Meloplication of the Malar Fat Pads by Percutaneous Cable-Suture Technique for Midface Rejuvenation: Outcome Study (392 Cases, 6 Years’ Experience)


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Abstract

The aging anterior midface is restored by reversing the contour undulations produced by sagging of the malar fat pad complex toward the nasolabial line. The convex irregularities include the exposed bulges of the post-septal fat, the unveiled malar bag, and the prominent nasolabial fold. The depressed irregularities are represented by the cresent-shaped hollow at the lid-cheek junction, the accentuated nasojugal groove, and the deepening nasolabial line. Repositioning of the ptotic malar fat pad, among other elements of meloplasty, represents a key procedure. In this study, the malar fat pad has been defined as a fan-shaped structure by external anatomic landmarks that correlate closely to the findings in cadaveric dissections and clinical cases, confirmed by the findings of spiral computed tomographic scanning. A simple but powerful adjustable and long-lasting percutaneous suture elevation technique was developed over the past 6 years by the senior author (G.H.S.) to reposition the fat pad in a superolateral direction. Through a dot incision within the nasolabial line, a permanent CV-3 Gore-Tex (or 4-0 clear Prolene) suspension suture, looped through a Gore-Tex anchor graft, suspends the malar fat pad in a direction perpendicular to the nasolabial line. A second suspension system is identically passed through another lower dot incision to broaden the repositioning vectors on the malar fat pad. Tension on each of the paired suture ends elevates the malar fat pad by 1 to 3 mm as measured from the nasolabial dot incisions. The sutures are fixed to the deep temporal fascia through a Gore-Tex tab, effectively stabilizing the soft-tissue repositioning. This maneuver may be performed in younger patients who present with an isolated malar fat pad ptosis without excess facial skin. The procedure may also be incorporated into open rhytidectomies to address this recalcitrant area along with superficial musculoaponeurotic system tightening. A total of 392 patients since 1995 underwent suture elevation of the malar fat pads. An outcome study indicated that the usage of two permanent sutures with Gore-Tex anchor grafts since 1998 resulted in improvement in midface rejuvenation of over 82 percent. Early and late complication rates were small and temporary. Patient acceptance was excellent, indicative of the benefits of anatomic repositioning of the malar fat pad complex. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 110: 635, 2002.)

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