Cosmetic Surgery Tips

Is eyelid lift covered by medicare

If you’ve been looking for a way to reduce the look of aging around your eyes without going under the knife, you’ll be happy to know that eyelid lift surgery is covered by Medicare and many other insurance companies. Read on for more information about how this procedure works, who is a good candidate for eyelid lift surgery, what it takes to get started on your path to younger-looking eyes, and how much it costs.

You may find it hard to access the right information on the internet, so we are here to help you in the following article, providing the best and updated information on is eyelid lift covered by medicare , What Are the Top Alternatives to Blepharoplasty?. Read on to learn more. We at cosmeticsurgerytips have all the information that you need about Blepharoplasty Procedure. Read on to learn more.

Is eyelid lift covered by medicare

Yes, Medicare. The public health insurance program for people over 65 typically does not cover cosmetic surgery, but for cases in which a patient’s sagging eyelids significantly hinder their vision, it does pay to have them lifted. In recent years, though, a rapid rise in the number of so-called functional eyelid lifts, or blepharoplasty, has led some to question whether Medicare is letting procedures that are really cosmetic slip through the cracks — at a cost of millions of dollars.

As the Obama administration and Congress wrestle over how to restrain Medicare’s growing pricetag, critics say program administrators should be more closely inspecting rapidly proliferating procedures like blepharoplasty to make sure taxpayers are not getting ripped off.

From 2001 to 2011, eyelid lifts charged to Medicare more than tripled to 136,000 annually, according to a review of physician billing data by the Center for Public Integrity. In 2001, physicians billed taxpayers a total of $20 million for the procedure. By 2011, the price tag had quadrupled to $80 million. The number of physicians billing the surgery more than doubled.

“With this kind of management malpractice, it’s little wonder that the [Medicare] program is in such dire shape,” said Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., who is also a physician. “The federal government is essentially asking people to game the system. Every dollar we spend on cosmetic surgery that isn’t necessary is a dollar that can’t be used to shore up the program for people who need it the most.”

Plastic surgeons say there are a number of legitimate reasons for the spike, including a tendency among the elderly to seek fixes for real medical issues they might have quietly suffered through even a decade ago. But surgeons also acknowledge an increased awareness of the surgery fueled by reality television, word-of-mouth referrals, and advertising — often including dramatic before-and-after photographs — that promises a more youthful appearance. And doctors concede they face increased pressure from patients to perform eyelid lifts, even when they do not meet Medicare’s requirement that peripheral vision actually be impaired.

Thomas Scully, former Medicare administrator under George W. Bush, has a blunter assessment; he doubts the jump is caused by anything other than seniors seeking younger-looking eyes. “How many seniors among your friends or family have needed eyelid surgery?” he said. “I bet a hell-of-a-lot of them at 65 say, ‘You know what, I bet I can get Medicare to pay for this.’ And I can imagine the plastic surgeons love it. If you can go to patients and say that Medicare will pay, they will do it in much larger numbers.”

Florida surgeon bills Medicare for more than 2,200 eye surgeries a year

Surgeons who bill Medicare for large numbers of eyelid surgeries dot a map of the United States. Yet 11 of the 20 highest billers in 2008 were in Florida, which is both an elderly mecca and the country’s foremost magnet for questionable Medicare billing.

Among the top surgeons, the data show a South Florida doctor billed Medicare more than $800,000 in 2008 for about 2,200 eyelid lifts. That’s an average of six a day, including weekends. This same doctor was also a top biller in 2006 and 2007.

The Center is barred from naming the Florida surgeon. A 1979 federal court injunction blocks the Department of Health and Human Services from publically releasing doctor’s names in conjunction with specific Medicare billing information. The Center sued HHS to obtain the Medicare data but as a condition for obtaining it, signed an agreement not to publish the names of individual doctors, unless they agreed to discuss their billing histories. After repeated calls for comment, and a fax including the billing referenced by the Center, the Florida physician’s office assistant said he would not talk “due to prior engagements.”

What Are the Top Alternatives to Blepharoplasty?

Blepharoplasty is hands down the best solution to solving tired or droopy eyes.

The fact remains that there really isn’t a good alternative to blepharoplasty. Many patients desiring a solution like blepharoplasty have significant sagging of the eyelids or eye area. These patients will find that surgery is really the only option to fix this effectively.

However, in some cases, patients may be candidates for alternative nonsurgical treatments, particularly those individuals who have milder signs of aging. The treatment results are not as incredibly dramatic of a change compared to that which is typically found with blepharoplasty.

For alternative treatment of the lower eyes, 10-15% of patients may be candidates for a combination of injectable fillers and resurfacing (laser or chemical peel) for the lower eyelid. For the upper eyes, 5-10% of patients may be candidates for a brow lift, Botox injection for a non-surgical browlift, or Ultherapy for a noninvasive brow lift.

To be clear, the results will never be similar to what you would get with eyelid or eyebrow surgery. Still, with these procedures, your doctor can beautifully shape your eyes and forehead without the downtime associated with surgery.

If you have milder signs of aging and are interested in alternatives to surgery, below we explore options to consider.

Alternative Options to Sculpt the Area Around Your Eyes

1. Botox

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Botox is a simple injectable treatment designed to relax the muscles that cause frown, worry, and smile lines. Additionally, the treatment can function as a preventive measure as well, slowing down the appearance of wrinkles and other indicators of the natural aging process on your face. The treatment can enhance the appearance of the eyes by erasing the “crow’s feet” adjacent to the outer corner of the eyes and by subtly lifting the eyebrows.

