You’re checking yourself out in the mirror and notice those stubborn undereye bags staring back at you. Even after a full night’s sleep, they persist. Cosmetic lower eyelid surgery, also known as lower blepharoplasty or “eye bag surgery,” promises to banish those bags for good. But before going under the knife, it’s critical to understand why eye bag surgery can go wrong and how to avoid complications.
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Anatomic Factors Leading to Complications
The delicate eyelid anatomy plays a significant role in the risks associated with lower blepharoplasty. Orbital fat protruding through weak connective tissue and muscle creates the appearance of puffy eye bags. The surgeon must alter or remove fat while preserving critical support structures surrounding the eyes.
There are two main surgical approaches:
This technique requires an incision just below your lower eyelashes. The surgeon accesses the fat pockets through this external cut. However, separating multiple tissue layers may impair muscles responsible for keeping your lower eyelids properly positioned. The visible scar also carries risks of less attractive healing.
In this approach, the surgeon accesses the fat behind your lower eyelid through an incision inside the conjunctiva. This spares cutting muscles and nerves responsible for lower eyelid support and eyelid movement. Risks of scarring and eyelid malpositions are reduced. The lack of external incision creates an invisible scar.
An experienced surgeon familiar with the intricacies of eyelid anatomy can help minimize risks by utilizing the optimal technique for your individual fat deposits and degree of eyelid laxity.
Once surgery begins, challenges can arise related to bleeding risks or maintaining sterility inside your eyelid.
Excess bleeding during lower blepharoplasty may lead to post-surgical orbital hemorrhage and compression. Vision loss is a rare but scary complication. Contributing factors include poor intraoperative blood vessel cauterization, uncontrolled high blood pressure, or blood thinners.
Meticulous technique cauterizing each bleeding vessel can reduce chances of later hemorrhage. Monitoring your vitals and holding blood pressure medications before surgery helps too.
Rapid treatment is vital if hemorrhage occurs by urgent decompression and drainage. Vision can often be restored if treated within hours.
Bacterial infections are another risk if sterility is compromised during the procedure. Staphylococcus aureus or streptococcus bacteria can be devastating if they enter orbital tissues.
Preventing infection relies on excellent sterile technique including surgical masks and careful preparation of the eyelid skin. Post-op antibiotics treat infection if suspected despite precautions.
After initially sailing through surgery, you may run into issues during the healing period. Some of the most common eye bag surgery complications involve the eyelids and vision changes.
If support structures are disrupted, the eyelids may not close fully or remain in proper alignment. Ptosis is when the upper eyelid droops, partly obstructing vision. The lower lid can retract downward (ectropion) or turn inward (entropion), causing irritation.
Repairing malpositions may require tightening loose eyelids using canthoplasty procedures or tarsal strip techniques. Tissue grafts reinforce weakened areas.
Blurry vision, dry eyes, or trouble fully closing your eyes can follow lower blepharoplasty. Corneal damage arises when lubrication is inadequate during eyelid healing.
Frequent eyedrops, ointments, moisture chambers and punctal plugs that prevent tear drainage help. Most vision changes resolve a few weeks after surgery.
Wound Healing Problems
In rare cases, incisions reopen or heal abnormally. Granulation tissue may overgrow, resulting in uncomfortable nodules called pyogenic granulomas. Thick, red scars can disturb the aesthetic result.
Conservative wound care and steroid injections improve most scarring. Severe scar abnormalities require revision procedures for the best outcome.
Complications from “eye bag surgery gone wrong” arise from anatomical disruption, surgical errors, or healing abnormalities. Choosing an experienced oculoplastic surgeon skilled in meticulous technique and nuances of eyelid anatomy reduces risks. Even then, some issues may still occur. Familiarizing yourself with potential complications empowers you to participate in your care and recovery.
Vision loss is extremely rare with lower blepharoplasty. But understanding the delicate nature of eye surgery allows you to safeguard your precious sight. After weighing the risks, you can decide whether removing eye bags is worth gambling your eyesight. For many, embracing self-care alternatives to cosmetic surgery makes the most sense.
Your eyes will likely convey more beauty, wisdom and kindness by avoiding unnecessary procedures in the first place. But if you elect surgery, avoid complications by selecting your surgeon as carefully as you select your eyeshadow!