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  • Chris Thiagarajah MD

What the different types of cosmetic eyelid surgery?


Is all eyelid surgery the same? What is the difference between ptosis surgery and blepharoplasty? How does that play a role with cosmetic eyelid surgery?

One of the most common questions I get from patients and even other doctors are about the variations in eyelid surgery. Patients and doctors often lump cosmetic eyelid surgery into one giant group. A neighbor may say that they have gotten their eyelids done. Your boss may say she had her eyelids done. “Eyelids done” however could refer to very different procedures.

Often when patients refer to “eyelids done” they are referring to some type of eyelid surgery. This often can involve two different procedures. The first is called ptosis surgery. The second is blepharoplasty.

Ptosis surgery involves opening the aperture of the eyelid or how wide open the eyelids are. This is often done by tightening the muscles of eyelid opening in the eyelid.

That surgery is completely different than a blepharoplasty. A blepharoplasty involves removal of fat and skin from the upper and/or lower eyelid. This surgery does not open the eyes but instead gets the excess skin and fat from the eyelid. Sometimes, fat is repositioned into the tear trough. Blepharoplasty is often associated with cosmetic eyelid surgery.

In our practice as eyelid specialists in Denver, we perform cosmetic eyelid surgery that also may entail ptosis surgery along with blepharoplasty. We are able to do this as oculoplastic surgeons or eyelid specialists because we have the specialized training around eyelid surgery. Non specialists will often remove skin and fat but leave the eyelids in a drooping position.

The decision to have ptosis surgery with your blepharoplasty is a personal one. It is a cosmetic issue if the eyelids are sitting in a low position and if the eyelids should be raised and how far. This is decided upon between your oculoplastic surgeon and yourself before surgery.

Here are a couple examples:


This patient had just skin removed from the upper eyelid and the eyelid height raised so the eyelid is more open.


This patient had skin removed. Her eyelid was open but the skin was hanging over the eyelid edge.


This patient had solely the eyelid raised or open without skin removal in the upper eyelid.

Hopefully these examples will help you understand the difference between the different eyelid surgeries that are available. Specialists of the eyelid or oculoplastic surgeons such as myself are happy to discuss your options and go over what is needed for your best appearance. Call our office for a consultation 303 468 8844.


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