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Dr. Barry Eppley

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OR Snapshots – ePTFE Orbital Implants

Monday, April 24th, 2017


Surgery for vertical orbital dystopia always includes augmentation of the orbital floor. Most of the time the inferior orbital rim is lower as well and needs to be concurrently augmented. Various materials have been used for orbital implants from bone grafts to numerous synthetic implants. In the ‘aesthetic’ orbital dystopia patient (4mms or less of horizontal pupillary  discrepancy) the use of bone grafts is not very appealing.

The ideal method to augment the orbital floor and lower rim is to make custom implants from a 3D CT scan of the orbits. With this technology the exact amount and location of orbital floor and rim augmentation can be determined and made before surgery. This obviates any need for intraoperative fabrication of the implants.

Beyond the use of preoperatively fabricated implants, various materials offer intraoperative workability. One of my favorite implant materials for the orbit is that of ePTFE. Originally known as Goretex, it comes in sheets of various thicknesses that are easily cut and molded to any surface. Composed of a fluorine-based material that is both very smooth and non-reactive, its flexibility and adaptability make it ideal for the complex contours of the orbit.

ePTFE sheets of 2mm thickness can be layered and adapted to the orbital floor and inferior orbital rim as needed. It is a good idea to secure the material to the orbital rim with several micro screws to make sure it lays flat and is as non-palpable as possible through the thin tissues of the lower eyelid.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

The Deep Pyriform Space Implant

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016


The nasolabial fold is a well known facial area that deepens with age. This has resulted in it being a common target for a variety of treatments that include injectable synthetic fillers and fat as well as the placement of subcutaneous implants. Regardless of the treatment they all are directed towards pushing out the linear skin indentation at the subcutaneous level.

pyriform aperture deep pyriform spaceIn recent anatomic studies the deep medial cheek fat compartment has a space deep to it known as Ristow’s Space. This has been described as a triangular paranasal area sitting right over the pyriform aperture. As a result of fat atrophy as well as bony resorption that occur with aging around it, Ristow’s space increases. Voluminization of this deep space has been proposed to be a new target in the treatment of the prominent nasolabial fold. The exact anatomic boundaries of this space, however, have never been precisely studied or defined.

In the July 2016 issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery an article appeared entitled ‘Deep Pyriform Space: Anatomical Clarifications and Clinical Implications’. In this anatomic study the average dimensions of the deep pyriform space was essentially 1cm x 1 cm. The space has an inverted triangular shape that is bordered inferomedially by the depressor septi nasi muscle, the soft tissue attachments of the bony pyriform aperture and the retro-orbicularis fat. The premaxillary space and the levator labii superioris muscle sit above it. The angular artery lies superficial and lateral to the deep pyriform space.

The authors describe an injection technique to access this space for voluminization using blunt cannulas. With the cannula at the bone level the deep pyriform space is entered. They recommend very cohesive fillers like Radiesse or fat, presumably due to their better soft tissue push at this deep level, than hyaluronic-based fillers.

deep pyriform space implant dr barry eppley indianapolisThe deep pyriform aperture space is a midface cavity that is intimate to the pyriform aperture. It is accentuated by resorption of the face of the maxillary bone with aging. Pushing out on this space adds support to overlying cheek fat and lip elevators. Given the location of his space, it would intuitively seem like augmentation of the bone with an appropriately designed implant would provide a better long-term solution than any injectable filler.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

Case Study – Female Calf Augmentation

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016


chicken leg female calf augmentation Dr Barry Eppley IndianapolisBackground: A disproportionate lower leg size compared to the body, or even to the thighs, is often given the name ‘chicken legs’ This obviously refers to the very small size of the legs that most birds have compared to their bodies. While such a leg size is of no concern to birds, it can be quite disconcerting to some women. For those so afflicted, it is a source of embarrassment and may even prevent them from wearing any clothing that exposes their legs above the ankles.

