top of page

Ptosis Surgery

What is ptosis (droopy eyelids)?

Ptosis (“droopy eyelids”) is the medical term for dropping of the upper eyelids. As you age, one of the first places that you’ll start to notice a change in your appearance is in your eyes. The muscles supporting your eyelids begin to weaken, and the lowering of your upper eyelid may cause a reduction in your field of vision and difficulty in keeping your eyelids open. It is possible to have asymmetric ptosis of the two upper eyelids, where one eyelid has ptosis and the other does not, or the eyelids have varying degrees of ptosis.

This condition and the corrective surgery differs from an upper blepharoplasty in that ptosis occurs when the eyelid sags down in front of the colored iris. An upper blepharoplasty is when there is excess skin above the eye, even if that skin doesn’t sag down in front of the iris. After ptosis surgery, you will be able to see more of the eye and iris.

The results from your ptosis surgery can be life changing, helping you feel not only more confident in the way you look, but also in how you interact with others.  Your field of vision and ability to see the world around you will be better than it has been in years.

Commonly asked questions

What should I look for when choosing a surgeon?

Selecting the right cosmetic surgeon is a choice that you live with for years, if not your entire life. A successful procedure will make you feel more like yourself and give you greater confidence for years to come. On the other hand, selecting the wrong surgeon increases your chances of having poor results, which can lead to additional costs, time, and heartache.

When choosing your surgeon, there are a few key points to keep in mind:

  • What credentials should my surgeon have? Making sure that your doctor has received the right training focusing on your issue. General plastic surgeons work on the entire body, and facial plastic surgeons perform work on the entire face. Dr. Liu is an oculoplastic surgeon and has completed an ASOPRS fellowship, making her one of the most highly qualified oculoplastic surgeons in North America. When you are having surgery done near your eyes, you want to make sure that you have a surgeon that was trained in the eyes, and general and facial plastic surgeons typically have inadequate training in this area.

  • Ask detailed questions. Make sure that your surgeon answers all of your questions clearly and is willing to spend the time with you to address all of your concerns. A physician that cannot give a clear answer as to how many of a particular procedure they have performed or how their training qualifies them to perform a procedure should be chosen with care.

  • What do other patients say? While a referral from a friend or colleague can be helpful in narrowing down a physician search, it is important to try and get a well-rounded view of the physician. Look online at their reviews at websites such as,, and on Google and Yelp. Getting the full picture of other patients’ experience with a physician can be helpful in putting your interaction with the doctor into the correct context.

What kind of anesthesia is used during ptosis surgery?

Ptosis surgery is typically performed using only local anesthesia in Dr. Liu’s procedure room or may be performed at an off-site surgery center for additional sedation. Only in very rare cases would general anesthesia be used.

How much does cosmetic ptosis surgery cost?

It is difficult to provide pricing before a patient has had a consultation with Dr. Liu. The cost of a procedure can vary depending on what a patient needs and what the surgery will entail. More importantly, many patients come to Dr. Liu believing that they need a certain procedure, only to find out during the consultation that a different procedure will provide a better outcome. 

How does Dr. Liu perform ptosis surgery?

Ptosis can be corrected surgically and usually involves tightening the levator or Mueller’s muscle to elevate the eyelid. Depending on the strength and response of these two muscles, Dr. Liu will determine the best form of correction for you. An incision will either be made through skin at the level of the lid crease or on the backside of the eyelid, which will not be visible on the skin. The appropriate muscle will be tightened with attention to optimizing contour and symmetry of the eyelids.

Once Dr. Liu has achieved the desired height and reshaping of your eyelids, she places sutures to smooth and reconfigure your eyelids.  The sutures are finer than a human hair and will dissolve or be removed at 5-7 days after surgery.

How long does the procedure take?

Ptosis surgery typically takes about 1 – 2 hours from start to finish.

Does ptosis surgery leave a scar?

Depending on the type of ptosis surgery, there may be scars on the inside of your eyelid, in the natural crease of your eyelid, or above your brow that may not be visible after you have fully healed. Non-specialized surgeons typically have results with more visible scarring.

Are there any risks to ptosis surgery?

Ptosis surgery is generally a very safe procedure. When considering any surgery, it is important to inform your surgeon of any abnormalities of your eyes, vision, or your general medical health. 

It is important to remember that while all surgery carries some risks, even when performed by the most highly trained surgeon and at the best facilities. Below are some of the more common risks associated with ptosis surgery:

  • Pain

  • Swelling

  • Scarring

  • Infection

  • Excessive tearing

  • Adverse reaction to anesthesia

  • Dryness or burning of the eyes; both of which can usually be treated before or after surgery

  • The formation of whiteheads, or milia, that appear after suture removal; typically, the surgeon can treat these post-operatively

  • Difficulty keeping the eyes closed while sleeping; though temporary for most individuals, this particular complication has become permanent in others

  • On occasion, individuals have also reported experiencing blurred or double vision, but in most cases, these complications subside in a few days

  • Asymmetry of the eyelids

The likelihood of serious complications arising from the procedure is typically influenced by both the surgeon’s skill as well as the patient’s individual response to the eyelid surgery. Certain severe risks or complications can be avoided by cooperating fully and completely following your surgeon’s instructions. With patience, a willingness to cooperate, and a qualified surgeon, the complications of eyelid surgery and any associated risks can be dramatically reduced.

What should I expect after surgery?

Surgery should be scheduled for a time when you can relax for at least 1-2 weeks. It is important to avoid any strenuous activity, heavy lifting, or bending down during this time to avoid complications and to promote the best healing. It is also important to avoid taking any blood thinning medications around the time of surgery. If you are on a blood thinning medication due to a specific medical condition, you will need to discuss this with Dr. Liu and your primary care physician prior to stopping any medication. Dr. Liu’s staff will review a list of common medications, supplements and vitamins that can cause your blood to be thinner.

Please note that Dr. Liu expects to see patients back in the office a few days after a procedure to ensure that the healing process is going as expected and that you are on track for a good result. Do not plan any travel immediately after your procedure.

Dr. Liu and her staff are not only very kind and very thorough, but double checks everything and takes the safety of their clients very seriously! Dr. Liu herself is not only very thorough, but has very good bedside manners, is very kind, and really takes her time with each patient and does not rush through like some other doctor visits I have experienced. You will do yourself a huge favor by visiting Dr. Liu and her staff and will have a wonderful overall experience, and this is coming from someone who is very particular and OCD! Dr. Liu and her staff are simply the best! 🙂

Newport Beach

Dr. Liu is the top rated oculoplastic surgeon in Orange County.

Click here to read more patient testimonials.

bottom of page