Avoiding the Hughes flap in lower eyelid reconstruction

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Abstract

Purpose of review

To review current surgical practices of lower eyelid reconstruction with a focus on recent studies.

Recent findings

Combination techniques and new flap techniques offer efficacy comparable with existing reconstructive approaches, with the advantage of less local trauma. Inappropriate handling of posterior lamellar grafts, such as kerfing, may predispose to graft failures. Modified Hughes procedure is a favorable choice for large lower eyelid reconstruction; however, it requires temporary eye closure. Other surgical options have been developed to achieve a 1-stage procedure without the need of eye closure. These include the Smith-modified Kuhnt–Szymanowski procedure and the use of flaps. For posterior lamellar grafts, both nasal septal and ear cartilage donor tissue produce esthetically and functionally satisfactory outcomes and comparable efficacy. However, the ear cartilage carries a lower risk of donor site complications.

Summary

Lower eyelid reconstruction remains a challenge, especially for large or near total defects. Recent studies have explored modifications and alternatives to the conventional Hughes flap. New surgical procedures give surgeons more options. Taking into account the growing spectrum of reconstructive techniques, an individualized approach may facilitate better functional and esthetic outcomes.

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