JOURNAL ARTICLE

The superficial lateral canthal tendon: anatomic study and clinical application to lateral canthopexy

David M Knize
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 2002, 109 (3): 1149-57; discussion 1158-63
11884849
Most patients who undergo facial cosmetic surgery procedures that could cause lower eyelid retraction or ectropion should have an additional surgical procedure to support the lower eyelid and lateral canthus. The lower eyelid should be supported when performing laser planing of the eyelid; midface elevation through a lower eyelid incision approach; or conventional blepharoplasty, in patients with lower eyelid laxity. Suspending the lateral canthus by surgically altering the lateral canthal tendon is a proven technique that can provide support for the lower eyelid. However, a technique of this complexity may be unnecessary for most cosmetic surgery patients. To increase understanding of the fascial support system of the lateral canthus, four fresh cadaver dissections were performed to investigate the attachments of the lateral canthus to the lateral orbital rim. The most commonly appreciated attachment between the eyelids and the lateral orbital rim is the lateral canthal tendon (the lateral canthal raphe). However, the lateral canthus also is attached to the orbital rim at a more superficial level through the septum orbitale. This superficial fascial plane may be modified and used as a structure to stabilize or suspend the lateral canthus. This structure is defined in this article as the "superficial lateral canthal tendon."

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