What is the Difference Between an Eyelid Lift, Blepharoplasty and Ptosis Surgery?

BlepharoplastyI am often asked by patients during a consult – “What is the difference between an eyelid lift, blepharoplasty and ptosis surgery?” and “Which one do I need?” These are both great questions to address. As we age, we become more aware of the puffiness around our eyes, the extra eyelid skin, the wrinkles and the droopiness (ptosis) that slowly become apparent over time. But many of us are not sure exactly what can be done to reduce this or what the right terminology is to address it. Let me help to clarify each of these terms and what they treat.

Eyelid lift is a generic term that can mean blepharoplasty and/or ptosis surgery. The term conveys the end result of the procedure being performed. Based on the name, it rightly gives the impression that tissue can be lifted, trimmed and/or repositioned to lift the eyelid. It is, however, not the technical name of any procedure that surgeons employ.

Blepharoplasty is the actual term used for eyelid surgery to trim away extra skin and either remove or reposition the fat to reduce the puffy appearance in eyelids. In the upper lids, blepharoplasty gets rid of the excess skin that can overhang on lashes, and it reduces unwanted fullness. It is a similar operation in the lower lids as well. The only difference here is that many surgeons don’t just excise the unwanted fat in the lower lids but instead moves it to an area in the cheek that is hollow to further improve on the results.

Ptosis surgery applies to lifting the upper eyelids generally by manipulating the eyelid muscle tendon that has gotten “stretched out”. Risk factors for weakening of the eyelid muscle tendon include advancing age, gravity, contact lens use, and post lasik or cataract surgery. When ptosis surgery is performed, excess skin and fat can be trimmed at the same time so it is all still one procedure.

A key element of choosing the procedure that is best for you is a thorough exam and evaluation performed by a cosmetic surgeon. The highly-skilled oculo-facial surgeons at the Emory Aesthetic Center offer multiple options to improve the appearance of the eyelids, brow and orbital area (eye socket). Depending on your age, degree of and signs of aging, and goals, we can recommend the right solution for you.


About Dr. Hayek

Brent Hayek, MD

Brent Hayek, MD, areas of expertise include both reconstructive and cosmetic procedures. He addresses “droopy” (puffy) or malpositioned eyelids, treats Graves disease or thyroid problems as they affect the eyes, and orbital problems including tumors around the eye and fractures that affect the protective bony walls. Dr. Hayek also handles tearing problems that involve obstruction, infection or other issues of the tear drain system. Dr. Hayek performs a number of eyelid and facial cosmetic services include Botox®, facial fillers and peels, upper and lower blepharoplasty, midface and endoscopic forehead lifts.

Dr. Hayek’s research interests include eyelid and orbital tumors, as well as various implants suitable for long-term eyelid reconstruction. He has published articles in peer-reviewed publications, book chapters and has presented at regional, national and international meetings.

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