• Users Online: 78
  • Print this page
  • Email this page

Table of Contents
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 2-5

Our clinical experiences in lower eyelid reconstruction

1 Department of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, Meram Faculty of Medicine, Necmettin Erbakan University, Konya, Turkey
2 Department of Pathology, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, Meram Faculty of Medicine, Necmettin Erbakan University, Konya, Turkey

Date of Web Publication20-Mar-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Zeynep Altuntas
Department of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic, Surgery, Meram Faculty of Medicine, Necmettin Erbakan University, Konya
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/tjps.tjps_16_18

Get Permissions


Objective: Different treatment principles have been applied in the reconstruction of partial or full layer defects of the lower eyelid. The use of the most similar tissue for eyelid reconstruction is important for both functional and esthetic results. This study aims to investigate the reconstruction methods performed in lower eyelid defects and to evaluate their esthetic and functional results. Patients and Methods: In this study, patients who underwent reconstructive surgery from 2012 to 2016 in our clinic were investigated. Cases of primary repairs after skin tumors located in the lower eyelids were excluded from the study. The sociodemographic characteristics of patients, the type and location of the tumor, defect size after surgery, anterior and posterior lamellar defects, and reconstruction methods used were retrospectively reviewed. Results: Thirty-seven patients were included in the study. Fifteen were male and 22 were female. There was only anterior lamellar defect in 29 patients and full-thickness lower eyelid defect in 8 patients. Anterior flaps used in lamellar defects were identified as glabellar flap, Limberg flap, advancement, transposition flap, nasolabial flap, forehead flap, and cheek flap. Chondromucosal graft, palatal mucosal graft, and buccal mucosal graft were used for repairing posterior lamellar defects. Conclusion: Separate reconstruction of the posterior and anterior lamellae is important to provide good functional and esthetic results in lower eyelid reconstruction. Depending on the size of the defect, using a single local flap or a combined flap with posterior lamella repair provides highly acceptable results.

Keywords: Lower eyelid, posterior and anterior lamella, reconstruction

How to cite this article:
Altuntas Z, Uyar I, Findik S. Our clinical experiences in lower eyelid reconstruction. Turk J Plast Surg 2018;26:2-5

How to cite this URL:
Altuntas Z, Uyar I, Findik S. Our clinical experiences in lower eyelid reconstruction. Turk J Plast Surg [serial online] 2018 [cited 2022 Sep 27];26:2-5. Available from: http://www.turkjplastsurg.org/text.asp?2018/26/1/2/228006

  Introduction Top

Reconstruction of wide defects in the lower eyelid area bears special importance because of the complex anatomic structure of the eyelid. Unsuccessful reconstruction cannot only lead to esthetic flaws but also to conjunctivitis, keratitis, and severe complications that can lead even to blindness. Most of the lower eyelid defects can be repaired with already defined and accepted techniques.[1],[2]

Eyelid tumors are frequently encountered, and their modes of treatment vary depending on the size, localization, and histologic pattern of the tumor. Tumors are less common in the upper eyelid, and given the looseness and abundance of its soft tissue, the upper eyelid reduces the need for using flaps, whereas a number of options have been described in the reconstruction of the lower eyelid.[3]

The purpose of this article is to share the reconstruction approaches we use in lower eyelid reconstruction and our clinical experiences.

  Patients and Methods Top

Thirty-seven patients who were operated on in our clinic in the years 2012–2016 were included in the study. All patients were operated on for skin tumors localized to the lower eyelid, and reconstruction was performed wherever defects did not allow for primary closure. All patients were informed about the surgical techniques before the operation and their consents were obtained in line with the World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki, Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects. Sociodemographic characteristics of patients, the localization and type of tumors, postoperative defect sizes, anterior lamellar and posterior lamellar defects, and reconstruction techniques were retrospectively examined. Patients with only anterior lamellar defects were classified as Group 1, and patients with both anterior and posterior lamellar defects were classified as Group 2. Patients in Group 1 were divided into three subgroups based on the localization of the defect (medial, lateral, and total), and reconstruction options were reviewed. Patients in Group 2 were reviewed for the options used in posterior lamellar defects.

