This is what happens when you get an eyelift: part 2

Getting back to work (and life) after eyelift surgery

In the last blog post entitled “This is what happens when you have an eyelid lift“, I shared the video chronicle of my 37-year-old patient who wanted a cosmetic upper eyelid lift because she saw her lids getting droopier and heavier after having 2 children.

At the end of the video, she talks about how happy she is that her family noticed her eyes look brighter and she can finally see her eyelid makeup.

I’ve received a few emails asking about the upper eyelid lift recovery.  More specifically:

When can I go back to work after a lid lift?

This depends on the type of work and how you want to be seen.  There is a restriction on heavy lifting and strenuous activity for 1 – 2 weeks.  In terms of looking your best, that can take a few weeks as well.

Most people have their worst swelling at 24-48 hours.  Look at this photo series that my patient shared:

eyelid surgery recovery










After the initial 1-2 days when things look very puffy and strange , swelling gradually subsides over a period of days and weeks.

Some people get back to work after a long weekend..

Others will want to wait 7-10 days before “presenting” themselves in social situations.  This will partially depend on if there was any bruising after the eyelid lift and how you feel about others seeing you with some minor signs of having something done.

At the one week point, if you were to walk around the streets of New York City without sunglasses, you probably wouldn’t turn heads.  If you went to dinner with a close friend one week after eye lift surgery, they would probably notice something but they may not know exactly what was done.

After recovery most people forget.

Because the healing process is relatively quick and painless, most people tend to forget that it even happened.  I think my patients seem to be focused on the results rather than the recovery phase and they are happy with their new look.

Sometimes, it’s nice to have an imposed “rest time” in our lives to enjoy a book or two and then emerge bright-eyed and refreshed.

Here’s my patient after the eyelid swelling disappeared and life returned to normal:

after eye lift ny




Brett Kotlus, M.D.

135 E. 71 street

Phone: 212-882-1011

What are festoons ?

Festoons, cheek bags, and malar mounds

These are all part of the same aesthetic problem. They are bags or bulges found on your upper cheek, below the eyelids and below the bony circle under your eyes called the orbital rim.  They are seen in both young and old people, yet they tend to get worse with age.

Festoons and eye bags are not the same things

Eye bags are the puffy areas within the eyelids that are caused by bulging fat orbital fat pads, the fat that lives around the eyeballs.  Festoons occur lower on the face, at the upper cheeks.

cheek bags





One side looks worse than the other- why?

It’s not uncommon for one cheek to look worse than the other.  Facial asymmetry is noticeable in almost everyone, and festoons follow this rule.  Here’s an example of a severe festoon on one side:

uneven cheek bags


Why do we get cheek bags?

Festoons are caused by several conditions happening at once.  The location of the folding skin and creasing is formed by the connective tissue bands that provide structural support between the skin, fat, muscle, and bones in your face.  These bands or “ligaments” dictate the position of creases and folds on your face.  With age, you may lose structural support and volume in your face.  Volume loss combined with gravitational effects leads to aging signs such as jowls, sagging eyebrows and eyelids, and you guessed it, festoons.

Is there a correction for festoons?

Yes.  Treatment involves a combination approach that addresses each of the underlying causes of the problem.  Laser skin resurfacing, volume replacement (fat or filler injections), and lower eyelid lift surgery are often used to minimize or eliminate the festoon.

Here is an example of my patient who underwent lower eyelid surgery, fractional laser skin resurfacing, and fat injections to reduce both eye bags and festoons in a single procedure.

eyes fat grafting

Lower eyelid lift with fat grafting





















I routinely see clients who are concerned with festoons in my NY office and I’ve noticed that the festoon page on my website is one of the most frequently visited.


Brett Kotlus, M.D.

135 E. 71 street

Phone: 212-882-1011