Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate the efficacy of eyelid cooling to reduce postoperative pain, edema, erythema, and hematoma after upper blepharoplasty.
Methods: After bilateral upper blepharoplasty in 38 consecutive patients, one eyelid per patient was randomized for cooling with an ice pack, and the other eyelid was left uncooled. Pain was scored by the patients using a visual analogue scale (0 to 10) 1 hour and 1 day after surgery. Degree of edema, erythema, and hematoma were scored by the patients on a four-point rating scale (no, minimal, moderate, or severe) 1 hour, 1 day, 1 week, and 2 months after surgery. Light photography was obtained 1 week after surgery for scoring the degree of bruising on a four-point rating scale by a blinded observer.
Results: Pain did not differ between cooled and uncooled eyelids on the day of surgery. However, pain in cooled eyelids was significantly lower 1 day after surgery (p = 0.046), yet absolute pain scores were low (median, 0 and 0.5, on a scale of 10). Edema, erythema, or hematoma did not differ between cooled and uncooled eyelids on any of the time points studied.
Conclusions: Cooling of eyelids after upper blepharoplasty does not reduce edema, erythema, or hematoma of the eyelids, but reduces pain 1 day after surgery. However, because the degree of pain seems clinically irrelevant and because the majority of patients indicate that they have no preference for cooling over noncooling, eyelid cooling after upper blepharoplasty as a rule of thumb can be abandoned.