Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty) & Fat Transfer – the Technical stuff

The Process
Fat is harvested for transfer to the eyelids with a very minor tumescent liposuction procedure. Typically, a small amount of tumescent anaesthetic is placed into the fat around the abdomen or buttocks. Approximately 20-50mls of fat is removed. This process is usually very well tolerated.

Once the fat is extracted it is prepared for transfer and placed into small vials. The area/s of fat loss to the face are marked out and local anaesthetic is placed at a few specific locations on the face. A period of waiting will occur while the anaesthetic numbs the nerves suppling the skin to the treated area. It can take 10-30 minutes to treat each area. It is usual to feel a sense of pushing and pressure during this time but it should not be painful.

Subsequent to this, any loose skin is then removed by placing a fine incision along the crease of the eyelid, removing the excess skin and closing the incision with very fine sutures. In addition, a chemical peel may be used to improve the appearance of the eyelid skin.

Any area of fat loss can be treated, including the cheeks, temples and eyebrow areas.

Autologous Fat Transfer or AFT requires the establishment of blood supply to the transferred fat in order to become permanent. Fortunately in the area below the eye, most of the fat injected remains permanent and so only one to two treatments are generally needed. In other areas often only 20-30% of the fat transferred remains permanent, so four to five procedures may be required for the best results.

How long does the procedure last?
Unfortunately the ageing process and slow loss of our facial fat continues despite surgery! However, the fat replaced by AFT generally takes many years off the appearance of a patients face.

Side Effects and Recovery
Common side effects are bruising and swelling, particularly when the lower eyelids are treated. This can last up to a week to 10 days. Pain is usually mild to moderate post-operatively and easily managed with oral pain relief.

Extremely rare side effects such as inadvertent injection into a blood vessel leading to the eye have occurred in association with the use of a sharp injecting cannula. Blunt tipped cannulas are now used and, in combination with current injection techniques, should eliminate this problem.

Post-operatively, patients are asked to apply cold compresses over the first 24-48 hours, elevate their head for several days and use antibiotic eye drops or oral antibiotics for a week. There is often some swelling and bruising associated with the procedure which resolves over the ensuing week. The eyelids can be stiff and sore for up to several weeks. Patients cannot wear contact lenses for up to two weeks following the procedure as they may irritate the eyes. In most cases, make-up can be worn after about 10 days.

Eyelid surgery is a surgical procedure and the body has to heal before the full benefits can be seen – this will take up to several months. For many people, this procedure takes years off the appearance of their face. After this procedure patients have a softer, more fresh and youthful look to their eye area.

If you’ve been wondering how to get rid of your tired saggy eyelids and would like additional information, we would be happy to schedule a consultation.