By: Anthony H. Gair
Blepharoplasty basically is surgery in which excess tissue is removed from the eyelids. It is the most commonly performed cosmetic surgery on the face. Upper eyelid surgery is usually performed for removal of excess skin, muscle and fat and lower lid surgery for the removal of fat pads, so called baggy eyelids caused by herniation of periorbital fat.
As a New York medical malpractice attorney we understand the most serious complication of blepharoplasty is partial or complete loss of vision, most commonly as a result of intra-orbital hemorrhage. A widely accepted theory suggests orbital bleeding increases intraorbital and intraocular pressure, compromises the ocular circulation, and results in ischemic or optic nerve damage. Ischemic optic neuropathy and central artery occulsion are believed to be the most common final events in most cases of blindness after blepharoplasty. (Lowry JC, Bartley GB: Complications of Blepharoplasty. Surv. Ophthalmol 38:327-350, 1994).
It is thus essential, prior to surgery, for the physician to carefully assess the patient’s risk factors for bleeding. Aspirin, aspirin-containing products, other antiplatelet agents and anticoagulants should be discontinued prior to surgery. (Id. at p. 331). In this regard, the physician should obviously be aware of all medications used by the patient.
Acute orbital hemorrhage constitutes a medical and surgical emergency. Severe permanent visual impairment is likely if vascular compromise exists for more than 90 minutes. Prompt recognition and management are essential. (Id. at 332).
The following is an excerpt of a deposition of a plastic surgeon in a New York Medical Malpractice case in which the patient suffered a post-operative hemorrhage following blepharoplasty resulting in a complete loss of vision of the affected eye.
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