A thin lower leg is usually due to small calf muscles. Underdeveloped calf muscles will make the lower leg between the knee and ankles look like a near straight pole without upper muscular bulging or shape. While there are two calf muscles per leg, both inner and outer gastrocnemius muscle are usually small. To make a visible size increase, all four heads or muscle bellies of the calfs need to be augmented.

Case Study: This 47 year-old female had been bothered about the small size of her lower legs for years. Because of her small calfs she would not wear shorts, dresses or any clothing that revealed her lower legs.

Calf Implant incisions Dr Barry Eppley IndianapolisCalf Implant subfascial location Dr Barry Eppley IndianapolisUnder general anesthesia and in the prone position, 3.5 cm long inner and outer skin incisions were made in a popliteal skin crease above each calf muscle head. Through these incisions a subfascial pocket was developed on top of the gastrocnemius muscles. Small soft silicone calf implants were placed over each muscle head with two implants for each leg. (15cms long, 5cms wide and 1.5 cms thick)

Female Calf Augmentation result front Dr Barry Eppley Indianapolis viewFemale Calf Augmentation result back view Dr Barry Eppley IndianapolisFemale Calf Augmentation result raised back view Dr Barry Eppley IndianapolisFor many female calf augmentation patients, a four implant approach is needed. The goal is to make the overall calf size bigger without one side of the calf being disproportionate to the other side. By placing roughly 75cc implants on each muscle belly, or 150cc additional volume per leg, the calf is increased in size and still appears natural. For a small petite female these calf implants are appropriate. For larger female medium size calf implants (135cc per implant) may be needed.


1) Females with ‘chicken legs’ had small medial and lateral gastrocnemius muscles.

2) A four calf implant calf procedure is needed to treat the thin lower legs in female calf augmentation.

3) Four small incisions behind the knees is needed to insert subfascial calf implants.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

Case Study – Temporal Muscle Reduction Migraine Surgery

Sunday, July 19th, 2015


Background: There are a wide variety of types of headaches of which migraines make up some of the most disabling. While the exact cause of many migraine headaches is not precisely known, certain types of migraines are known to occur from peripheral compression of certain cranial nerves. This has led to a variety of injectable Botox and surgical decompression surgeries to treat these very specific types of migraines.

One the of peripherally-based type of migraine headache occurs in the temporal region or the side of the head. Because the temporalis muscle is a chewing muscle such headaches often occur in people who grind their teeth due to stress. The zygomatico-temporal nerve branch (ZTBTN) comes through the temporalis muscle near the eye and can often be a source of temporal migraines. Treatment with Botox injections (diagnostic test for surgical treatment or simple avulsion of the nerve can produce noticeable improvement in the frequency and duration of these type of temporal migraine headaches.

Temporalis Muscle Reduction and Augmentation Dr Barry Eppley IndianapolisBut a false Botox test of the ZTBTN nerve or failure to produce a very pronounced reduction in the migraine headaches indicates that the compression of this small sensory nerve is not the true source of the problem.  The overall size of the temporalis muscle and/or its repetitive contraction could then be more likely the headache source. This can be confirmed by a clinical examination of clenching of the teeth, feeling the expansion of the muscle and palpating for the location of the painful stimulus.

Case Study: This 56 year-old female had a long history of temporal headaches that had been refractory to every conceivable treatment. She knew that it came from clenching her teeth and was persistent on the side of her head. Dental splints, drugs and ZTBTN Botox injections did not provide relief. Botox placed all over the temporalis muscle provided some improvement but the dose requirement (50 units per side) was high and only temporary. (less than three months)

Temporal Reduction Dr Barry Eppley IndianapolisUnder general anesthesia, the posterior portion of her temporalis muscle was removed through a small vertical incision. Both the fascia and the muscle were removed anteriorly to about 3 cms behind the temporal hairline.

At one year after surgery, she reported a complete elimination of her migraine headaches. She did not have a single headache since the surgery. Her incisions healed inconspicously and she had no short or long-term effects on chewing or mouth opening.

