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Fat Grafting for Recontouring Sunken Upper Eyelids With Multiple Folds in Asians—Novel Mechanism for Neoformation of Double Eyelid Crease

Lin, Tsai-Ming MD, PhD; Lin, Tsung-Ying MD; Huang, Yu-Hao MD; Hsieh, Tung-Ying MD; Chou, Chih-Kang MD; Takahashi, Hidenobu BS; Lai, Chung-Sheng MD, PhD; Lin, Sin-Daw MD

doi: 10.1097/SAP.0000000000000668
Aesthetic Surgery

Background This study reviewed the mini invasive technique, microautologous fat transplantation (MAFT), as a strategy in simultaneously treating sunken upper eyelids with multiple folds and recreating a double eyelid crease in Asian people.

Methods The MAFT was performed with the assistance of a patented medical device, the MAFT-GUN, on 34 patients who had sunken upper eyelids and multiple folds. Each delivered fat parcel was accurately and consistently maintained at 1/240 mL during placement. Follow-up was regularly performed with photography for comparison.

Results Fifty-eight sunken upper eyelids with multiple folds were reconstructed. In addition to the ameliorative recontouring of hollowness, a natural eyelid crease was created postoperatively. Temporary swelling and bruising were noted several days after surgery without morbidities, such as fibrosis or nodulation. All of the patients were satisfied with the 1-time MAFT procedure.

Conclusions Fat grafting for sunken upper eyelids with multiple folds has been reported in the literature. However, temporal effects and complications, such as nodulation and irregularity, have often occurred. A new method, MAFT, demonstrated its reliability as a modality for sunken upper eyelids with multiple folds in Asians. Moreover, MAFT might serve as an alternative for neoformation of double eyelids in these candidates.

Supplemental digital content is available in the text.

From the *Charming Institute of Aesthetic and Regenerative Surgery (CIARS); †Department of Plastic Surgery, ‡Division of Trauma, Department of Surgery, Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, Kaohsiung Medical University; §Yuan's General Hospital; and ∥Department of Post Baccalaureate Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

Received June 12, 2015, and accepted for publication, after revision October 26, 2015.

The paper has been presented: 3rd WAPSCD, Oct. 12–14, 2012 Xi'an, China and 2nd ISPRES, June 6–8, 2013, Berlin, Germany.

Conflicts of interest and sources of funding: none declared.

Reprints: Tsai-Ming Lin, MD, PhD, Charming Institute of Plastic and Regenerative Surgery (CIARS): 2F.-1, No.172, Ziqiang 2nd Rd., Qianjin Dist., Kaohsiung City 801, Taiwan, Kaohsiung Medical University: No. 100, Tzyou 1st Road, Kaohsiung 807, Taiwan. E-mail: k79157@gmail.com.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (www.annalsplasticsurgery.com).

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially.

Over 50% of the Asian population is estimated to possess single-eyelid creases. Asian blepharoplasty (double eyelid surgery) has therefore been a popular operation for more than 100 years.1–3 However, among people who have had surgeries for double-eyelid creases, multiple eyelid folds caused by variable insertion levels of levator aponeurosis to the dermal-skin junction have sometimes occurred. To recreate an eyelid crease, numerous modalities have been proposed and demonstrated as evolutionary techniques.4–6

Clinically, ageing and over-resection of orbital fat (after blepharoplasty) might lead to a sunken eyelid. The hollowness that appears as tiredness and weakness is typically bothersome and unappreciated. Different methods and techniques of fat grafting were described before, but long-term satisfactory outcomes have not been achieved yet.7–10

Microautologous fat transplantation (MAFT), proposed by Lin in 2007, has been proven clinically feasible.11–15 This article further illustrates how the MAFT technique recontours the sunken upper eyelid and demonstrates the concurrent integration of multiple folds and how MAFT could be an alternative for double eyelid formation.

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MATERIALS AND METHODS

The essential criterion for the study was patients with sunken upper eyelids with multiple folds. The exclusion included previous upper blepharoplasty, any filler injection, or fat injection. Those who requested a recontouring of hollowness with the simultaneous recreation of a double eyelid crease were advised to undergo MAFT. Under intravenous anesthesia, fat was harvested using a 2.5-mm (⊘) suction cannula. The lipoaspirate was refined through centrifugation for 3 minutes at 1200g.7 An atraumatic 18G blunt-tip cannula was used to deliver fat with the assistance of a MAFT-GUN (Fig. 1); each parcel volume was set at 1/240 mL. The surgeon transplanted the fat parcels in both zone I and zone II.

FIGURE 1

FIGURE 1

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Detailed Procedure

An insertion was made in the lateral upper eyelid at point x (Fig. 2A).

