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What is Eyelid Reconstruction?

Article Details
  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 14 August 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2019
    Conjecture Corporation
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Eyelid reconstruction is surgery performed to reconstruct an individual’s eyelids. It may be performed after an injury tears the eyelid or causes tissue loss in the area. It’s also used to reconstruct the eyelid after surgery has removed a portion of it. For example, reconstructive surgery may be used to replace tissue loss after tumors are removed from the eyelid area. Sometimes eyelid reconstruction surgery is also used to deal with eyelid defects or abnormal drooping of the lids.

While an intact, normal eyelid has a significant impact on a person’s appearance, it also has a very important job to do. The eyelids help keep the eyes safe from injury and exposure to environmental hazards. They also help keep the eyes moist, which is necessary not only for comfort, but also for the overall health of the eyes.

Eyelid reconstruction surgery is usually performed by an oculoplastic surgeon. This type of surgeon has received extensive education and training in performing plastic surgery on the areas around the eye. In order to become an oculoplastic surgeon, an individual completes the training necessary to become an ophthalmologist and then seeks advanced plastic surgery training that prepares him to care for the tissues that surround the eye.

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Entropion is among the conditions that may be repaired with eyelid reconstruction. This condition is marked by an eyelid that is turned inward. In this position, the eyelid not only looks abnormal, but can also irritate the patient’s eyeball. An oculoplastic surgeon can correct this condition by using sutures to tighten the affected tissues. This surgery can be performed with local anesthesia, which numbs the affected areas, rather than general anesthesia, which puts the patient to sleep.

Sometimes reconstructive eyelid surgery is used to fix a condition called ptosis, which is marked by eyelids that droop unnaturally and make it difficult to see properly. To correct this problem, a surgeon makes an incision in the eyelid and uses sutures to attach the eyelid higher on the muscle that controls it. This surgery is often performed using local anesthesia.

In some cases, patients have holes, tears, or other wounds in the eyelid that require extensive reconstructive efforts. For example, after the the removal of a large tumor that affects the eyelid, a surgeon may have to take tissue from another part of the body and stitch it to the injured eyelid in order to reconstruct it. The skin tissues taken from other parts of the body are referred to as skin grafts or flaps. Often, this type of surgery is completed while the patient is under general anesthesia.

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