At age 43, I finally decided to get my eyelids lifted. Not so much for cosmetic reasons, but they felt like sweaty armpits hanging over my eyes! The heaviness drove me crazy all the time. My step-mother had hers done by a local opthamologist here and her results were great, so it motivated me to act. It was done under local anesthesia in the doc's office (not a hospital). This cut down significantly on the cost. I told him I better not look like Nancy Pelosi after he finished. He got it.
No medicine was prescribed to "take the edge off," so I requested some. They gave me Valium. It had no effect once he began the procedure. The numbing injections hurt (about 12 pokes per eye is what I received) but no biggy. My problem was psychological. Knowing what was going on, the burning flesh smell and the snip, snip, snip of the scissors was almost more than I could bare. Some spots didn't get numb, so I could feel it burn one spot, and some pinching here and there. But there really wasn't much pain involved besides the anesthetic injections. Just all psychological for me. I was shaking like a cold Chiuhauhua the whole time, and bearing down with all my might through the whole (2 hour) procedure. It was exhausting.
My anxiety is my own issue, but I think people need to be conscious of their ability to handle this while fully aware. I needed nitrous oxide or something to make me not care. I kept thinking about everything too much.
By the time he started stitching them up, (he used the old fashioned stitches, not dissolvable ones. He said the dissolvable ones tend to create more scarring) I was so relieved and literally sore from bearing down on and gripping the chair so tight. Ugggh!
The black "contact" they insert so you can't see is somewhat uncomfortable. But not horribly so. By the time he was finished, I wanted it out of there. My first reaction was "get me some wetting drops!" They are very necessary the first few days.
I had to massage and antibiotic cream into the wound 4 times per day for the first week. After the stitches were removed a week later, I had to massage Vitamin E oil into the wound 4 times a day. I stopped using the Vit. E by day 5 because I think I was having a reaction to it. At first it soothed and felt great, but eventually it seemed to make my eyes feel raw, itchy and burned. Once I stopped, it felt better. The antibiotic cream felt good.
I iced faithfully the first day/night. 30 minutes "on" from 2:30 to midnight. Then 6 go-rounds the next day, then 4 the next. I had no purple bruising at all. Bright red eyelids on day 2 and part of day 3. Big puffy "bags" of yellow fluid on the lower eyes persisted for a few days. He never recommended heat. 1-week post-op he was very, very pleased with it. He said "You must have iced like crazy since they look so good!" He made me look at them right after he did the procedure. I didn't want to. They look better when you first leave because they haven't had time to puff up and bruise yet. Day 2 and 3 look the worst!
No pain meds were necessary. After I got home, I had about a 10-minute episode where it sort of hurt. I took some Tylenol and that was that. The next day I put down sod in the back yard. No big deal.
It has now been 17 days post-op. I just put my contacts in for the first time. If you have glasses, be prepared to wear them. I'm still not confident to go in public without them, as it still looks too obvious to me. Eyeshadow helps, but there are lumps and stitch marks in there that show. I'm getting a bit discouraged about it. Some of the skin in the corner of the eyes is still ugly/scarry/saggy? He says give it more time. But bruising and swelling is not an issue at all for me, thank goodness. It is harder to blink and I don't think they close all the way when I sleep. Not horribly, but some. I'm sure it will loosen up with time. My eyes are dry, but not to the point of being dependent on wetting drops. They itch a bit. The eyelids are numb as all get-out. My right eyebrow is lower than my left. They are sore. Today more than usual, though I don't know why. Nothing major.
Would I do it again? More than likely. My husband and sisters say they look WONDERFUL. I feel I look a bit peculiar. Sad or perplexed or something. But my husband says it took years off of me (and he didn't really want me having anything done). I'm still very bamboozled (sp?) about what to do with my eyebrows. They are low down now, and I barely had to pluck anything before. Now, I am going to have to figure out how to make them right.
My eyes look sort of sunken in so eye makeup is just plain weird to apply now! They are quite "purple" where the stitch line is (just above the crease) and I'm not expecting that to subside anytime soon. I just hope the lumps in there go away, particularly at the inner and outer corners. The assistant couldn't get two of the stitches out. He said they would work their way out, our I could come back later, as he didn't want to "dig" for them. (It sort of hurt getting them out, but not too much). 4 or 5 days afterward, I sterilized my tweezers and pulled them out myself. I waited until I didn't have to pull or coax them out too much. The outer corner stitch line has made an extra "crows foot" when I smile. I was told this would happen. I have no crows feet (yet), so this is a new "wrinkle," but it doesn't bother me.
I hope this helps. I'd be interested to hear about other peoples' progress with respect to lumpy/bumpy scars and how long it REALLY takes to smooth out.