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Evaluation of conventional subciliary incision used in blepharoplasty: preoperative and postoperative videography and electromyography findings.

BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the innervation and function of the orbicularis oculi area clinically, with video imaging, and electrically, with electromyography, before and after lower-eyelid blepharoplasty using a conventional subciliary incision.

METHODS: Nine patients (18 eyes) were studied before and 4 to 12 weeks after lower-eyelid blepharoplasty. Video imaging documented clinical changes in involuntary (blink) and voluntary (squeeze and squint) eyelid function as well as resting lid position and tone. Electromyography was performed using concentric needle electrodes (25 mm in length, 0.03 mm in diameter) placed in the lateral and medial subciliary orbicularis oculi. A total of 36 sites in nine patients (four sites per patient) were studied. Acute denervation was identified by the presence of fasciculation; fibrillation potentials; insertional activity; sharp waves; and grade based on standard electromyography techniques. All patients underwent lower-eyelid blepharoplasty with a subciliary incision, skin-muscle flap and canthal anchoring with canthopexy or cantholysis, and canthoplasty.

RESULTS: Video imaging of the lower eyelid before and after blepharoplasty showed evidence of eyelid malposition or abnormal voluntary or involuntary orbicularis oculi muscle function. There was no evidence of acute denervation in 34 of 36 sites (94 percent). Two patients had abnormal fasciculation in the left lateral position on two of 36 sites (6 percent). Thirty-three weeks postoperatively, one patient was retested and a normal electromyography result was obtained.

CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated that lower-lid malposition or abnormal function after lower-lid blepharoplasty cannot be explained by denervation of the zygomatic branch of the facial nerve. Any acute or residual denervation seen in the subciliary orbicularis is not clinically significant. The importance of lower-lid support and canthal anchoring cannot be emphasized enough in preventing lower-lid malposition. Blepharoplasty is a challenging procedure that requires careful preoperative planning, intraoperative reassessment, and meticulous surgical technique to optimize facial rejuvenation and patient safety.

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