  Results Top

Fifteen of the patients are male and 22 are female. Mean patient age was 53. Thirty patients had basal-cell cancer and 7 had squamous-cell cancer. Twenty-three patients were operated on under general anesthesia and 14 under local anesthesia. Patients were classified as Group 1 and Group 2.

  • Group 1: It included 29 patients who had anterior lamellar defect only. Patients in Group 1 were divided into three subgroups:

    • Group 1A: It included 12 patients with medially localized defect. Reconstruction was performed with glabellar flap in 6 patients, forehead flap in 3 patients, V-Y advancement flap in 2 patients, and nasolabial flap in 1 patient
    • Group 1B: It included 9 patients with laterally localized defect. Reconstruction was performed with Limberg flap in 4 patients, with transposition flap from the lateral cheek in 3 patients, and with cheek flap in 2 patients
    • Group 1C: It included 8 patients with total or nearly total defects. Reconstruction was performed with transposition flap from the lateral cheek in 2 patients, with cheek flap in 4 patients, and with cheek flap and forehead flap in 1 patient [Table 1].

  • Group 2: It included 8 patients with full-thickness lower eyelid defect. Reconstruction of the posterior lamella was performed with chondromucosal graft from the nasal septum in 4 patients, with palatal mucosal graft in 2 patients, and buccal mucosal graft in 2 patients [Table 2].
Table 1: Flaps used in the reconstruction of lower eyelid defects

Click here to view
Table 2: Reconstruction of the posterior lamella

Click here to view

Postoperative flap loss was not seen in any of the patients.

  Discussion Top

Eyelid defects can be the result of congenital anomalies or develop after traumas or surgical resection in cancer cases.

The lower eyelid has a complex structure from the anterior to the posterior, the skin, the orbicularis oculi muscle, the tarsal plate and the conjunctiva, and the mucosa and sebaceous glands in the subconjunctival region. The former two make up the anterior lamella and the latter two the posterior lamella. It is important to separately repair the anterior lamella and the posterior lamella to achieve functionally and esthetically good results.

As a general principle, reconstruction in eyelid defects is described based on the size of the defect, i.e., as lateral cantholysis or as primary repair without cantholysis in cases with <50% tissue loss and tarsoconjunctival flap and graft in cases which tissue loss is more than 50%. Composite nasal chondromucosal grafts with cheek flaps are described in defects that are more than 75%.[4]

As described in the literature, different strategies are required in wide defects.[5],[6],[7] Eyelid advancement flap, cheek rotation flap, forehead flap, nasolabial flap, temporoparietal fascia flap, laterally based tarsoconjunctival transposition flap, superiorly based tarsoconjunctival advancement flap, orbicularis oculi muscle-skin island flap, laterally based skin advancement flap, cheek V-Y advancement flap, Tripier flap, and semicircular flap (Tenzel flap) are other reconstruction techniques. In total losses, the defect can be closed with a tarsoconjunctival flap from the upper eyelid, a mucochondral graft from the nasal septum or a conchal cartilage graft from the ear, and a Mustardé flap containing cutaneous-subcutaneous tissues from the cheek and preauricular region.[8],[9]

Mustardé reconstructed total defects of the lower eyelid with a rotation flap prepared from the temporal region and the cheek and covered with a septal chondromucosal graft. Mustardé flap is an easy-to-learn and predictable method in lower eyelid reconstruction. This flap is indicated to include all components required for repairing the lower eyelid. The septal chondromucosal graft constitutes the supporting layer in this technique. Acceptable results are reported in most of the cases in which this technique is used. Secondary corrections are required in very few patients. To achieve good results with the Mustardé technique, the flap should be prepared to form a high arch in the temporal region, a composite septal graft should be performed, and the flap should be fixed to the frontozygomatic area with suspension sutures.[10]

A frequently used flap, the Tripier flap, was first described by Landolf as a pedicled flap from the upper eyelid. The major advantage of this flap is excellent color and structure compatibility, and donor-site morbidity is minimal in viable patients. Its major disadvantage is that it may not be sufficient to give adequate vertical length, and this may lead to retractions in the upper eyelid if the donor site is not sufficient.[11],[12]

