “hidden” in the natural eyelid crease, so visible scars are unusual. The surgery not only removes excess tissue, but also may improve lid crease cosmesis and treat drooping eyelashes
Some patients also have excess drooping of the eyelid height (ptosis) with or without excess eyelid skin. Our surgeons can skillfully elevate the eyelid height through the same incision as used for the blepharoplasty (see figure 2). Blepharoplasty and ptosis repairs are often done at the same time. There are many procedures used to repair ptosis and the ophthalmologist can help decide which is best for you.
There is generally little discomfort after eyelid surgery. Most patients will be swollen and black-and-blue for a few days to weeks after the surgery. It may take several weeks to notice the full effect. Some patients may have sutures removed around one week after the surgery, although many will have dissolvable sutures thus negating the need for removal.
A thorough consultation with Dr. Sczepanski will discuss which option is best for you. He will spend time discussing the risks of the procedure(s), helping you decide. A preoperative visual field, documenting the loss of vision from the excess skin and/or drooping lid and external photos will be performed, as required by many insurance companies.