While many individuals undergo eyelid surgery for aesthetic reasons, there are also many who are living with excess eyelid skin, inturning eyelids or droopy brows that can benefit from this procedure. In the case that excess eyelid skin droops low enough to impair your vision, insurance may cover the functional part of the eyelid surgery to help restore a clear line of vision.
As is the case with any facial procedure, you want to ensure you are working with a specialist. Andres Sárraga MD, FACS is a fellowship trained Eye Plastic & Reconstructive specialist and Plastic Surgeon, and is double board-certified. He has over 10 years experience in helping his patients achieve their desired results in eyelid and facial rejuvenation procedures. When making a decision for your procedure, you can be certain you are in good hands with Dr. Sárraga.
WHAT IS FUNCTIONAL EYELID SURGERY?
A functional blepharoplasty, or functional eyelid surgery, is performed similarly to those chosen for cosmetic reasons. However, they are deemed medically necessary for patients who have a reduced field of vision due to excessively drooping eyelids. Functional eyelid surgery can help to remove excess upper eyelid skin to improve vision. As a bonus this surgery, along with an improved line of vision, patients often experience a cosmetic enhancement of the eyes as well. In some cases, functional eyelid surgery is recommended by a patient’s ophthalmologist, who will then work alongside a plastic surgeon such as Dr. Sárraga to restore vision.
CANDIDATES FOR FUNCTIONAL EYELID SURGERY
A majority of patients who experience some vision loss due to drooping eyelids are good candidates for functional eyelid surgery. However, patients should be in good overall health, including their eye health. Prior to a functional eyelid surgery, you should have an ophthalmologist evaluate the health of your eyes to ensure that the procedure is a safe option for you.
Patients who are only concerned about the appearance of their eyelids are still candidates for blepharoplasty, but their surgery would be cosmetic in nature. While the surgery is performed in much the same way, some considerations—including the potential for insurance coverage—will vary.
The best way to determine whether you are a good candidate for functional eyelid surgery is to schedule a consultation with a plastic surgeon.
ANDRÉS SÁRRAGA MD FACS
DOUBLE BOARD-CERTIFIED PLASTIC SURGEON
Dr. Sárraga was born and raised in Puerto Rico, where he spent most of his life. He decided at a very early age to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and pursue a career in the art of medicine and surgery. Dr. Sárraga has been featured in several publications including Aventura Magazine™ and Healthy Valley® Magazine where he has discussed procedures including Facial Rejuvenation and Breast Surgery. Dr. Sárraga has been awarded one of Castle Connolly’s top doctors in Miami for the last 5 years. He has also been featured with his friend and mentor Dr. Storch. Since Dr. Storch’s retirement, Dr. Sárraga now runs ARTIS Institute Plastic Surgery as a single practitioner.
MEET DR. SÁRRAGA
THE FUNCTIONAL EYELID SURGERY PROCEDURE
Functional eyelid surgery is done similarly to cosmetic eyelid surgery. Surgery can be done under local anesthesia or a light sedative as an outpatient procedure. In some cases, however, general anesthesia will be used. This may be more likely if patients are having multiple surgeries in the same setting or if the surgery is more extensive. An incision will be created on the natural upper eyelid crease to remove excess skin and other tissues and lift the eyelid. Ptosis (drooping) repair can be done by going deep into the eyelid soft tissue and tightening the muscle tissue.
Incisions are created in the natural eyelid crease to make the incision and resulting scarring as inconspicuous as possible. Sutures will be used to close any incisions, and patients can return home after surgery to begin healing.
Recovery is very much like that of cosmetic eyelid surgery. Swelling and bruising will occur, which should subside within a week. Immediately after surgery, many patients choose to wear dark sunglasses to help with sensitivity. Eye drops are frequently prescribed to reduce dryness or other uncomfortable side effects. Patients should keep their head elevated during recovery to control and prevent swelling. As needed, pain medication may be prescribed to keep patients comfortable throughout the healing process. Many patients can return to week in about 7 to 10 days, though recovery time will differ from patient to patient. Dr. Sárraga will discuss your recovery time during your consultation.
Because functional eyelid surgery is done to improve the quality of life instead of cosmetic reasons, insurance often pays for part of this procedure. In order to qualify for insurance coverage, there must be a medical documentation that confirms that your upper eyelids impair your line of vision. Many health insurance companies also call for a visual field test, in which they will test the amount of obstruction. Regardless of health insurance coverage, it is typically recommended that patients have an examination with an ophthalmologist prior to any eyelid surgery to ensure that they can safely undergo the procedure. Contact your insurance provider to learn more.
SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION
If you are interested in functional eyelid surgery to improve your vision and overall well-being, contact the ARTIS Institute for Plastic Surgery today to schedule a consultation. We serve patients in the Aventura and South Florida area.
“His staff is remarkable”
Dr. Sarraga did an excellent job with my nose. I was looking for a natural finish and a slimmer tip to my nose and he did just that! His staff is remarkable and he takes the time with you to listen. I highly recommend him!