Eyelid surgery can be carried out either under local anaesthetic or general anaesthesia. We advise that patients have an overnight stay in the hospital if they are having lower eyelid surgery.
The risks of general anaesthesia include deep vein thrombosis in pulmonary embolism, but these are very rare during this type of surgery. Other risks of general anaesthesia include chest infection.
The specific risks relating to eyelid surgery include:
Bleeding – It is not uncommon to have minor bleeding immediately after surgery which stops with simple pressure.
Bruising – To be expected and varies between patients. Usually resolved by ten days.
Unfavourable scarring – All scars are permanent but usually settle very well with eyelid surgery. It is possible that some scars can be red and thickened and may take up to 6 months to settle down.
Dry eyes– Usually short-lived but can be worse in patients who already have dry eyes before their operation – often an indication not to perform surgery in the first place.
Grittiness and watering – Usually short lived.
Under correction – We never wish to overcorrect as this can cause pulling on the lower eyelid or difficulty closing the eyes – sometimes further surgery may be required to remove residual skin.
Ectropion – Where the lid no longer rests on the globe of the eye (results from removing too much skin or infection) – This causes watering and redness and can be a difficult problem to sort out. It is a rare complication, and all efforts are made to avoid it (being conservative with skin excision and tightening the lower eyelid to support it).
Asymmetry – Minor degrees of eyelid asymmetry is common in the general population. This finding is no different following eyelid surgery.
Blindness – Extremely rare (1 in 30,000 patients) and results from bleeding behind the eye which is not treated promptly.
Unsatisfactory result – A small number of patients may end up with a degree of dissatisfaction at the outcome, and further revisional surgery may be necessary.