Your eyes are often the first facial features to show signs of aging. Over time, they may lose their youthful almond shape, the lids may begin to sag and develop excess skin, and wrinkles may emanate from the corners of the eyes (so-called “crow’s feet”). Additionally, fat that generally supports the eye area may shrink and shift in location, leaving hollows above or creating eyelid bags below. Eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) can address each of these problems. The procedure targets specific age-related changes for subtle yet effective rejuvenation.

Dr. Michael Zenn has extensive experience in cosmetic procedures of the head and neck. He is an expert in the anatomy and plastic surgery of the face. Patients under his care benefit from individualized attention and the highest degree of surgical skill. Dr. Zenn’s artistic and studied approach offers results that make you look like a younger, less tired version of yourself.


Dr. Zenn’s Approach to Eyelid Surgery

Dr. Zenn performs eyelid surgery to address signs of aging in the upper eyelids, the lower eyelids, or both. He sometimes recommends that patients combine eyelid surgery with other procedures for a more comprehensive aesthetic improvement of the periorbital area. In a common example, Dr. Zenn will perform a brow lift and blepharoplasty in the same surgical session. By elevating the eyebrows that droop over the eyelids, he can open the eye area further which gives the patient a more youthful and rested appearance.

With eyelid surgery, Dr. Zenn focuses on delicate and attractive enhancement. Typically, he will:
  • Remove only the amount of excess skin and fat necessary to achieve a natural, refreshed appearance.
  • Replenish lost fullness with fat grafting to fill the hollows above the eyes, smooth out bags below the eyes and/or fill in cheeks, all to give the face more youthful, shapely contours.
  • Employ precision instruments to create smaller, better-concealed incisions.


“Dr. Zenn’s kindness and skill has changed my life. It is amazing to me that someone who is so talented and skilled and confident can also be as approachable, kind, genuine and nice as Dr. Zenn is.”
-Happy Patient


Your Eyelid Surgery Consultation

Most patients come to their initial appointment with the goal of looking more youthful or simply more rested. Some begin exploring eyelid surgery because they want to target specific signs of aging. Others are unsatisfied with the results and recurring expense from Botox®and fillers. Whatever brings you to the practice, rest assured you are in good hands.

During your initial consultation, Dr. Zenn will encourage you to openly share your concerns about your eye area. This is a significant discussion that allows you to talk about what you specifically like and dislike about the way your eyes look and the changes you would like to achieve. Dr. Zenn will share his extensive gallery of before and after photos with you so you can see actual surgical results on patients with concerns similar to yours.

Dr. Zenn will take your complete medical history. Dry eye, glaucoma, vision disturbances, and other factors may require him to adjust your treatment plan.

Once Dr. Zenn has learned about your health background and has a clear understanding of your goals and expectations, he will examine you and determine whether eyelid surgery alone or in combination with other procedures is the right approach for your needs. Some patients are not ready for surgery and benefit from non-surgical treatments like Botox® and fillers. If so, patients can have these treatments at the time of consultation if desired – with no downtime. All injections are done by Dr. Zenn — not a nurse or a hired injector. If surgery is being considered, Dr. Zenn and our team will:

  • Go over the details of the procedure, explaining each step in the process, so you know what to expect.
  • Answer any additional questions you may have.

Your Experience with Eyelid Surgery

All Zenn Plastic Surgery patients receive care at an accredited medical facility in the Raleigh and Cary area. A board-certified anesthesiologist/CRNA will administer anesthesia and provide you with additional medication so that you sleep through the procedure and awaken pain-free and comfortable.

During eyelid surgery, Dr. Zenn will:
  • Perform the procedure using precision instruments and place incisions in areas where they will not be conspicuous.
  • Remove excess skin and fat to restore a youthful appearance to the eyes.
  • Use fat grafting to fill in hollow areas above the eyelids and eliminate bags beneath the lower eyelids.

Most patients are able to leave the surgical center about an hour after the procedure. Dr. Zenn suggests that patients rest at home for a week to allow time for healing. You may have some soreness, swelling, or bruising and much of this is relieved by icing the first few days. By the second week and after receiving Dr. Zenn’s approval, you can apply makeup and ease back into your daily routine. You (and your friends!) will notice eyes that look more alert, restful, and youthful.

Blepharoplasty Q&A

  • What Is Blepharoplasty (aka Eyelid Surgery)?