Temporal muscle reduction may seem like a radical solution to the treatment of temporal migraines. But as an end treatment in the refractory migraine headache patient, it is a simple procedure that has no adverse functional effects.


1) Temporal (side of the head) migraines typically responds to Botox injections, ZTBTN nerve avulsion or ligation of the temporal artery.

2) When the source of temporal migraines is related to clenching and large bulging posterior temporal muscles, muscle reduction can be effective for which Botox injections would be the first treatment approach.

3) Temporal muscle reduction of its posterior belly is an end stage migraine treatment that can be effective in the properly selected patient.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

PRP Injections for Periorbital Hyperpigmentation

Sunday, April 12th, 2015


Darkening of the eyelids, known as periorbital hyperpigmentation, is when excess pigment develops on the eyelids. While it can occur on either the upper and lower eyelids, and often involves both, it is most common and aesthetically troublesome on  the lower eyelids. Its causes is not exactly known and is multifactorial and has been ascribed to such events as sleep deprivation, smoking, alcoholism and excess sun exposure. Treatments for periorbital hyperpgmentation do not currently produce consistent nor uniform results.

In the March 2014 issue of the American Journal of Dermatology and Venerology, an article entitled ‘Treatment of Periorbital Hyperpigmentation Using Platelet-Rich Plasma Injections’ was published. Over a one year period, fifty (50) patients (almost all females) with periorbital hyperpigmentation were treated with PRP (platelet rich plasma) injection therapy. The periorbital area was injected with PRP for a total of three treatments spaced one month apart. The entire face was also injected at the same time. Using digital photos the results of these PRP treatments were assessed after six months from the last treatment. Very visible treatment was obtained in eight patients (16%), moderate improvement in twenty three patients( 46%) and minimal improvement in nineteen patients. (38%)

Periorbital hyperpigmentation, especially of the lower eyelids, is an aesthetic problem that defies one single effective solution. It is seen most commonly in patients who have significant skin pigmentation. Many treatments have been advocated for it from topical skin bleaching, laser resurfacing and light therapies, injectable fillers, fat injections, orbital rim augmentation and lower blepharoplasty skin tightening. While effective in some cases, there is no treatment that is universally effective for everyone. Getting excess pigment out of the skin is difficult without risking injury to the skin that contains it.

PRP injections Indianapolis Dr Barry EppleyThe biologic basis for the development of excess pigment on the eyelids has been suggested to be due to chronic edema and lymphatic congestion which causes a hyperpigmentation response. Improving the vascularity of the eyelids tissues is thought to potentially improve lymphatic outflow and allow for pigmentation reduction. This would be the potential mechanism for why PRP would produce an improvement in the eyelid hyperpigmentation. This plasma suspension obtained from processing the patient’s whole blood has a high concentration of platelets which contain high levels of growth factors. These are well known to produce healing responses marked by increased vascularization. and improved tissue perfusion levels. This may the mechanism for the clinical improvements seen in this study.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

Product Review – Cellfina for Cellulite Treatment

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015


Cellulite AnatomyCellulite is a very common aesthetic problem for women (and a few men) that has defied an absolute solution for many decades. The number of externally applied creams, lotions and massage approaches speaks to the fact that a successful non-surgical approach remains wanting. Numerous surgical approaches have also been used that focus on either releasing the vertical fascial bands and/or fat reduction that makes up the well known anatomy of celulite.

With over a billion dollars a year spent on treatments for the well recognized ‘cottage cheese’ thighs and buttock problem, the search for the next promising cellulite treatment is always ongoing. The new cellulite treatment introduced this year will be Cellfina. (Ulthera

Cellfina Procedure for Cellulite Dr Barry Eppley IndianapolisCellfina is a minimally invasive procedure whose objective is to release the vertical fascial bands. Under local anesthesia a vacuum-assisted tissue release is done to break up these bands. A small rotating blade introduced under the skin cuts the band and the vacuum pressure on the skin creates the complete release. It is purported to be a one-and-done procedure with results visible within a few days after the procedure and its effects last at least a year. The clinical trial studies report that some results can last for as long as three years. Clinical studies show a high patient satisfaction rating at 94% after one year.

