Anatomy, Pathophysiology, and Prevention of Senile Enophthalmia and Associated Herniated Lower Eyelid Fat Pads

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We describe in detail the anatomy and function of the “Lockwood suspensory ligament” and the interrelated function of the orbital contents responsible for the intraorbital position of the eyeball and fat. With age, or because of genetic disposition, the eyeball descends, reducing the space between it and the floor of the orbit. This will inevitably cause forward projection of the extraconical orbital fat, creating herniated fat pads and resulting in enophthalmia. Based on the volume of the bony orbit and its contents, it is likely that relocating, rather then removing, herniated fat pads will greatly improve and prevent the enophthalmia of aging and give the globe a position and a projection of youth. Based on the results of surgery using the capsulopalpebral flap, it is likely that a descended Lockwood suspensory ligament, rather than a weakened orbital septum, is the cause of herniated fat pads and enophthalmia. We feel neither a weakened orbital septum nor an overabundance of orbital fat nor a shallow orbit is responsible for either of these conditions. We give a detailed description of how to raise the globe, preserve and relocate herniated fat pads, and manage and prevent enophthalmia and obtain a beautiful, youthful looking eye. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 100: 1535, 1997.)

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