Free Tarsus Autogenous Graft Struts for Lower Eyelid Elevation

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Purpose:Free tarsus autogenous graft (FTG) has emerged as a useful biological spacer in lower eyelid elevation. However, it has limited use where a spacer of greater than 4 mm height is required, because at least 4 mm of upper tarsal height must be preserved to maintain upper eyelid rigidity. We describe an augmentation of FTG in its use as a spacer, by way of creating 2 parallel-placed vertical FTG struts, in contrast to interpositioning the FTG horizontally.Methods:This case series describes the technique of harvesting and interpositioning FTG struts. Nine eyelids in 6 patients in whom FTG struts were used for lower eyelid elevation are reported. The patients ranged in age from 41 to 80 years. Underlying diagnoses included thyroid orbitopathy, previous blepharoplasty, and previous facial and eyelid thermal burns.Results:FTG struts achieved an effective spacer height of up to 7 mm, and follow-up of 9 to 20 months revealed a good outcome in all 3 cases, with no complications.Conclusions:FTG struts provide an effective and lasting lower eyelid elevation when used as a spacer. A spacer graft of up to 7 mm in vertical height may be harvested from a long strip of upper eyelid tarsus that is 4 mm in vertical height. This technique would allow autogenous upper eyelid tarsus to be harvested with maximum conservation of tissue.

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