Eye bag surgery is a cosmetic procedure known as lower blepharoplasty. It lifts the lower eyelid and removes excess tissue from the under-eye area.
This article explains the eye bag surgery procedure, provides some nonsurgical alternatives, and discusses the costs and potential side effects of the surgery.
When a surgeon performs a lower blepharoplasty procedure, their goal is to treat the excess under-eye tissue, which causes eye bags.
An eye bag surgery procedure will usually consist of the following stages:
- Anesthesia: A surgeon may carry out an eye bag procedure under local or general anesthetic.
- Incision: The surgeon will usually make an incision, or cut, just below the lower eyelashes or in the inside of the lower eyelid. They will then remove the excess skin or fat tissue.
- Closing: The surgeon will then use stitches or glue to close the incision. If they use stitches, the person will need to have them removed within a week of the operation.
- Recovery: The results of the procedure will gradually become clear, as the swelling and bruising subside.
Doctors will usually discharge people undergoing eyelid surgery on the same day, with full instructions on how to look after themselves. They will not be able to drive themselves home afterward, and they should make sure they have someone with them for the first night after the operation.
Before and after
Other surgical procedures
For people with eye bags that are less prominent and have no excess fat in the under-eye area, a cosmetic surgeon may suggest the skin pinch technique.
The skin pinch technique does not remove fat from the under-eye area. The surgeon will simply pinch and remove the excess skin.
People may think that surgery is the only option for eye bag removal, but there are are plenty of other options — some of which are less invasive than others.
A person seeking nonsurgical options to reduce their eye bags may want to talk to a cosmetic professional about the following procedures:
Microneedling uses a process called collagen induction therapy (CIT) to reduce the appearance of eye bags.
CIT stimulates the body’s cells to produce more collagen and elastin. These are the proteins that make the skin smooth and tight.
Learn more about microneedling here.
Chemical peels use various formulations of botanical or natural acids to stimulate skin rejuvenation, resulting in fewer wrinkles and smoother skin. They work by removing the damaged outer layers, leaving the skin tighter and firmer.
Therapists use heat-producing lasers to stimulate skin cell renewal. The short, concentrated beams of light remove the outer layer of skin, stimulating collagen production. When the skin heals, it becomes firmer and smoother.
Some people may prefer injectable fillers. These are temporary.
A therapist can inject the filler under and around the eye bags to camouflage them and soften the transition from the lower lid to the cheek.
The procedure does not require anesthetics and should only cause minimal pain.
Tea bag home remedy
If a person wants to treat their eye bags at home, using teabags as cold compresses may help reduce eye swelling.
However, it is important to note that no scientific evidence has proven the effectiveness of this remedy. If there is any improvement in the appearance of eye bags, it will be temporary.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons’ figures for 2018 show the average cost of a blepharoplasty procedure to be around $3,163.
That said, a cosmetic surgeon’s level of experience and location can affect the exact price, as can several other factors.
It is also important to remember that medical insurance does not usually cover the costs of blepharoplasty.
Costs and fees may include:
- the surgeon’s fee
- hospital or surgical facility costs
- anesthetic fees
- medication prescription costs
- medical test costs
During the consultation, a healthcare professional will usually review the person’s medical history, including their allergies and any previous operations. They will also test the person’s vision and check that they can produce tears.
A person can also expect the following during a consultation:
- Setting expectations: The healthcare professional will ask what the person expects from the surgery.
- Discussing preexisting eye conditions: They will also note any preexisting eye conditions and assess whether or not they could make surgery risky or unsuitable.
- Having photographs taken: A healthcare professional may also photograph the person’s eyes at the consultation.
A person will usually experience some swelling, bruising, and irritation immediately after an eye bag operation. They may also have dry, uncomfortable eyes. This usually lasts for around 2 weeks.
The healthcare team will usually prescribe medication, cold compresses, and lotions to help ease these side effects. They may also advise people to wear darkly tinted sunglasses when outside until their eyes are completely healed. Healing usually takes a few months.
If the surgeon uses stitches, they will need to remove them around 5 days after the procedure.
Blepharoplasty is a surgical procedure and can therefore carry risks. These include:
- eye dryness
- light or sun sensitivity
- swelling and bruising
- difficulty closing the eyes
- risks associated with anesthetic
- ectropion, or an outward rolling of the lower eyelid
- lid lag, or a pulling down of the lower eyelid, which is usually temporary
- changes in vision, which can be temporary or permanent
- pain, which can be temporary or permanent (in rare cases)
- blindness, which can be temporary or permanent (in rare cases)
If the surgeon removes too much skin or uneven amounts of fat, a person might be left with an uneven or tight appearance in the area. In these cases, a person may need to undergo a corrective procedure to create a more natural look.
A person should follow these tips when preparing for surgery:
- Stop smoking.
- Avoid any medications, foods, or beverages a doctor suggests avoiding.
- Avoid taking anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
- Avoid taking any herbal supplements.
- Arrange for someone to drive them home after the operation.
- Arrange for someone to stay with them for the first night after surgery.
Eye bags are areas of swelling or puffiness underneath the eyes. As people age, the muscles supporting the eyelids soften, and the fat falls into the lower eyelids. This can cause eye bags.
Eye bags are harmless, but some people do not like the way they look. Surgeons perform eye bag surgery to reduce the appearance of eye bags. There are also nonsurgical treatment options available, such as microneedling.
People may want to reduce the appearance of eye bags with surgery. Eye bag surgery is known as lower blepharoplasty. It is an operation that reduces the appearance of excess skin or fat underneath the eyes.
People tend to recover from the procedure in a few months.
As with all surgical procedures, lower blepharoplasty does come with risks and side effects, including bruising, swelling, and, in rare cases, blindness.
If a person does not want surgery, there are alternative treatment options available.