Wide-eyed rejuvenation

Sydney plastic surgeon Dr Warwick Nettle says an eye lift – both alone and in combination with other surgery – can create a more youthful and energised appearance.

Labelled the ‘windows to the soul’ and the focal point of the face, the eyes signify an important aspect of our overall appearance. Unfortunately, they are also one of the first areas to show the signs of ageing. Tired, heavy and wrinkled skin around the eyes can greatly contribute to an aged appearance. Eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty, can counter this and achieve a subtle but noticeable anti- ageing effect.

Sydney plastic surgeon Dr Warwick Nettle explains rejuvenating the eye area can help return youthfulness to the ageing face as a whole. ‘Bags beneath the eyes, wrinkled drooping eyelids and sagging eyebrows can give the face a tired, angry or sad expression,’ he explains. ‘Eyelid surgery can remove any excess skin or bulging fat pockets to restore a more youthful, awake appearance.’

Men and women in their 40s and 50s are common candidates for eyelid surgery, and Dr Nettle often combines blepharoplasty with other facial surgeries for a more universal rejuvenation.

‘The most common age for blepharoplasty is during the 40s and 50s, but I still see people in their 30s and late 60s who are looking to improve the eye area,’ Dr Nettle explains. ‘We can achieve a holistic anti-ageing result in partnering blepharoplasty with other procedures. I often recommend undergoing blepharoplasty at the same time as a face or brow lift.’

As with any surgical procedure, a thorough consultation process is required to achieve the best results in eyelid surgery. Dr Nettle tailors his approach according to patient concerns, desires and expectations.

‘Blepharoplasty calls for different surgical techniques, depending on the patient. For example, male and female patients have unique needs, and some Asian patients are looking to widen the eyes, which requires a different surgical approach to the general anti-ageing procedure,’ he explains. ‘It is important to consider the patient’s skin quality, the surrounding anatomy and the way the result will complement the rest of the face.’

The procedure

Blepharoplasty is performed under general anaesthesia and uses small incisions to remove excess skin and fatty tissue from around the eye area. Generally, the procedure requires a day stay in surgery, and the post-operative discomfort is typically managed with paracetamol in the 24 hours following the procedure.

‘Even though eyelid surgery has a relatively fast and mild recovery time, patients should take it easy for the first week or so following surgery,’ Dr Nettle advises. ‘Most patients can return to work after seven to 10 days, and makeup can be worn shortly after the procedure.’

Dr Nettle is diligent in undertaking a thorough follow-up process with his patients, as downtime will vary between cases. Importantly, scarring following blepharoplasty is generally quite inconspicuous, as the incisions are placed in the eyelid creases.

‘Some patients may experience a little tightness, dryness or sensitivity to light immediately following the procedure, but this will differ between cases,’ Dr Nettleexplains. ‘Because the incisions are hidden in the natural crease lines, they are the least noticeable in cosmetic facial surgery. Usually, the scars are barely visible after 10 days post-operatively and the incision lines will continue to fade over time.’

In widening the eyes, and restoring the eyelid and brow area, blepharoplasty can be a viable option in countering the signs of ageing as both a stand-alone and integrated procedure. ‘The eyes are the focal point of the face and greatly contribute to the overall facial appearance,’ says Dr Nettle. ‘Eyelid surgery is an effective option in refreshing the face and granting a more alert, youthful and energised appearance.’

EYE OPENERS
Laser and chemical peels are another option to help rejuvenate the eye area. They are commonly used to boost skin health and combat fine wrinkles, particularly around the lower lids. They can be used in conjunction with blepharoplasty to optimise long-term results.
Similarly, dermal fillers and anti-wrinkle injections, combined with facial skincare and treatments, can prolong the need for surgery, or be used alongside blepharoplasty, to achieve the ideal cosmetic makeover.

Case studies by Dr Nettle

For more before and after photographs, see Dr Nettle’s CosBeauty gallery.