Aging presents in various ways at different facial areas. It usually affects the eye area first through the development of wrinkles, loose skin and herniated lower eyelid fat. Eventually the aging process extends down onto the cheek with the weight of the lower eyelid creating a clear demarcation between the eyelid and the cheek known as the palpebromalar groove.
In the Surgical Pearls section of the May 2015 issue of JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, an article entitled ‘Short Incision Midface Lift in Lower Blepharoplasty’. In this retropective review, 80 patients by two surgeons were evaluated for their results with this lower blepharoplasty technique that provides aesthetic improvement to the aging cheek area. This modified lower blepharoplasty technique uses a short subciliary incision (mid-pupillary medially to 5mms past the lateral canthus), orbicularius muscle dissection and isolation, cheek mobilization, lateral canthoplasty/canthopexy, orbicularis muscle elevation and fixation to the orbital rim and conservative lower eyelid skin removal. The majority of patients (83%) had excellent and complications were few. The most common complication (5%) was lateral skin mounding. Only one case of ectropion occurred.
The improvement of the cheek with this technique comes from the reduction/elimination of the palpebromalar groove. This groove which appears as one ages can not be improved by non-surgical methods such as laser resurfacing or Botox injections. Injection techniques using either hyaluronic acid fillers or fat into the palpebromalar groove can be done but has a high complication rate of irregularities and contour problems. A better solution is reversal of the cause with re-elevation of the soft tissue descent and the re-establishment of a single midface convexity.
There are many midface lifting techniques that have been described. They differ by the extent of their incisions and dissection and how/where the mobilized tissues are suspended. This paper describes a more limited incisional approach that creates an orbicularis muscle flap that is sutured to the orbital rim. This is a more limited midface lift but in the right patient can be a useful facial rejuvenation procedure.
Dr. Barry Eppley