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 blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery) at my Toronto practice, I try to recommend nonsurgical alternatives to eyelid surgery for droopy or saggy eyelids, where appropriate. Our philosophy always includes exploring 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 eyelid 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. (You can read more about this in the journal Medical Laser.) A chemical peel might be another option to correct skin discoloration under the eyes.
When Surgery Is Better
Some lower eyelid concerns are conditions caused by fat pads in the lower eyelid gradually falling forward. I think that most of the best plastic surgeons agree that eyelid surgery is necessary in these cases. These conditions include:
- Dark circles
- Changes to the contours
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. The lower eyelid surgery before and after pictures shown in the following Instagram post demonstrate how effectively surgery improves lower eyelid circles.
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.
When Eyelid Surgery Is Better
In some cases, a surgical upper eyelid lift may be the best choice to create a more alert and youthful appearance. You can see one of my upper eyelid surgery patient’s results in the Instagram post below:
As I said earlier, nonsurgical blepharoplasty 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 a medical spa, blepharoplasty specialist, or plastic surgeon in the Toronto or Oshawa area, request a consultation using the online form or call us directly at either (416) 925-7337 (Toronto) or (905) 743-9888 (Oshawa) to schedule an appointment.