Another flap that can be used in the reconstruction of the lower eyelid is Tenzel's semicircular flap. The semicircular flap, which is a myocutaneous flap planned from the lateral orbit, can provide near-perfect results. This flap can cover small, mid-sized and some large defects. Some of its major advantages are lack of orbicularis muscle involvement, minimal donor site morbidity, ease of preparation, and being a single session procedure. This flap is reported to be suitable in elderly patients with defects involving two-thirds of the lower eyelid.[13]

There are different techniques described in the literature for the posterior lamellar reconstruction of the lower eyelid. Tarsoconjunctival graft is a perfect choice of technique in posterior lamellar reconstruction since this type of graft sufficiently provides the properties of the eyelid.[14] Hard palate mucoperiosteal grafts are frequently used in posterior lamellar defects, given their capability to provide structural support. Despite the reliable results, donor-site problems can arise in this technique. Moreover, studies report that its multilayered epithelium with keratinized flat cells can cause corneal irritation. Another posterior lamellar graft option is a combination of nasal chondromucosal graft and ear cartilage graft. Ear cartilage can easily take the shape of the tarsal plate. A buccal mucosal graft provides good coverage in reconstruction; however, the loose structure of its connective tissue still necessitates the support of a combined cartilage graft. Another technique that should be mentioned in the reconstruction of the posterior lamella is tarsomarginal grafts. This is a composite graft including the tarsal plate, the conjunctiva, and the eyelash margin. Components of the anterior lamella are excised before this wedge-shaped graft is applied.

In our cases, we used the Limberg flap, especially in laterally localized lesions. In the reconstruction of the anterior lamella in cases with laterally localized and nonlarge tumors, we applied the Limberg flap after tumor excision and achieved considerably good esthetic results [Figure 1].
Figure 1: The use of Limberg flap for lateral defects

Click here to view

Glabellar flaps were our first choice in nonwide defects that were localized to the medial canthal region and did not extend into the orbit. No complications were encountered in the postoperative period even though the reconstruction did not involve any procedures targeting the lacrimal system. Reducing the thickness of the local flap was seen provide esthetically more acceptable results [Figure 2]. We preferred to use forehead flaps in wide medial canthal defects that extended to the nasal dorsum and the orbit [Figure 3]. Chondromucosal graft was used together with a forehead flap in the reconstruction of the lower eyelid. The disadvantage of this technique is that it necessitates a second session for pedicle revision; however, we believe that this is a safe technique that should be born in mind for closing considerably large defects.
Figure 2: The use of glabellar flaps for medial canthal defects. Reducing the thickness of the local flap provides more acceptable results

Click here to view
Figure 3: The use of forehead flaps for wide medial canthal defects

Click here to view

Superiorly based long transposition flaps from the lateral cheek or the nasolabial region were observed to be effective and safe techniques with good esthetic results for closing all defects of the lower eyelid in cases with total defects of the lower eyelid that do not extend into the malar region. We believe that it would be more suitable to use a cheek flap in the reconstruction of wider defects that extend into the malar region including the cheek area.

In our cases, we observed that chondromucosal grafts taken from the septum for the reconstruction of the posterior lamella provided good lower eyelid stability in the late postoperative period as well as good esthetic results. Favorable results are reported in the literature with tarsoconjunctival flaps, especially in cases with centrally localized defects; however, the need for two sessions of surgery and the limited width of the flap are its disadvantages. In our cases, chondromucosal grafts were our first choice to ensure patient comfort and provided highly acceptable results in the late period.

  Conclusion Top

In the reconstruction of the lower eyelid, it is important to separately repair the anterior lamella and the posterior lamella to achieve functionally and esthetically good results. Highly acceptable results can be achieved with single local flaps or combined flaps, depending on the size of the defect.

