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What is an Blepharoplasty?

A blepharoplasty (also known as eyelid surgery or for short a bleph.) is a surgical procedure in which the eyelids are modified by removing or repositioning excess tissue (such as skin and fat). It improves the look of your eyes by making you look more youthful and rejuvenated. There are three options for a blepharoplasty: upper, lower, or both. A blepharoplasty is considered a cosmetic procedure and cannot be billed to your insurance.

See an Upper Bleph performed by Dr. McClellan

Watch Dr. McClellan perform an Upper Blepharoplasty in the YouTube video below.

Simply click on the picture.

How do I know what type of Blepharoplasty I need?

Upper Blepharoplasty – A candidate for an upper blepharoplasty would likely complain about their upper eye lids drooping down and blocking their peripheral vision. You may also have an excess build-up of fat along the middle of your upper lid going in to the corner of your eye. In an upper blepharoplasty, the excess skin and fat is removed. An upper blepharoplasty is the most common of the three options.

Lower Blepharoplasty – A candidate for a lower blepharoplasty would likely complain about saggy, puffy, or wrinkly skin below their eyes. Many people that consider a lower blepharoplasty also complain of dark circles below their eyes. While the procedure will eliminate the excess skin and fat, it will not completely get rid of the dark circles. Exclusively at McClellan Plastic Surgery we offer a Laser Eye Package, which is a combination of laser treatments that will alleviate most, if not all of the dark circles beneath your eyes. To learn more about the Laser Eye Package click here.

Upper and Lower Blepharoplasty – Candidates for this dual procedure would have significant sagginess of the upper eyelids as well as inflated-looking skin beneath their eyes.

Am I a candidate for Blepharoplasty?

Once you have decided that you would like to have a blepharoplasty you should first investigate whether or not you are eligible. Although one should come in for a free consultation to determine whether or not surgery is an option, here are a few of the reasons patients are typically turned away from our office:

  • Dr. McClellan does not perform cosmetic surgery on smokers. This is for a variety of reasons including poor wound healing and an increased risk of infection

  • It is becoming more and more common for younger women as well as men to believe they need a blepharoplasty. Dark circles below your eyes may be a problem you’ve had for your entire life and often younger adults think that they need a lower blepharoplasty in order to fix this. However, surgery is only warranted if Dr. McClellan feels that a blepharoplasty is the only way to get the best results. More often than not, he will steer patients to less-invasive procedures, like laser treatments, in order to help the patient reach their goals.

What are the risks with Blepharoplasty?

In every surgery there are risks involved; however, a blepharoplasty is relatively safe when performed by a well-trained surgeon. Here are a few of the risks and complications that are associated with a blepharoplasty:

  • Infection – This is a risk with any type of surgery.

  • Loss of vision – It is normal to experience a slight reduction in vision immediately after surgery mainly due to the high level of swelling. Permanent loss of vision is extremely rare, although is a possibility.

  • Ectropion – This is a complication of a lower blepharoplasty in which the lower lid is pulled downward and your eyes fail to close completely. Ectropion happens when too much skin is removed from the lower eyelid.

  • Dry eyes

Where is the incision for Blepharoplasty?

Upper Blepharoplasty – If only fat is going to be removed, the incision is made at the lateral canthus, the lateral angle where your upper and lower eyelids meet, and the fat may then be removed. If excess skin is also going to be removed, a second incision is made near the natural crease of the upper lid. The amount of skin that is to be removed determines how far away from the crease the incision must be made.

Lower Blepharoplasty – If only fat is going to be removed, a transconjunctival incision is used. This incision is made on the inside of the lower lid so that there is minimal to no scarring. If skin must also be removed, the incision is made directly below the lower lash line.

What can I expect for Surgery and Recovery?

In a very limited number of cases, an upper blepharoplasty can be performed in our office procedure room with local numbing. However, in most cases, an upper blepharoplasty as well as a lower, or combination, are performed at Monongalia General Hospital. The procedure takes from one to three hours and is an outpatient surgery (you will go home the same day).Dr. McClellan will see you for your post-operative visit the day after your surgery. The level of swelling varies from patient to patient, but generally swelling is dramatic for the first two to three days after surgery. About five days after the surgery, Dr. McClellan will remove your sutures and give you more definite instructions once he sees how quickly your swelling and bruising are resolving.Most patients return to work about seven to ten days after surgery (for non-strenuous work). More demanding activities such as jogging can be resumed approximately three weeks following surgery. It is important to note again that every patient is different so the time that it takes for all swelling and bruising to go down may be one to several weeks.

What should I expect at my consultation?

For a blepharoplasty consultation you should allow 30 to 45 minutes in our office. Plan to come to the office about 10 to 15 minutes prior to your appointment time to fill out our new patient forms. During your consultation Dr. McClellan will answer any questions that you may have as well as give you his opinion as to whether or not he thinks a blepharoplasty is necessary or if another, less invasive procedure would be more beneficial. As with any type of consultation, it is often helpful to have a list of specific questions that you would like to be answered or if you need clarification. After you meet with Dr. McClellan, you will then be escorted to Becky Miller’s office. She is our patient coordinator and will provide you with the price quote for the surgery as well as give you information about what financing options are available. As the patient coordinator, Becky makes every effort to ensure that you are ready and feel completely comfortable prior to surgery. This may include repeat visits to the office or answering any questions you may have following your initial consultation.

Out of town patients

Dr. McClellan performs blepharoplasty on many patients that drive a distance from throughout West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Patients frequently come from Beckley, Clarksburg, Charleston, Huntington, and Parkersburg, West Virginia; Deep Creek, Oakland, and Western Maryland, as well as Uniontown and Waynesburg Pennsylvania. Our office is very adept at easing the process of distant consultation, travel and flow-up for our patients.

We have hotel information available and have negotiated special rates for patients who travel.


A few frequently asked questions about Blepharoplasty you should consider before undergoing surgery include:

Is the surgeon Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
How many of these does the surgeon perform yearly?
What is the incision like?
What steps are taken to minimize infection and complications? 

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