The effects of Botox can be quite dramatic, but the effects on the eyes themselves are more subtle compared to results from eyelid surgery. The results of Botox last 3-4 months and are easily maintained with regular treatments.

2. Ultherapy

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Ultherapy uses ultrasound energy deposited beneath the skin to regenerate the collagen and improve the facial tone, firming and tightening the skin. The treatment jump starts a natural process known as neocollagenesis. This achieves a fresher, more youthful look and targets areas from the brow to chest. Though ultherapy improves the deep foundational layer that surgical procedures focus on, it won’t duplicate the results of a facelift.

With Ultherapy, there is no surgery or downtime. It can safely lift:

  • -The chin
  • -The neck
  • -Eyebrows
  • -Decolletage

The concept is simple: Ultherapy stimulates your own collagen production. This results in firming and tightening of the desired area. The longevity of results depends completely on you since this procedure uses your own collagen to firm up and tighten skin.

By lifting the eyebrows, Ultherapy can produce subtle make your eyes look larger and less tired or droopy.

Key factors regarding Ultherapy:

  • Results occur within the first 3-12 months after treatment
  • Effects are milder than with Blepharoplasty
  • Effects will last 1-2 years

Ultherapy is subtle, yet remains a splendid option if you aren’t quite ready for surgery.

3. Skin Resurfacing 

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Skin resurfacing treatments are rapidly gaining popularity. These cutting-edge resurfacing procedures treat fine lines and wrinkles. They can even help firm up loose skin. The concept of skin resurfacing refers to a variety of nonsurgical treatments, including:

  • Laser Skin Resurfacing
  • Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Photofacial
  • Chemical Peels
  • Microdermabrasion and Dermabrasion
  • Microneedling

Skin resurfacing treatments can help soften lines, wrinkles, and folds around the eyes. These procedures can be usually performed in the office with topical and/or local anesthesia and limited amounts of downtime.

4. Injectable Dermal Fillers

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What if a simple injection could open up your eye area? Your doctor can use one of a variety of injectable fillers to restore volume to your skin. You may recognize such well-known products as Juvederm and Restylane. These treatments smooth out the skin’s surface, removing wrinkles and contouring the face. Fillers are a simple way to create a more youthful appearance.

Around the eyes, injectable fillers can fill in lower eyelid hollows and subtly lift sagging brows.

As you can see, a number of alternatives exist for patients who desire to correct their sagging or drooping eyelids without surgery. You can even learn makeup techniques to achieve similar effects.

Blepharoplasty Procedure

An eyelift usually takes about 2 hours if both upper and lower eyelids are done together. Your doctor will most likely use local anesthesia (a painkiller injected around the eye) with oral sedation.

If you are having the procedure done at a hospital or surgical center, you’ll most likely receive IV sedation.

If you’re having all four eyelids done, the surgeon will probably work on the upper lids first. The surgeon will usually cut along the natural lines of your eyelids. Through these cuts, your surgeon will separate the skin from the underlying tissue and remove the excess fat and skin (and muscle if indicated). Next, the surgeon will close those cuts with very small stitches. The stitches in the upper lids will stay for 3-6 days. The lower lids may or may not require stitches, depending on the technique used.

Surgery on the lower eyelids may be done using one of several techniques. In one method, your surgeon makes a cut inside your lower eyelid to remove fat. That cut won’t be visible. Your surgeon can then soften fine lines in the skin using a C02 or erbium laser.

Another method involves making a cut along the eyelash margin. Through that cut, your surgeon can remove excess skin, loose muscle, and fat. The cut line fades after a short time.

After either of these procedures, your surgeon may recommend laser resurfacing.

After the surgery

Your doctor will probably put ointment in your eyes to keep them moist and cover them with cold compresses while you’re in the recovery room. Right after surgery, you may have blurry vision from the ointment and be sensitive to light. Your eyes may feel dry or watery. 

It will help to put ice packs on your eyes and sleep with your head raised the first night after surgery. Your doctor will give you detailed instructions for taking care of yourself. 

After the surgery

Your doctor will probably put ointment in your eyes to keep them moist and cover them with cold compresses while you’re in the recovery room. Right after surgery, you may have blurry vision from the ointment and be sensitive to light. Your eyes may feel dry or watery. 

It will help to put ice packs on your eyes and sleep with your head raised the first night after surgery. Your doctor will give you detailed instructions for taking care of yourself. 

Blepharoplasty Results

Upper eyelid surgery is good for at least 5-7 years. Lower eyelid surgery rarely needs to be repeated. Of course, your eyes will still age after the procedure.

If your lids sag again, a forehead lift rather than another eye lift may be the preferred procedure.

Blepharoplasty Recovery

After eyelid surgery, you’ll have stitches in both lids that will remain for as long as a week. It is common to have swelling and, occasionally, bruising, but your eyelids should look normal within a week or two.

Blepharoplasty Complications

Complications and unwanted results from an eye lift are rare, but sometimes they do happen. They can include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Dry eyes
  • Abnormal coloring of the eyelids
  • Eyelid skin that folds in or out abnormally
  • Not being able to fully close your eyes
  • A pulled-down lower lid lash line
  • A possible loss of vision

If you have any of these complications, contact your doctor as soon as possible

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