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that they have obtained all appropriate patient consent forms. In the form, the patients have given their consent for images and other clinical information to be reported in the journal. The patients understand that names and initials will not be published and due efforts will be made to conceal identity, but anonymity cannot be guaranteed.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Codner MA, McCord CD, Mejia JD, Lalonde D. Upper and lower eyelid reconstruction. Plast Reconstr Surg 2010;126:231e-45e.  Back to cited text no. 1
Huggins AB, Latting MW, Marx DP, Giacometti JN. Ocular adnexal reconstruction for cutaneous periocular malignancies. Semin Plast Surg 2017;31:22-30.  Back to cited text no. 2
Rajabi MT, Bazvand F, Hosseini SS, Makateb A, Rajabi MB, Tabatabaie SZ, et al. Total lower lid reconstruction: Clinical outcomes of utilizing three-layer flap and graft in one session. Int J Ophthalmol 2014;7:507-11.  Back to cited text no. 3
Duymaz A. Karabekmez FE, Yılmaz E. Recontruction of nearly total defects of lower eyelid with combined use of supraorbital island flap and tarsoconjuctival advancement flap. Turk J Plast Surg 2013;21:24-7.  Back to cited text no. 4
Ito O, Suzuki S, Park S, Kawazoe T, Sato M, Saso Y, et al. Eyelid reconstruction using a hard palate mucoperiosteal graft combined with a V-Y subcutaneously pedicled flap. Br J Plast Surg 2001;54:106-11.  Back to cited text no. 5
Miyamoto J, Nakajima T, Nagasao T, Konno E, Okabe K, Tanaka T, et al. Full-thickness reconstruction of the eyelid with rotation flap based on orbicularis oculi muscle and palatal mucosal graft: Long-term results in 12 cases. J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg 2009;62:1389-94.  Back to cited text no. 6
Wessels WL, Graewe FR, van Deventer PV. Reconstruction of the lower eye lid with a rotation-advancement tarsoconjunctival cheek flap. J Craniofac Surg 2010;21:1786-9.  Back to cited text no. 7
Saito A, Saito N, Furukawa H, Hayashi T, Oyama A, Funayama E, et al. Reconstruction of periorbital defects following malignant tumour excision: A report of 50 cases. J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg 2012;65:665-70.  Back to cited text no. 8
Echchaoui A, Benyachou M, Houssa A, Kajout M, Oufkir AA, Hajji C, et al. Management of eyelid carcinomas: Retrospective bicentric study of 64 cases and review of the literature. J Fr Ophtalmol 2016;39:187-94.  Back to cited text no. 9
Cogrel O. Mustardé flap lower eyelid reconstruction following lentigo maligna excision. Ann Dermatol Venereol 2016;143:167-8.  Back to cited text no. 10
Maghsodnia G, Ebrahimi A, Arshadi A. Using bipedicled myocutaneous tripier flap to correct ectropion after excision of lower eyelid basal cell carcinoma. J Craniofac Surg 2011;22:606-8.  Back to cited text no. 11
Machado WL, Gurfinkel PC, Gualberto GV, Sampaio FM, Melo ML, Treu CM, et al. Modified tripier flap in reconstruction of the lower eyelid. An Bras Dermatol 2015;90:108-10.  Back to cited text no. 12
Kim HS, Kim JW, Yu DS. Semicircular (Tenzel) flap for malignant melanoma involving the palpebral conjunctiva and skin of an eyelid. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 2008;22:102-3.  Back to cited text no. 13
Alghoul M, Pacella SJ, McClellan WT, Codner MA. Eyelid reconstruction. Plast Reconstr Surg 2013;132:288e-302e.  Back to cited text no. 14


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]

  [Table 1], [Table 2]

This article has been cited by
1 Clinicopathological Analysis and Surgical Outcome of Eyelid Malignancies: A Study of 332 Cases
Syeed Mehbub Ul Kadir, Mukti Rani Mitra, Riffat Rashid, Murtuza Nuruddin, Md. Kamrul Hassan Khan, Golam Haider, Mst. Sayedatun Nessa, Arash Kimyai Asadi
Journal of Skin Cancer. 2022; 2022: 1
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 Angular artery island flap for eyelid defect reconstruction
Yavuz Keçeci,Zulfukar Ulas Bali,Anvar Ahmedov,Levent Yoleri
Journal of Plastic Surgery and Hand Surgery. 2019; : 1
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
    Access Statistics
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this article
Patients and Methods
Article Figures
Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded489    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 2    

Recommend this journal