Recovery from upper eyelid surgery?

Hello, I am considering a minor skin excision on one upper eyelid. How long can I expect the healing process to take (until I can be confident to go out and socialize)? I am 38. Thanks.

Doctor Answers 12

Blepharoplasty Recovery

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The recovery after an upper eyelid surgery is usually about 5-7 days if there is minimal bruising and swelling.

Dallas Plastic Surgeon

Recovery from upper eyelid surgery

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There is minimal downtime from upper eyelid surgery. Swelling and bruising are usually gone by 2 weeks. Most of my patients are able to use makeup over the incision and return to work in 1 week. If you are wondering on when you might be able to socialize with friends I would be more conservative and give yourself 3 weeks. At 3 weeks, friends and family are not likely to notice especially with use of eyeshadow and mascara.

Kristina Tansavatdi, MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Recovery After Upper Eyelid Surgery

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Upper eyelid lift (blepharoplasty) is a relatively common and simple procedure when performed by an experienced facial cosmetic surgeon. This procedure requires a very thin, minimally invasive incision. The procedure can be performed in under an hour (approximately 30 minutes in your case as you are only having one eyelid operated on.) Eyelid lifts do not require very much downtime at all; some patients even return to work the day after. If you do not want anyone to know you've had the surgery, then 2-3 days should be adequate time for you to recover and socialize in public.

Jason Litner, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Recovery from upper eyelid/ blepharoplasty surgery

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Hello 'Clare3343', thanks for your question. If you are overall healthy, not a smoker or diabetic, and not on any blood thinning medications, you should be good to go out in public in 1-2 weeks if it truly is just a 'minor skin excision'. However, if you will be having a more complete blepharoplasty surgery, which usually includes excision of some orbicularis oculi musculature and periorbital fat pads, or have a ptosis repair for a droopy eyelid, expect some bruising and swelling to last at least 2-3wks. If you have any medical issues, that timeframe can be longer for a full recovery. Be sure you see a board-certified plastic surgeon to address your cosmetic eyelid concerns. Good luck!


Parviz Goshtasby, MD, FACS
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon

Unilateral lid surgery

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is somewhat unusual suggesting you may be having a ptosis repair rather than just some skin trimmed. If it truly is the latter, in the absence of bruising, you should be able to socialize within a week as your scar should be in your lid crease when your eye is open.

Curtis Wong, MD
Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Recovery from upper eyelid surgery?

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This is a difficult question to answer because I do not have enough information. First of all, why one eyelid? Did you have a complete evaluation by an eyelid specialist?

Make sure that this is the correct procedure before you have it done.

Sam Goldberger, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon

Upper eyelid healing is usually pretty quick.

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Most people experience some bruising and swelling for about a week. The edema can last longer, but you should be presentable at this point. I like to use a CO2 laser to perform my blepharoplasty. The laser cauterizes at the same time as it cuts, so there is usually less bruising.

John J. Martin, Jr., MD
Coral Gables Oculoplastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Upper eyelid surgery recovery

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Since I do most upper eyelid surgeries now by excising skin only, as you describe, down time from social life has shortened to less than a week when the sutures are removed. Oxygenix make up is safe to use on the incision after suture removal on day 5. Bruising is uncommon but can take longer to resolve.

Edmund Fisher, MD
Bakersfield Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Recovery from upper eyelid surgery?

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Most people are able to return to work and social activities within a week. In most cases, the incision is well hidden within the eyelid crease and is not visible when your eye is open. Properly selected frames will also help camouflage things early on. The biggest limitation would be bruising, if any, that could take up to 10 days to resolve. I hope this information is helpful.

Stephen Weber MD, FACS

There is not such thing as minor skin excision on one upper eyelid.

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There is no substitute for a very careful analysis of your situation to determine a clear plan for eyelid surgery. My personal approach involves talking with you about your goals for your eyelid surgery. It is sometimes very helpful to review with you older photographs dating back into high school and college. There is often an age when you think of yourself have peak beauty in which case, the goal of surgery needs to be as much as possible capturing this look. It is critically to get a detailed medication, allergy, medical, surgical, and social history to properly think about your health and welfare associated with eyelids surgery. Detailed photographs are then taken. A detailed examination of the eyes and face is then performed. This starts with a determination of your best corrected visions and measurements of facial symmetry including determining if the eyes project the same amount from the face on each side. It is very helpful to determine if the eyes sit at the same height on each side. I personally like to sketch my patients eyes and eyelids. I feel this forces me to very carefully see the potential issues that are present. Following this I do detailed measurements of the eyes which includes the palpebral fissure height on each side (a measure of how open the eyes are), the margin to crease height, the margin to reflex distance on each side, and a measurement of eyelid ptosis. Levator function is measures and lower eyelid laxity is then assessed. This is followed by a detailed motor and sensory assessment of the eyes, the eyelids, and the face. I assess the pupils and perform a confrontational visual field. Generally I will also perform a microscopic slit lamp examination of the eyelids and the front of the eyes to assess the health of the eyelid margins, conjunctive, cornea, anterior chamber, iris, lens. Intraocular pressure is assessed if you are not being actively followed by an ophthalmologist or there is a family history of glaucoma. I will then do a tear production test and follow this with a nondilated fundoscopic examination. When indicated, I will do some specialize testing to assess upper eyelid ptosis.

Now I am in a position to discuss what your best options are for eyelid surgery. This assessment and an appropriately detailed discussion of risks, benefits, alternative, and likelihood of success. Is this level of detailed needed for every eyelid surgery? I personally think so. I think this profoundly increases the chance of the surgeon getting eyelid surgery right the first time. I think you deserve that.

Assuming you need an upper blepharoplasty procedure, most people take 10-14 off from work. Often by that time, you are at a place where most people do not notice that you just had eyelid surgery. You might find you are ready to socialize a little before this or perhaps a few days after this. If you are very self conscious, you might not feel that you are really ready for 3 to 4 weeks but honestly that is quite unusual.

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 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.