The function or appearance of the eyelid can change due to a birth defect, injury, or past infection. It causes an asymmetry between the two eyes, and can even reduce vision if the eye closure is affected, or if the eye lashes grow inwards. In most patients, it is mainly a cosmetic concern. Surgery can correct this problem by skin grafting, or eyelid reconstruction.
Consultation Evaluation of eyelid abnormality involves several critical measurements, and hence an actual check-up is far more informative than just photographs or video consult. The check-up decide the type of surgery to be performed, and also determines the scope and extent of side-effects if any. Everything that you read on internet as 'side effects of eyelid surgery' may not be applicable to you.
Surgical Technique Several surgical options are available. The choice of surgery depends upon the cause, and severity of the droop.
1) Skin grafting: When the eyelid has lost some or all of the skin, it needs to be replaced. We generally borrow extra skin from the other eyelid, or from behind the ear. Although the eyelid position will get corrected, the grafted skin can look slightly of a different color and texture.
2) Eyelid reconstruction: Sometimes, the eyelid tissues are adequate, but dis-organized, or healed in an abnormal position. Here, we simply place it back in its normal position.The scar is faint, and improvement is the goal.
Recovery Time Surgery for skin graft or eyelid reconstruction can be performed as a day-care procedure or with a 1-day stay in the hospital. It is performed under general anesthesia and can take about 1-2 hours. After surgery, the discomfort is moderate, and stitches are removed in 1- weeks. Most patients are back to light work within 2 weeks. Minimal bruising may persist for 2-4 weeks.
How perfect is the surgery? Eyelid reconstructions are not an exact science. Although we do our best, results vary from person to person based on different healing patterns.Usually, improvement is the goal, and in a minority of cases, a touch up procedure or second procedure may also be required.
Will insurance cover it? Health insurance will cover the costs of and eyelid reconstruction of skin grafting surgery, if the injury/cause occured during the active policy period. Any congenital deformity (present since birth) is not covered by most insurance policies. It is important to check these clauses in your insurance plan before proceeding with insurance claim.
Before-After photo gallery: