What is Eyelid Surgery?

Eyelid surgery, or blepharoplasty, corrects signs of aging in the eye area. Over time, our eyes lose their youthful almond shape, lids begin to sag and develop excess skin, and wrinkles appear at the corners of the eyes (crow’s feet).  Additionally, fat that normally supports the eye area may shrink and shift in location, leaving hollows above or creating eyelid bags below. Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Zenn performs eyelid surgery in Raleigh to correct these issues, to leave you looking younger and refreshed!


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Dr. Zenn’s Approach To Blepharoplasty

Blepharoplasty can correct signs of aging through a variety of techniques, depending on the cause of the problem. It may include the upper eyelids, lower eyelids, or both. Therefore, correctly diagnosing the problem is a crucial first step toward fixing it. Dr. Zenn’s extensive and unique experience with complex surgeries in the eye area allows him to diagnose issues quickly and accurately. Upon examination, Dr. Zenn may find that you have excess skin or fat tissue in the eye area that needs removal. Or, he may determine you have drooping eyelids or eyebrows that require a suspension or lift. Perhaps he will find a loss of fatty tissue around your eyes, causing them to look hollow; this is best fixed with fat grafts. Dr. Zenn may determine that you are not a surgical candidate yet, and suggest BOTOX® and/or dermal fillers for improvement. It is common for patients to experience more than one of these conditions at a time.

Why Choose Dr. Zenn?

  • Unparalleled Training, Extraordinary Experience
  • Named one of America's Best Plastic Surgeons 2022 and 2023 by Newsweek for Eyelid Surgery 
  • Plastic Surgery Residency: Harvard / Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Facial Surgery Fellowship: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
  • General Surgery Residency: Cornell / NY Presbyterian Hospital
  • Medical School: Cornell Medical College (Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society)
  • Undergraduate: University of Pennsylvania (Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society)
  • Former Vice Chief, Full Professor, Duke Plastic Surgery
  • Director of Duke Plastic Surgery Resident training for a decade
  • Has performed thousands of complex facial surgeries over his 25-year career
  • Internationally recognized as a master surgeon by peers
  • Board Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery

Combination Procedures Are Right For Some

In some cases, Dr. Zenn recommends that patients combine a blepharoplasty with other procedures for a more comprehensive aesthetic improvement. Often he will perform a browlift and eyelid surgery in the same surgical session. By elevating eyebrows that droop over the eyelids, Dr. Zenn can often open the eye area further, which gives the patient a more youthful and rested appearance.

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Your Blepharoplasty Consultation

During your initial consultation for your blepharoplasty surgery in Raleigh, we encourage you to share openly about your aesthetic concerns. This is an unrushed opportunity to talk about what you like and dislike about the way your eyes look. It also gives you a chance to get to know Dr. Zenn.

Once Dr. Zenn learns about your medical background and has a clear understanding of your goals and expectations, he will examine you to determine if eyelid surgery alone or in combination with other procedures is the right approach for your needs. 

Following your exam, Dr. Zenn will share his extensive gallery of before and after photos with you, highlighting patients who had similar concerns to yours. He will also explain what he did to correct the problem.

Blepharoplasty Before & After

View More Blepharoplasty Results

Creating A Plan That’s Right For You

Some people are not ready for surgery and benefit from injectable treatments like BOTOX and facial fillers. Patients can have non-surgical treatments at the time of consultation if desired, with no downtime.

Your personal treatment plan will be developed based on aesthetic evaluation, your desires, and the amount of downtime you have available for recovery. When you are ready to move forward, your pre-operative appointment and surgery will be scheduled.

Your Eyelid Surgery Experience

Eyelid Surgery is an outpatient procedure, and most patients leave the surgery center an hour after surgery. Dr. Zenn performs surgery in state-of-the-art facilities at The Plastic Surgery Center (TPSC). TPSC includes a discreet first-floor entrance and a separate waiting area for families to provide privacy for our discerning clientele. TPSC is accredited by the Joint Commission and AAAASF.  What separates Dr. Zenn from other plastic surgeons is that he always employs a board-certified anesthesiologist (MD) to administer anesthesia instead of relying on a nurse or an anesthesiologist who supervises multiple patients at once. This extra step ensures that patients are guaranteed a smooth surgery and minimal side effects upon awakening.

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During Blepharoplasty Surgery, Dr. Zenn Will:

  • Remove only the amount of excess skin and fat necessary to achieve a natural, refreshed appearance. If too much skin is removed, the eye may not close naturally.
  • Replenish lost fullness with a facial fat transfer to fill in the hollows above the eyes, smooth out any under-eye bags and/or fill in the cheeks, all to give the face more youthful, shapely contours. Fat grafting is a game changer; it can make a huge difference in your final result and is often a missed opportunity for correction.
  • Proactively tighten the eyelid by strengthening the supporting structures of the eye. This advanced technique, called a canthopexy, will prevent the lower lid from being pulled down and stop the shape of the eye from changing following surgery.
  • Employ precision instruments to create small, very well-concealed incisions.
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“I have received so many compliments about how “radiant” I look!! If I could give 6 stars, I would! Sincere thanks to Dr. Zenn and his team.” 

- Blepharoplasty Patient

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Your Recovery From Blepharoplasty 

Patients undergoing eyelid surgery in Raleigh are advised to take it easy during the first week post-surgery. While eyelid surgery is not painful, we suggest relaxing and applying ice packs to ensure the least amount of swelling and bruising.

Bruising will be present for some patients and could last up to two weeks, so prevention is key. After that point, swelling is minimal, and makeup 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. You will see Dr. Zenn the day after surgery for your first post-op appointment. There will be another office visit after one week for the removal of sutures. With most patients back to work in two weeks, the next follow-up appointment is generally for your “after” photos in two months. Of course, Dr. Zenn and his team are available for your questions or concerns at any time.

Dr. Zenn's Blepharoplasty Patient Reviews


My mother had her eye lids lifted, a blepharoplasty, later in life when holding her eyes open while reading had become tiring. I knew I had her same eyes and the tired look I saw in the mirror made me look older than I felt.


Dr. Zenn and Nurse JoAnn are fantastic. They thoroughly answered my questions prior to surgery and made everything super easy. He also gave excellent instructions for recovery and I was able to go back to work quickly.


Dr. Michael Zenn is absolutely amazing Plastic Surgeon. He is extremely knowledgeable and dedicated. I was completely blown away by how helpful and kind he was at getting back and checking on me after surgery to make sure I am ok.

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Schedule A Blepharoplasty Consultation Today

Do you want your eyes rejuvenated but are unsure if eyelid surgery would help? The best step to take is to visit Zenn Plastic Surgery in Raleigh, North Carolina, for an in-depth discussion with Dr. Zenn. Dr. Zenn will listen to you carefully and determine if blepharoplasty is an option. Call our office to schedule a consultation today.

Blepharoplasty FAQ

Will others be able to tell I had eyelid surgery?

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

What is the difference between an upper and a lower blepharoplasty?

What is the cost of eyelid surgery?

My friend had surgery and it was covered by insurance. Will Dr. Zenn do mine with insurance?

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.

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 are often the first to show signs of aging. Upper eyelids may have extra skin, which may cause an effect called “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 leaves them aged and hollow. The lower eye area famously has “bags,” which are 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, appearing elderly. All of these changes contribute to that tired look, even with a full night’s sleep.

What is the difference between an upper and a 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 anatomical features and are affected by aging in distinct ways. Upper eyelids suffer less from the effects of gravity and more from things like allergies (rubbing) and damage from sun exposure. An upper blepharoplasty is straightforward, with the simple removal of skin and adjustment of the fat behind the lid. For the 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 as we age. This drooping lower lid is a tell-tale sign that someone has had a lower blepharoplasty. Dr. Zenn’s technique instead tightens and supports the lower lid so the end result looks attractive, refreshed, and 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 visible scars at all. Surgery is not painful, and most patients can return to work in one week.

What is the cost of eyelid surgery?

The cost of a blepharoplasty depends on the elements of your personal treatment plan. Some cases are more complex due to pre-existing eye problems. Conditions such as dry eye and eyebrow or eyelid droop may require longer surgery. At Zenn Plastic Surgery, the quoted package price is all-inclusive. It covers the consultation, pre-op appointment, before and after photos, scar gel, garments, all follow-up appointments, and facility and anesthesia fees. There is a common misconception that insurance will cover eyelid surgery. This is true in very select cases. Dr. Zenn will inform you if insurance will cover your condition. Zenn Plastic Surgery provides patients with several convenient payment options, including financing through Care Credit and Alphaeon Credit.

My friend had surgery and it was covered by insurance. Will Dr. Zenn do mine with insurance?

As we age, excess skin can hang over the eye and block your vision. An ophthalmologist can examine you, and if there is a significant amount of your visual field is blocked, insurance will cover removal of upper eyelid skin. This is very different than a cosmetic “eyelift” a.k.a. blepharoplasty, which would include removal of skin and fat from the upper eyelids and would also include removal of lower eyelid bags, which is not covered by insurance as vision is not impacted by lower eyelid bags. Dr. Zenn also would evaluate you for a browlift as a low eyebrow is often the cause of the appearance of extra skin in the upper eyelid. Also setting Dr. Zenn apart from other opthalmoloigsts is he would evaluate you for facial fat grafting to restore the youthful volume back to your face. None of these procedures would be covered by insurance and are considered cosmetic but leave you with a natural appearing well rested appearance. Your friend simply had some upper eyelid skin removed.

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