How Does the Recovery for Eyelid Ptosis Compare to That of Blepharoplasty?

I've had upper and lower blepharoplasty, so I'm somewhat familiar with that recovery period. How does repair of ptosis for one eye only, compare with full blepharoplasty? Seems less invasive. How does the bruising compare? How quickly can people go back to work if they simply don't care if others know that they had a cosmetic procedure? Are there any believable excuses to give if I wanted to go back to work quickly but not reveal the cosmetic aspect?

Doctor Answers 11

Recovering from eyelid ptosis surgery and blepharoplasty

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Depending on the technique, upper eyelid ptosis repair is usually more invasive.  Don't take the difficulty of this kind of surgery lightly.  If done via a levator advancement technique one must dissect through all the layers of the eyelid to get to the levator muscle (we dissect less deep with a standard bleph).  Also we must set the eyelid at the perfect height and then deal with many variables such as contour irregularities, the muscle beeing too anesthetized to judge perfect height and a herrings response or something we have little control over where the brain innervates the other upper eyelid at the same time and drops it.  Upper eyelid belpharoplasty compared to ptosis repair is much simpler and usally is associated with less swelling.  Allow for 7 days of swelling with this one.  Having had a previous blepharoplasty will account for more scarring and likely more swelling as well.

Dr. Schwarcz

New York Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Ptosis Recovery

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Working on all four eyelids at once as you did for a blepharoplasty can cause significant swelling and bruising, and you will certainly not experience as much after unilateral ptosis repair. However, ptosis surgery itself is more invasive in the sense that it involves isolating the muscle that opens the eyelid whereas blepharoplasty usually involves just skin removal (sometimes fat and/or muscle). Afterwards, you will still have swelling and bruising that typically lasts 1-2 weeks. As far as working, as long as your job is not strenuous (manual labor), you would be okay to resume your normal duties within a few days. 

Mahsa Sohrab, MD
New Haven Oculoplastic Surgeon

Ptosis vs. Blepharolplasty

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Eyelid Ptosis and Blepharoplasty are very similar procedures in the means of comparable healing time and post op courses. Certainly ptosis for your one eye only will be less trouble some with the aftercare. But in terms of going back to work, I would recommend 2-3 days if you do not mind the bruising.

J. Timothy Heffernan, MD
Seattle Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Recovery for Upper Eyelid Ptosis Repair Similar to Blepharoplasty

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Hi 5321anon,

While every patient and procedure may vary, the postoperative recovery after upper eyelid ptosis repair is similar for upper blepharoplasty surgery. Patients typically take several days off work, while some take a full week off work. Generally, most bruising and swelling improves within the first two weeks. If the eye appearance during the immediate healing period is not bothersome, then patients can return to work as soon as they want, such as light office work. However, physical activity that increases heart rate or blood pressure should be still limited for two weeks. Follow the recommendations of your eyelid plastic surgeon. Best of luck.

Dr. Chaboki

Houtan Chaboki, MD
Washington DC Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 89 reviews

Ptosis surgery vs upper blepharoplasty

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There is usually more swelling and bruising with the ptosis surgery because it is a more complicated surgery especially if it is a levator resection. At one week, you will still have significant swelling. Tell them you had a correction of a lazy eyelid.

Peter T. Truong, MD
Fresno Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Recovery from Eyelid Ptosis Surgery

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Ptosis ("toe-sis") is a drooping of the eyelid due to a weakness of the eyelid muscle. Ptosis surgery is very technical and requires great precision to have a natural, beautiful outcome.  It is definitely more challenging and more invasive than a blepharoplasty. That being said, the bruising is generally mild afterwards.  This is one of the most common surgeries I perform and my patients are back functioning fully in just a few days.  Any patient may have bruising that may last up to 2 weeks but the bruises appear under the eyes and in the upper cheeks.  I advise my patients (even men) that they can use cover up makeup over these areas as long as they avoid the incision lines. One possible "excuse" would be to say you had to have a treatment of a "lazy eyelid causing problems." For a further discussion, you need an in-person consultation with a board-certified, fellowship-trained Oculofacial Plastic Surgeon with extensive experience in ptosis repair and eyelid surgery. Please avoid any doctors that do eyelid surgery part time, they cannot help you. I wish you well with your surgery! 

Damon B. Chandler, MD

Harvard-Penn Trained Oculofacial Plastic Surgeon

Damon B. Chandler, MD
Philadelphia Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Ptosis vs. bleph

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Hello.  In general, secondary eyelid surgery - ptosis or bleph following previous eyelid surgery leads to a slightly longer recovery time than the primary surgery.  It is important to remember that eyelid scarring from previous surgery may cause slightly longer recovery.

That being said, primary ptosis surgery, depending on technique has a similar recover to primary blepharoplasty. Internal ptosis repair requires no external incisions and can be performed with swelling that lasts at least 7 days.  In external ptosis repair (levator advancement), the dissection is slightly deeper in the eyelid than blepharoplasty which occasionally can lead to minimally increased recovery time.

Steven Couch, MD, FACS
Saint Louis Oculoplastic Surgeon

Recovery for Eyelid Ptosis vs. Recovery after Blepharoplasty

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Typically a brow lift would be considered more invasive than a blepharoplasty. Upper blepharoplasty's are usually short and simple procedures in which a short incision is made and excess skin and/or fat are removed; the procedure typically takes about 30 minutes to an hour and the patient is back to normal daily living within a week. Most brow lifts are considered more invasive because the time it takes to perform the procedure and the recovery/healing time following it are longer than the upper bleph. The procedure takes anywhere from 1-2 hours and the healing time for bruising and edema can take anywhere from 7-14 days. Any residual numbness from the brow lift may take longer to subside.


Edward E. Dickerson, IV, MD
Fayetteville Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 127 reviews

Recovery from ptosis repair

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It is hard to predict exactly how an individual will heal from a particular surgery.  With blepharoplasty, if fat is removed as well, you are in a similar layer of the eyelid and most patients will have up to 1-2 weeks of mild to moderate bruising and swelling.  Because you have already had a blepharoplasty, there will be more scar tissue to dissect to do your ptosis repair, so you may notice that your healing is a little slower.  All in all, however you won't notice much of a difference in the healing process and there should be minimal pain.    Sometimes it also depends on the surgeon's technique and finesse!


Good luck!

Jasmine Mohadjer, MD
Tampa Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Recovery from ptosis repair

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The recovery from ptosis repair should be about the same as wehn you had your eyes done, although this is only being done on the upper lids.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.