Blepharoplasty is a cosmetic surgery that restores a more youthful look to the eyes.
Performed on both the upper and lower eyelids, the procedure reduces sagging on the upper eyelids and rids the area under the eye of the puffiness and bags that can occur with aging.
Surprisingly, eyelid surgery has not changed much throughout history.
The Origins of Blepharoplasty
During the 900s and 1000s, Arab surgeons began performing this cosmetic eyelid surgery. Their goals were to stop the upper eyelids from drooping and to reduce wrinkles and bags below the eye.
One of the first publicized uses of eyelid surgery involved an Andalusian doctor who corrected eyelid problems caused by disease or fluid retention. The process involved cauterizing the excess skin over the eyelids.
Ali-ibn-Isa was an Arabic surgeon who used eyelid surgery to remove cysts and correct an issue he referred to as blepharoptosis, in which the eyelid muscle became so weak that the upper lid no longer lifted up.
After pulling on the eyelids to pull the eyelid from the eye, he used a spatula to hold it in place for the surgery. The crease of the upper eyelid was then cut open with a knife, giving him room to surgically alter the muscle and lift the eyelid.
Skip forward to the 1500s. Ambrose Pare used surgery on the upper eyelid to restore vision to a patient who was having problems seeing due to a drooping eyelid. At this point, the surgical procedure had still not been officially named.
Advancements in Blepharoplasty
In the 1800s, a surgeon named Von Graefe gave the name blepharoplasty to the eyelid surgeries he was performing. Along with a number of other surgeons, the surgical technique began to take the eyelid’s structure into consideration. Understanding the anatomy of the eyelid, including with the presence of fatty areas, helped lead Dr. Bourget to make his surgical incision on the inside of the lower eyelid.
This transconjunctival method is still used today for removing excess fat causing the bags under the eyes. It wasn’t long until Sir Archibald McIndoe came up with a way to make the incision below the lower eyelashes (transcutaneous). This technique gained a following due to the higher safety margin.
One of the next big advancements came in the 1970s when Dr. Furnas realized excess muscle in the upper eyelid often played a part in the eyelid’s sagging. This is why many blepharoplasty procedures involve the removal of a small strip of muscle, as well as fat and excess skin.
Dr. Michael Schwartz holds board certification from both the American Board of Otolaryngology and the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. The Florida facial plastic surgeon specializes in a number of cosmetic procedures, including blepharoplasty.
View before and after photos of blepharoplasty to see the difference this facial plastic surgery can make to sagging lids and under-eye bags. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Schwartz, you can reach his West Palm Beach office at 561-655-5562.