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Blepharoplasty: Eyelid Surgery Risks That You Should Be Aware Of

Eyelid surgery, also known medically as blepharoplasty, is a procedure that's garnered much attention for its promise to rejuvenate one's appearance or address functional issues. Whether you're considering this operation to remove excess skin, tackle bags under the eyes, or perhaps even improve vision obscured by drooping eyelids, it's important to be fully informed. Just like any surgical procedure, eyelid surgery comes with its own set of risks that you should be aware of before going under the knife.

Here, Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors looks into both upper and lower eyelid surgery risks, so you can make an educated decision about whether this procedure is the right fit for you.

What is blepharoplasty?

Blepharoplasty, commonly known as eyelid surgery, is a medical procedure that aims to modify the eyelids for either cosmetic or functional reasons. In plain English, it's a surgery performed to improve the appearance or functionality of your eyelids. The surgery can be categorised into two types: upper eyelid surgery and lower eyelid surgery.

Upper eyelid surgery is typically performed to remove or reduce excess skin that may droop over the eyes, sometimes affecting vision. Lower eyelid surgery, on the other hand, is commonly done to address bags under the eyes or excessive wrinkling of the skin beneath the eyes.

People usually opt for this procedure for a variety of reasons. Some want to look younger and more refreshed, while others seek to correct vision problems caused by drooping or excess skin. Regardless of the motive, it's essential to be aware of the risks involved, which we'll discuss in the coming sections.

Why do people choose to undergo eyelid surgery?

The decision to undergo eyelid surgery is often a deeply personal one, influenced by a range of factors. Broadly, these factors can be broken down into two categories: quality of life improvements and medical necessities.

Quality of life improvements

For many, eyelid surgery is about enhancing their appearance and, consequently, their self-confidence. Ageing, genetics or environmental factors can lead to excess skin on the upper eyelids or bags under the eyes. These conditions can make individuals look more tired or older than they actually are. Blepharoplasty can offer a cosmetic lift, creating a younger, more rested appearance.

Medical reasons

On the other hand, some people opt for this procedure for purely medical reasons. Excess skin on the upper eyelids can sometimes hang so low that it obstructs one's field of vision. In such cases, removing the extra skin can lead to a significant improvement in sight. Moreover, persistent bags under the eyes can also cause irritation or discomfort, which lower eyelid surgery can alleviate.

Whether for cosmetic or medical reasons, the end goal is usually the same: to improve the patient’s quality of life. However, it's crucial to be well-informed about the associated risks, which we'll explore next.

General risks of surgery

Before diving into the specifics of eyelid surgery, it's helpful to understand some of the general risks that come with any surgical procedure. While surgery has become increasingly safe thanks to advancements in medical technology and expertise, it's never entirely without risk. Here are some of the general concerns:


Any surgery carries the risk of infection. Sterile environments and antibiotics can mitigate this risk, but it's never entirely eliminated.


While surgical techniques aim to minimise visible scars, any incision in the skin will leave some form of scarring, although it may be inconspicuous.

Reaction to anaesthesia

Surgery usually involves some form of anaesthesia, which carries its own set of risks, such as allergic reactions or breathing difficulties.

Postoperative complications

These can include issues like blood clots, excessive bleeding, or prolonged healing times. While these are relatively rare, they are possible.

Understanding these general risks lays the groundwork for a more in-depth discussion about the specific risks associated with eyelid surgery, both for upper and lower eyelids. So, as we proceed, bear in mind that these general risks can apply to blepharoplasty as well.

Specific risks of eyelid surgery

After discussing the general surgical risks, it's vital to focus on the unique risks related to blepharoplasty. Being aware of these specific risks helps you make an informed decision about undergoing either upper or lower eyelid surgery. Here are some of the primary concerns:

Ectropion: eversion or drooping of the lower eyelids.

Lagophthalmos: incomplete closure of the eyelids after surgery.

Infection: while all surgeries carry an infection risk, the eyes are particularly sensitive areas. An infection post-surgery could lead to complications that may require additional treatment.

Scarring: eyelid surgery may result in scars that are more visible or take longer to fade. In some cases, these scars can affect the natural contour of the eyelid.

Uneven healing: each eye may heal differently, resulting in asymmetry. This could necessitate further procedures to correct the imbalance.

