Purpose: Few studies have focused on the aging changes in the upper eyelid. This study evaluated the differential changes in the nasal and central fat pads of the upper eyelid associated with aging.
Methods: In this retrospective, consecutive series, the medical records and photographs of 77 patients were reviewed. The patients were grouped in 7 categories according to decade of life. Using a standardized scale, the volume grade of the nasal and central fat pads was graded from 0 to 3. Statistical evaluation correlating age with central and nasal fat pad change was performed.
Results: With aging, the central fat pad volume appeared to diminish, with relative sparing of the nasal fat pad. There was a positive correlation of the volume grade of the nasal fat pad with age and a negative correlation of the central fat pad with age. In addition, there was a statistically significant difference between the volume grades of the nasal and central fat pads in the groups 70 years and older.
Conclusions: With aging, there appears to be a pattern of differential fat pad alteration. This study shows that in the upper eyelids of patients >70 years of age, the medial fat pad becomes prominent whereas the central fat pad atrophies. Teleologically, the relative preservation of nasal fat may be due to its higher abundance of neural-crest progenitor cells. Clinically, this finding has implications in esthetic and functional upper eyelid blepharoplasty.
Evaluation of upper eyelid fat pad changes associated with aging shows atrophy of the central fat pad and prominence of the nasal fat pad.
Division of Oculofacial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, UCSD Department of Ophthalmology, Shiley Eye Center, La Jolla, California, U.S.A.
Accepted for publication December 20, 2010.
Presented at the ASOPRS 40th Annual Fall Scientific Symposium, San Francisco, CA, U.S.A., October 21–22, 2009.
None of the authors have any financial interests to disclose.
Generously supported by Steve and Kathleen Flynn and the Bell Charitable Foundation.
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Don O. Kikkawa, M.D., Division of Oculofacial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, UCSD Department of Ophthalmology, Shiley Eye Center, 9415 Campus Point Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0946, U.S.A. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org