As amazing as gravity is at keeping you grounded, it is not your friend when it comes to getting older. What do you notice first about someone when you meet them? Because eye contact is so important when meeting someone new, most people see your eyes first. Unfortunately, as you age, fat loss in the face, coupled with gravity, can leave your eyes looking deflated and sagging. Fortunately, a visit with your board-certified plastic surgeon can get you plumped and tightened to help retain your youthful appearance. Eye and brow rejuvenation is an art form that should only be completed by a skilled plastic surgeon fluent in the techniques necessary to achieve beautiful and natural results.
The Art of Rejuvenating Your Eyes
Have you heard the saying, “the eyes are the windows to the soul?” One of the first areas most people show signs of aging is in the eye area. Multiple techniques can be used to combat the signs of aging around the eyes including fillers, fat transfer, and blepharoplasty. Determining which one is right for you requires expert consultation.
Combating the loss of fat around the eyes can be accomplished through fillers or fat transfer. Safe hyaluronic acid fillers such as Juvéderm or fat transfers can be your best friend or your worst enemy when it comes to early eye rejuvenation. Most fillers such as Juvéderm or Restylane work by replenishing the hyaluronic acid levels in your skin and pulling in moisture from the body to add to its plumping and smoothing effect. Your body naturally, over time, absorbs hyaluronic acid, thus making fillers such as Juvéderm a temporary solution ranging from 6 to 9 months. This is the most important thing to do early in the aging process around the eyelids as we lose fat in this area early beginning in our 30s.
Fat transfers as the name evokes involves moving fat from another part of the body to the face. Autologous fat (from your body) is usually taken from the inner thigh or abdominal area, as the fat cells are most similar to the fat deposits in the face. Fat from your body minimizes the risk of allergic reaction or rejection. Fat transfers are a great and more permanent option at restoring fullness to the eye area. Fillers and fat transfers require less recovery time than surgical options. You should expect a few days of recovery for fillers and about 5-7 days for fat transfers.
An experienced board-certified plastic surgeon should explain to you that fillers and fat transfers can only accomplish so much. Take a balloon, blow it up and then let the air out. Repeat this process a few times, and you will notice the balloon becomes less and less elastic until finally it does not resemble a balloon at all. As patients continue to lose facial fat, substantial sagging begins. Once this starts, a more comprehensive facial rejuvenation is generally in order, no matter how old you are.
Blepharoplasty also known as eyelid surgery is necessary for patients who want to restore the youthful appearance of their eyes when they have loose or sagging skin that cannot be corrected with fillers or fat transfers. Eyelid surgery involves making small incisions following the natural lines of your upper eyelid creases and just below the lashes on the lower lids. Then excess skin and only a minimal (or none at all) amount of fat is removed before skillfully suturing the skin back together. Recovery from blepharoplasty requires 7-10 days. However, it will take up to 3 weeks before you can resume exercise activities. It may take up to 3-4 weeks before most of the swelling subsides.
The Art of Lifting Your Brows
If your eyes are the windows to your soul, then your eyebrows can be considered the valance. Sometimes when replacing your windows, you must update your window dressings to achieve the full refreshed effect. If you have brow sagging and extra upper eyelid skin, you are a candidate for both a brow lift and an eyelid surgery. A brow lift can be accomplished in the following three ways:
- Endoscopic brow lift – This approach is used for minimal brow sagging, this is the least invasive with multiple, small incisions in the hairline.
- Temporal brow lift – This method is for patients with deeper furrows, outer brow sagging and uses slightly longer incisions than endoscopic, which allows repositioning of the outer brow.
- Coronal brow lift— This technique is the most invasive of the three and requires more recovery time. The incision is in the scalp from ear to ear lifting and removing excess skin. The incision is usually hidden in the hair, unless the forehead needs to be shortened, in which case the incisions will be at the hairline. This is the most powerful technique to elevate the brow long term.
The different techniques required to achieve the results that you desire should be discussed with a board-certified plastic surgeon. Recovery time from a brow lift may require anywhere from a week to several weeks depending on the technique used, and this information should be provided during your consultation.
I cannot stress to you enough how important it is to speak with a true expert in facial aging who is a board-certified plastic surgeon who specializes in, or routinely performs, facial plastic surgery when considering work on your eyes or brows. Eye and brow rejuvenation is an art form. Because the eyes are the first thing people notice about you when you meet, you need an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon who is an expert in the field and who can show you proof of exceptional results.
Dr. Rod J. Rohrich is an internationally known and respected plastic and cosmetic surgeon operating in the Dallas, Texas area. He is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and has led most of the key professional organizations in plastic surgery in the USA. He has received numerous honors and awards in plastic and cosmetic surgery, both nationally and internationally. In addition to his extensive surgical expertise and talent as a gifted surgeon, he is the Founding Chair and Distinguished Teaching Professor of Plastic Surgery at UT Southwestern Medical Center. He has authored hundreds of innovative academic publications in the field as well as serving as the editor of the leading plastic and reconstructive surgery journal — the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Dr. Rohrich has also performed philanthropic work as a civic leader of organizations such as the March of Dimes, American Cancer Association and Save the Children and has established the Rod J. Rohrich, M.D. Foundation, which supports medical students in his native North Dakota. He is also a founding member and President of AiRS, the Alliance in Reconstructive Surgery, which serves to support education and treatment for Breast Cancer Survivors, regardless of financial status. Dr. Rohrich has been featured in a number of notable publications such as Texas Monthly and on television shows including Oprah, the View and Good Morning America and is currently working to provide a reliable source of public-centered information in the fields of plastic and cosmetic surgery as well as other areas of medicine.