Temporary or permanent vision problems: though extremely rare, any surgery around the eyes carries the risk of vision issues. These could range from temporary blurriness to, in very rare cases, vision loss.

Issues with eyelid function: problems could arise with the functionality of the eyelids, such as difficulties in closing them completely. This can lead to dry eyes or other complications.

Revision surgery: due to the above risks or other unforeseen issues, you may need revision surgery to correct problems or achieve the desired results.

Upper vs lower eyelid surgery risks

It's important to note that while many risks are common to both, some are specific to either upper or lower eyelid surgery. For example, the risk of affecting vision is generally higher in upper eyelid surgery, which often aims to remove excess skin that may be obstructing sight.

Risk mitigation

While these risks might sound daunting, it's worth noting that many of them are rare and can often be mitigated through proper consultation, careful planning, and selecting a qualified surgeon.

What to consider before opting for eyelid surgery

Deciding to undergo eyelid surgery is a significant commitment, one that should not be taken lightly. Before you proceed, it's important to consider several factors that could influence not just the outcome but also your overall experience. Here's a guide to help you make a well-informed decision:

Medical consultation

The first step is to consult with a healthcare professional, ideally one who specialises in ophthalmology or cosmetic surgery. They can help you understand whether you're a good candidate for the procedure and how best to prepare for it.

Surgeon's credentials

Make sure to research your chosen surgeon's qualifications and experience. Look for board certifications and check reviews from previous patients. The more skilled and experienced the surgeon, the lower the risks involved.

Risk assessment

We've discussed the general and specific risks of eyelid surgery. During your consultation, your healthcare professional should also give you a personalised risk assessment, taking into account your medical history and current health status.


Eyelid surgery can be quite costly, especially if complications arise that necessitate further procedures. Make sure you are financially prepared for both the surgery and any unforeseen expenses that may follow.

Recovery time

Your daily life will be affected during the recovery period. You'll need time off work, and your ability to engage in regular activities like driving or exercise will be restricted. Make sure you can afford to take this time off and have a support system in place.

Psychological preparedness

It's also vital to assess your emotional readiness. Surgery can be a stressful experience, and the recovery may involve discomfort and adjustments to your appearance that take time to settle.

Second opinion

Don't hesitate to seek a second opinion. If another healthcare professional confirms the advisability of the procedure, it can provide additional peace of mind.

Questions to ask your surgeon

Being well-informed is important when considering a surgical procedure like eyelid surgery. One of the best ways to gather information is by asking your surgeon the right questions. The answers to these questions can provide insights into the surgeon's experience, the procedure itself, and what to expect before, during and after the surgery. Here's a list of essential questions to ask:

Experience and qualifications

  1. Are you board-certified in ophthalmology or cosmetic surgery?

  2. How many years of experience do you have with eyelid surgery?

  3. Can you provide before-and-after photos of similar procedures you've performed?

About the procedure

  1. Am I a good candidate for eyelid surgery?

  2. What type of anaesthesia will be used, and are there risks associated?

  3. What surgical technique will you use for my specific needs?

  4. Will I require both upper and lower eyelid surgery, or just one?

Risks and complications

  1. What are the most common risks of eyelid surgery?

  2. How do you mitigate these risks?

  3. Have any of your patients experienced complications, and how were they resolved?

Recovery and post-surgery care

  1. What is the typical recovery time?

  2. Will I need to take any specific medications after the surgery?

  3. What are the signs of complications I should look out for during recovery?

Costs and logistics

  1. What is the total cost of the procedure, including any additional fees?

  2. Do you offer any financing or payment plans?

  3. Where will the surgery take place?

Feel free to jot down these questions and take them with you to your consultation. Remember, the key to a successful surgical experience is feeling comfortable with your healthcare provider and fully understanding the procedure you're about to undergo. Asking the right questions will equip you with the knowledge you need to make an informed decision.

Contact us 

If you have experienced problems following eyelid surgery and think they are the result of negligence, talk to our expert cosmetic surgery negligence team today. Call 0808 189 7715 or request a call back by completing the contact form.

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Mike Saul


Michael Saul is a partner at Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors, where he brings his extensive specialist legal expertise and passion for helping people to the forefront of his work. With a proven track record of success in cosmetic surgery negligence cases, Michael has dedicated his career to providing clients with the highest level of representation and achieving favourable outcomes.

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