Treatments take less than one hour to complete and Cellfina treatment costs range from $2,000 to $5,000 based on where one is located in the U.S. as well as how many cellulite areas are treated. Expect Cellfina devices to be more widely available later this year.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

Stem Cells and Fat Injections in Plastic Surgery

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015


Just recently the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a private company’s (Antria) Phase 2 clinical trial study for the use of fat-derived stem cells in plastic surgery. These trials are set to begin within the next three months. Antria received approval for Phase 1 clinical trials just under two years ago in March 2013.

Stem Cells and fat Injections Dr Barry Eppley IndianapolisAntria is the first company in the world to obtain FDA approval for human studies for stem cell-assisted facial fat grafting study. Antria’s patent-pending process uses liposuction to extract the fat. Within one hour, stem cells can be prepared from that fat. Antria’s process uses its proprietary Adipolyx solution, a collagenase-based reagent, to isolate stem cells from adult fat cells.

While this FDA approval is significant in and of itself, the even greater relevance is what this indicates for the widespread marketing of so-called stem cell procedures in plastic surgery. The reality is that there are really no true stem cell procedures in plastic surgery despite what is claimed or promoted on the internet and otherwise. Procedures touted as ‘stem cell-enriched’, ‘stem cell injections’ or ‘stem cell procedures’ in plastic surgery are misleading.

While fat does contain numerous stem cells, these are inadvertent passengers in what is otherwise and simply put fat injections. Extracting fat by liposuction and concentrating it for injection for soft tissue augmentation does not make it a bone fide stem cell treatment. This is a marketing tactic, which although very appealing to patients, implies properties of the injection treatment that it does not have.

fat injections to forehead dr barry eppley indianapolisFat injections have many benefits from adding soft tissue volume to improving the vascularity of the injected tissues. But whatever role the percentage of stem cells in the fat has in these benefits is highly speculative. That should not he confused with a highly concentrated and pure source of stem cells which is what is currently being studied in human clinical trials

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

World of Plastic Surgery – Iceland

Monday, January 12th, 2015


Iceland Plastic Surgery Dr Barry Eppley IndianapolisIceland is a nordic island located between the North Atlantic and Arctic seas. With a small land mass of around 40,000 square miles and a population of just over 300,000, it is the most sparsely populated country in all of Europe. The vast majority of the population lives along its coasts with two-thirds of it being located in the capital city area of Reykjavik in the southwest region of the country. The interior is largely uninhabited being a plateau covered by mountains, lava fields and  glaciers.

Iceland has one medical school and basic postgraduate training is for medical licensure in the country. But speciality training in plastic surgery must be obtained overseas usually in the United Kingdom, Sweden or other European countries. There are only a handful of plastic surgeons in Iceland, all of whom seem to be located in Rekjavik which is the largest city by far. Of the thirty-two identified towns, cities or municipalities in the country only six have a population greater than 10,000 of which five are in the Capital Region. So it is no surprise that there is were the few plastic surgeons are.

Iceland has nationalized health so reconstructive plastic surgery is done through that system. Most aspects of major reconstructive plastic surgery seem to be available. Cosmetic plastic surgery is as available in Iceland as any other European country or the U.S.. The cost of Icelandic cosmetic surgery is definitely lower than in the U.S.. While the currency of Iceland is the Krona, cosmetic surgery prices are generally available in Euros. Typical costs quotes are 2,700 Euros for breast augmentation, 2,670 Euros for rhinoplasty and 3,500 Euros for a facelift for example. Converting Euros to dollars shows that most cosmetic surgery costs are about 25% to 33% less than in the U.S.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

Joan Rivers – A Comedian’s Legacy to Plastic Surgery

Thursday, September 11th, 2014


Joan Rivers and Plastic Surgery Dr Barry Eppley IndianapolisJoan Rivers, comedian and and, in many ways, a champion of plastic surgery, died last week…ironically, having a minor surgical procedure. (however, not a plastic surgery procedure). She is the second such famous female comedian (Phyllis Diller in 2012) that has been tied to plastic surgery that has died in the past few years; both of them pioneering female comedians and both more than willing to make endless jabs at their own adventures in surgical self-improvement.

