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Nonsurgical Alternatives to Eyelid Surgery: Do They Work?

Woman proudly showing off her facial features

I once answered a question on the RealSelf website from someone who wanted to know if she would be better off getting lower eyelid surgery or nonsurgical laser skin resurfacing to improve the hollow appearance under her eyes. The answer, in my opinion, is to consider the best approach in each specific situation. When I meet with a patient considering eyelid surgery at my Toronto practice, I try to recommend the least invasive treatment that addresses their specific concerns and provides a long-lasting outcome.

Nonsurgical treatments for upper and lower eyelid concerns are often effective alternatives to surgery or may be combined with blepharoplasty to produce the best results. When I examine patients and listen to them describe what bothers them about the appearance of their eyelids, my job is to recommend a personalized treatment plan.

The questions I hear from patients include both the upper and lower eyelids, and they often surround some common myths about blepharoplasty. In this blog post, I’ll summarize the various nonsurgical alternatives to surgery that can be effective in the right cases.

Laser Treatments for Lower Eyelids?

If you’re concerned about fine lines or lax skin, laser skin resurfacing treatment can be an excellent solution. A chemical peel might be another option to correct skin discoloration under the eyes. Other common lower eyelid concerns include dark circles, bulges, or changes to the contours, which are conditions caused by fat pads in the lower eyelid gradually falling forward. I think that most of the best plastic surgeons in Toronto agree that eyelid surgery is necessary in these cases. The surgery removes and repositions fat to retain the volume that creates a youthful appearance. I may even recommend transferring a small amount of fat from a patient’s abdomen into the undereye area to restore lost facial volume—a procedure called fat grafting.

I also use surgery to remove excess skin because laser treatments or chemical peels provide limited benefits, especially considering that the surgical procedure gets exceptional, long-lasting results.

Nonsurgical Treatments for Droopy Upper Eyelids?

BOTOX® injections can significantly improve the contours of the upper eyelid and brow. Treatments should address both of these areas because they are interrelated and neuromodulators that minimize wrinkles can produce a slight brow lift, too. Dermal fillers such as Restylane® can also play a role in creating a more youthful-looking eyebrow arch.

I wouldn’t recommend using chemical peels, laser skin resurfacing treatments, or radiofrequency devices on the upper eyelid skin. And, in some cases, upper eyelid surgery may be the best choice to create a more alert and youthful appearance.

As I said earlier, nonsurgical treatments can be valid under the right circumstances. But the dramatic changes produced by upper and lower eyelid surgery—which can be combined in a single procedure—are apparent when you look at before-and-after photos of some of my previous patients. If you’re looking for an eyelid surgery specialist in the Toronto area, contact our office using the online form to request a consultation or call us directly at either (416) 925-7337 (Toronto) or (905) 743-9888 (Oshawa) to schedule an appointment.

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Derek Ford, MD FRCSC

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Derek T. Ford, MD, FRCSC