Filling the periorbital hollows with hyaluronic acid gel: initial experience with 244 injections

Robert Alan Goldberg, Danica Fiaschetti
Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 2006, 22 (5): 335-41; discussion 341-3

PURPOSE: To review our initial experience using hyaluronic acid gel (Restylane) as a filler to treat the periorbital hollows.

METHODS: This is a retrospective, anecdotal case review of 244 cosmetic hyaluronic acid gel injections in 155 patients. An average volume of 0.9 ml per injection session was used in an individualized pattern that variably included the orbital rim hollow, zygomatic hollow, septal confluence hollow, and eyebrow and cheek fat pad. To achieve smooth contours, a layered, feathered threading technique was used, placing the filler deep to the orbicularis. Hyaluronidase injections were used in 11% of patients at follow-up visits to "dissolve" some of the filler to reduce contour irregularities.

RESULTS: One hundred eight of 121 (89%) patients with follow-up visits were satisfied with the cosmetic improvement after hyaluronic acid gel injections. For maintenance, the interval to second injection averaged 6.5 months. Side effects included lumps or contour irregularities (11%), bruising (10%), color change (7%), and fluid (15%). Twelve patients were unsatisfied and were not interested in additional injections: 5 with malar fluid, 3 with lumpy irregularity, and 3 with color change.

CONCLUSIONS: Complex 3-dimensional contours and thin skin over bone render periorbital filling difficult. However, with individualized planning and with care taken to create smooth, feathered contours, it is possible to achieve acceptable improvement. We found that most patients considered themselves improved cosmetically, despite occasional side effects including contour irregularity or lumps, bruising, color change, and fluid accumulation. Patients with very thin skin, preexisting color problems, or preexisting eyelid fluid may not be good candidates for periorbital filling with hyaluronic acid gel. The effect of the filler is temporary, of course, and we counsel patients to anticipate maintenance injections at 6- to 12-month intervals.

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