Xquisite Magazine (Spring 2006)
ASK THE DOCTOR
One of Las Vegas’ premier plastic surgeons, Dr. George John Alexander is a board-certified plastic and cosmetic surgeon. He is board certified by the American Board of Surgery and the National Board of Medical Examiners. Founder and former Chief of Plastic Surgery at Mike O’Callaghan Federal Hospital, Dr. Alexander is the current Chief of Plastic Surgery at Mountain View Hospital. He is a graduate of Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, DC. During his residency, the United States government named Dr. Alexander the number one doctor in his program.
Q: I have noticed that as I’ve gotten older the half circle under my eyes seems to look more puffy and swollen. My friend is finding that hers is looking more sunken in and hollow. In both cases, we feel it makes us look tired or worn-out. Are there procedures to correct these problems?
A : The area around the eye can become surrounded by excess fat and skin as a result of aging or genetics, leaving a person looking tired, worn-out or sad. The loss of fat around the eye -also a by-product of aging- results in a hollow or sunken look. One of the top five cosmetic procedures for both women and men in the United States is blepharoplasty, the cosmetic eyelid surgery that can correct both of these problems. In fact, in 2004, over 230,000 people decided to liven up the appearance of their eyes with this procedure.
Blepharoplasty removes excess fat and skin and readjusts the muscle around the upper and lower eyelids. In the lower eyelids, an inconspicuous incision is made typically beneath the lower lashes. Excess skin or fat can be removed through the incision, or the muscle can be tightened. Fat can also redistributed, which will minimize puffiness and bulges around the eye or it can be transplanted to the eye to try to restore fullness. A transplant is less common than the usual blepharoplasty because most people suffer from having too much fat or skin around the eye.
Every patient’s needs are different and though blepharoplasty can be performed as a single procedure, often times it’s performed in conjunction with another procedure to revitalize the face. For example, many people opt to pair it with a facelift or a forehead/brow lift to further improve the appearance of their face and upper brow. It’s sometimes done with a non-surgical procedure like Botox or a special skin care regime that addresses sun damage.
The procedure takes approximately 90 minutes and is performed on an outpatient basis under a local or general anesthesia. Stitches are removed in approximately three to four days and patients can plan to resume most normal activity in about a week. However, they should not do any strenuous exercise or lifting for at least one month after surgery.
Patients typically range from their early 30s to mid-70s; and as with any cosmetic procedure, the ideal candidates are those in good health, that don’t smoke, and that have realistic expectations.