No one knows exactly how many plastic surgery procedures Joan Rivers had. Most likely her jokes about them far exceeded what she had done. (minus Botox Cosmetic which does not count as actual surgery). Some of her most well known quotes on plastic surgery include:

‘I’ve had so much plastic surgery, when I die they will donate my body to Tupperware.’

‘I wish I had a twin, so I could know what I’d look like without plastic surgery.’

‘I have flabby thighs, but fortunately my stomach covers them.’

‘I’m never without a bandage.’

‘I’ve had so much Botox Betty White’s bowels move more than my face.’

‘I saw what’s going on under my chin. I don’t want to be the one the president has to pardon on Thanksgiving.’

‘The only way I can get a man to touch me at this age is plastic surgery.’

‘Every weekend I just go in and I do something….You get a tenth one free. It’s like coffee so you just keep going’

‘I was so ugly that they sent my picture to Ripley’s Believe It or Not and he sent it back and said ‘I don’t believe it’.’

‘Better a new face coming out of an old car than an old face coming out of a new car’.

What Joan Rivers (and Phyllis Diller) are most famous for about their plastic surgery is not their quotes but how they were perceived as classic examples of everything that is ‘wrong’ about having plastic surgery. She was commonly referred to as what patients would say they did not want to look like…over done and unnatural. But such criticism is a bit harsh since at age 81 she looked awfully good and much better than what the natural aging process had to offer.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

Plastic Surgery Product: EMEND Antiemetic Drug

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014


One of the greatest fears of many elective cosmetic surgery patients is the fear that having anesthesia will induce after surgery nausea and vomiting. This is most manifest in those patients that had surgery and general anesthesia before and developed exactly that…prolonged wretching after surgery. It is not the fear of surgery and pain or undergoing anesthesia but the very uncomfortable upper GI symptoms that invokes fear about the procedure in some patients.

While there are a lot of antiemetic medications that are used in surgery, from steroids to scopolamine patchs, they are not universally effective. Despite pills, patches and intravenous medications, the nausea and vomiting prone patient can still develop what he or she fears the most.

EMEND in PLastic Surgery DR Barry Eppley IndianapolisAn alternative antiemetic approach is to prophylactically begin treatment hours before surgery even before the patient arrives at the facility. This is now possible with EMEND. (Aprepitant) This is an antiemetic compound that is a substance P antagonist. It has its effect by blocking the neurokinin 1 receptor. It was initially FDA-approved in 2003 to prevent nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy and after surgery.

But if EMEND is taken three hours before the actual surgery time, it can have a profound preventative antiemetic effect. This requires a prescription from your doctor and a call to the pharmacy beforehand to make it is in stock. It is fairly expensive at around $60 for a single pill and it is often not covered by insurance. But for those patients that have ever had prolonged after surgery nausea and vomiting, that is a very small price to pay for its potential prevention.

I would highly encourage those patients who have a history of nausea and vomiting problems after anesthesia and surgery to take EMEND beforehand. This would be particularly important in cosmetic plastic surgery patients where the choice to have surgery is purely elective and their biggest fear can be remedied by the ingestion of one pill beforehand.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana

Dr. Barry EppleyDr. Barry Eppley

Dr. Barry Eppley is an extensively trained plastic and cosmetic surgeon with more than 20 years of surgical experience. He is both a licensed physician and dentist as well as double board-certified in both Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. This training allows him to perform the most complex surgical procedures from cosmetic changes to the face and body to craniofacial surgery. Dr. Eppley has made extensive contributions to plastic surgery starting with the development of several advanced surgical techniques. He is a revered author, lecturer and educator in the field of plastic and cosmetic surgery.

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