    Blepharoplasty, or eyelid surgery, is a type of surgery that takes that tired and aged appearance around the eyes and makes them more rested and youthful. Eyelid surgery accomplishes this by a combination of techniques, depending what is causing the problem. Some patients simply have excess skin or fat tissue. Others have more drooping of the eyelids or eyebrows that require a suspension or lift. Still others have loss of tissue around the eyes giving an “elderly” appearance that is best fixed with fat grafts. Eyes are often one of the first parts of the body to show aging, and not surprisingly are the first cosmetic surgery patients often have. Fortunately, if done correctly the first time, eyelid surgery results last and often do not ever need to be repeated.

  • What Will My Experience Be in Surgery?

    Blepharoplasty is often combined with other surgeries like facelifts but when performed alone can be performed under a local anesthesia. General anesthesia is preferred by some patients and is more commonly used when many procedures are being combined. Dr. Zenn only uses anesthesia administered from a board-certified anesthesiologist, in a certified Ambulatory Surgery Center. The area of surgery will be completely numb during the surgery and ice packs will be applied postoperatively to minimize bruising and swelling – also great for relief of any discomfort!

  • What Is the Recovery Like?

    While the surgery is not painful, patients are advised to take it easy the first week after the surgery. Most people want to be back in action as quickly as possible and relaxing the first week and putting icepacks on the eyes insures the least amount of swelling and bruising. Bruising, when present, may last up to 2 weeks. At that point, swelling is minimal and make up can be worn. Many patients choose to work from home during that second week if they do not want others to know they had a procedure. Surgery is outpatient and you will see Dr. Zenn the first day after surgery for a check. There will be an office visit at one week for removal of suture. With most patients back to work at two weeks, follow up after that is generally for your “after” pictures in 2 months.

  • What Are the Risks?

    Any surgery around the eyes must be taken seriously to avoid complications. Intimate knowledge of the anatomy is crucial to avoid bad scarring, lid malposition, corneal injury, and even blindness. These risks can be best minimized by choosing the right plastic surgeon. Dr. Zenn is an expert in eyelid surgery and is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, the only board recognized for plastic surgery by the American Board of Medical Specialties. He has also done an additional fellowship in Head and Neck Surgery. His experience and credentials are unsurpassed.

  • Will Others be able to tell I had Eyelid Surgery?

    The beauty of eyelid surgery is that the scars can be well hidden and hard for others to see. For the upper eyelids, the scar disappears whenever the eye is open. For the lower eyelid, the scar can be hidden directly under your eyelashes. In many cases, no skin incision is needed and excess fat giving you eyelid “bags” can be removed from inside the eyelid. Dr. Zenn will examine you and let you know what would give you the best and most natural result.

  • What causes me to look so tired all the time...even when I’m well rested?

    Due to the delicate nature of our eyes, the thin skin and fat that protects the eye area is often the first to show signs of aging. Upper eyelids may have extra skin, causing “hooding” of the eyes. Sometimes there is too much fat protruding around the upper eyes or, conversely, a loss of fat tissue around the eyes leaving them aged and hollow. The lower eye area famously has “bags”, a protrusion of the protective eye fat that appears as large bulges under the eyes. There may be excessive wrinkles in the lower area as well due to too much skin.  And finally, as we age our lower eyelids weaken and the shape of our eye opening becomes less almond-like and more rounded and elderly appearing.  All of these changes contribute to that tired look, even with a full night’s sleep!

  • What’s the Difference Between Upper and Lower Blepharoplasty?

    While both the upper and lower eyelids help to close the eyes, that’s where their similarities end.  Upper and lower eyelids have different anatomic features and are affected by aging differently.  Upper eyelids suffer less from effects of gravity, and more from things like allergies (rubbing) and damage from sun exposure.  An upper blepharoplasty is straightforward, with simple removal of skin and adjustment of the fat behind the lid.

    For lower blepharoplasty, things are not as straightforward. Dr. Zenn has the expertise to understand this and treats the lower eyelid accordingly.  Surgery on the lower lid tends to pull the eyelid down due to the weakness of the lid due to age.  And that is a tell-tale sign that someone has had a lower blepharoplasty.  Dr. Zenn’s technique will tighten and support the lower lid so the end result looks very natural.

    Incisions from upper and lower blepharoplasty are well hidden in the natural creases around the eyes.  In fact, sometimes, Dr. Zenn can remove fat bulges from inside the eyelid so there are no scars in the skin at all.  Surgery is not painful, and most patients can return to work in one week.

    Feeling great but looking tired?  Come see Dr. Zenn and see what the Triangle’s expert in facial aesthetic surgery can do for you.

Eyelid surgery is an aesthetic procedure that will subtly yet significantly rejuvenate your appearance. To schedule an initial consultation, patients should contact Zenn Plastic Surgery online or by phone at (919) 480-3885.