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Topic 33 - 2
How Long Does
Blepharoplasty Surgery Take?
blepharoplasty operation Experiencing blepharoplasty aftercare

surgeon speed

"Surgery is not a race. But if you're a slow surgeon it doesn't mean you're good. It means you're slow."

-- Anonymous

The time estimates that follow are merely estimates and will vary patient to patient, surgeon to surgeon, problem to problem. Still, they give you something to hang your hat on and might be interesting if not surprising.

First, a few words about operating speed. Within limits, there is indeed real virtue to shorter operating times. The longer an operation takes, the longer the tissues are opened and exposed to the air and the longer the time needed for anesthesia, both factors where the least time expended decreases the operation's risk.

Most surgeons who specialize in blepharoplasty are faster than those who perform such operations less frequently. Having been inside thousands of eyelids for years on end makes it easier for them to evaluate and execute efficiently without needing to ponder each and every step or over-handle tissue. The less time spent fiddling around with the eyelid's delicate interior, the less bleeding and need to cauterize, which translates into less bruising and swelling postoperatively.

Some surgeons pride themselved on their legendary speed, but racing through an operation has its limits. It's always better to slow down and do it right, sort of like the tortoise and the hare. As they say in the buidling trades, "Measure twice, cut once."

"Economy-of-scale" also comes into play. If you have both upper and lower blepharoplasty performed at the same sitting, there is indeed some time-savings compared to operating on each set of lids individually. Same goes for the "add-on" procedures noted under the main procedure; performed on their own, they take much longer.

The times that follow are surgeon "hands-on" time and do not include getting to the hospital or office early for adminstrative work and pre-sedation, etc. (allow about 2 hours) or recovery following the the surgery (allow 45 minutes to 4 hours, depending of the operation's scope and method of anesthesia).

Operating estimates assume first-time surgery on both left and right sides by an experienced practitioner. Secondary or revision operations generally take about 50% longer and sometimes much longer. Add-on procedures such as brow lift and cheek lift vary depending on method and scope.

(+ = added to the base operation time)

Upper Eyelids

Standard upper blepharoplasty: 45 minutes
Tissue-sparing upper blepharoplasty: 30 minutes

+ Ptosis repair: + 30 minutes
+ Browpexy: + 20-30 minutes
+ Brow (forehead) lift: + 45-90+ minutes

Lower Eyelids

Transconjunctival lower blepharplasty: 20 minutes (although in the right patient, only about 5 minutes!)
Transcutaneous lower blepharoplasty: 45-60 minutes
Tissue-sparing lower blepharoplasty: 60-90 minutes

+ Canthopexy: + 20-30 minutes
+ Canthoplasty: + 30-45 minutes
+ Skin pinch: + 20 minutes
+ Fat repositioning: + 20 minutes
+ Festoons, malar mounds: + 30-45 minutes
+ Cheek lift: + 30-75+ minutes
+ TCA chemical peel: +15 minutes

So, while you might not leave for home until 4-8 hours after you first arrive in the morning, the surgery itself is fairly quick (which is true for all types of operations).

Contrast the above with these two "procedures":

Botulinum toxin injections: 1-3 minutes
Hyaluronic acid injections: 3-5 minutes

Next: Instructions After
Blepharoplasty Surgery

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