FIGURE 2

FIGURE 2

Zone I consists of several layers where surgeons can transplant the fat:

Deeper layer—through insertion point x, the injection cannula is placed on top of the superior orbital rim to the medial side of zone I. The parcel at 1/240 mL is then delivered while the MAFT-GUN is withdrawn (Fig. 2B). Multiple passages in a fan-shaped pattern might be necessary to recontour this basal layer.

Middle layer—in this layer, the same maneuver is performed to place the parcel to periorbicularis oculi muscle (inframuscle or supramuscle) (Fig. 2C).

Superficial layer—this is the supraorbicularis oculi muscle, which is directly beneath the eyelid dermis. In this layer, the side-hole indication of the MAFT-GUN suggests to turn to N, implying that the fat parcel is delivered upward to the dermis (skin) in a tenting effect.

In zone II, only a superficial layer is transplanted, and the lowest is on lowest insertion of levator aponeurosis (Fig. 2D).

In zone III, no fat transplantation was performed.

Postoperative care was performed regularly.14,15

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LIVE VIDEO DEMONSTRATION

We performed MAFT on case 1 with the assistance of MAFT-GUN in his sunken upper eyelids with multiple folds (see video, Supplemental Digital Content 1, http://links.lww.com/SAP/A152 which demonstrates MAFT procedure) and found our results to be inconclusive.

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RESULTS

The MAFT technique was performed in 34 patients (58 eyelids) (30 female patients and 4 male patients, the average age was 35.4 years) with the assistance of a MAFT-GUN during a 3-year period starting from March 2010. The average operative time was 24.5 minutes, and the average injected amount of fat grafting was 1.4 and 1.5 mL for the right and left eyes, respectively. No morbidities, such as fibrosis, nodulation, or visual impairment, were noted, but minor swelling and ecchymosis occurred and recovered completely 7 to 10 days after surgery. The average follow-up duration was 18.5 months, and all patients have noted the fullness of their sunken eyes and a neoformation of double eyelid crease. Figures 3–5 showed 3 examples of long-term follow up cases. Four patients (12% of 34 cases) including case 3 (Fig. 5A–B) had a secondary touch-up MAFT to enhance the eyelid crease.

FIGURE 3

FIGURE 3

FIGURE 4

FIGURE 4

FIGURE 5

FIGURE 5

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DISCUSSION

The eyelid anatomy varies between Asian and Occidental populations in many aspects.16–18 Two primary techniques exist for creating a double eyelid crease: the external incision method and the suture method, with variable modifications in either way. The external incision method cuts along the new crease arch and fixes the levator aponeurosis to the dermis, creating a crease while the eyes are open. The suture method creates a crease in the eyelid with a kink by buried, full-thickness sutures.16

Fat grafting is a surgical procedure that has been performed for over 12 decades.19 The common morbidities include unpredictable survival or retention rate, fibrosis, abscess, nodulation, and irregularity in the recipient sites.20 In 1994, Coleman reported a technique of structure fat graft that demonstrated desirable results in periorbital lipoinfiltration.7 However, in particular, in locations, such as the periorbital area, each fat parcel had to be grafted in amounts as small as 1/50 mL to 1/30 mL for optimal results; all surgeons who have attempted this technique have found this challenging. If the fat parcel were grafted in amounts larger than 1/30 mL, misplacements would become irreversible. Carpaneda claimed that, regardless of the shape of the fat graft (spherical or cylindrical), a circumambient zone of 1.5 ± 0.5 mm in the grafting margin improves the survival rate.21 On the basis of these theories, Lin et al advocated the MAFT technique and developed a patented instrument (Fig. 1) for clinical usage in fat grafting to ensure each of the deliver parcel would be tiny to 1/240 mL (Table 1).11–15,22

TABLE 1

TABLE 1

In upper-eyelid hollowing, the space necessitating augmentation is limited and therefore difficult for placing small fat parcels. Therefore, unavoidable dislodgement of larger parcels during grafting and subsequent central necrosis does occur. The instrument used in this study, the MAFT-GUN, facilitated surgeons in adjusting and maintaining each delivered fat parcel in amounts as small as 1/240 mL. While triggering the MAFT-GUN, the fat volume was precise, consistent, and controlled to be transplanted. By avoiding possible central necrosis, potential morbidities, such as visible nodulation, fibrosis, or uneven surfaces, were prevented. The sunken volume was therefore reconstructed to fullness, and the accuracy of the grafting technique demonstrated the advantages of the MAFT technique.

The mechanism by which MAFT effectively reconstructs the hollowness of the sunken upper eyelid and simultaneously forms a double eyelid crease is described as follows. The vacant space of zone I (Fig. 2A–D) was transplanted with fat parcels from the deep layer to the middle and top layer to augment the volume. Each tiny fat parcel (1/240 mL) was structurally transplanted as a bulking agent to fill the original hollowness. In zone II (Fig. 2A–D), a thin layer was transplanted between the lower margin of zone I and the lowest lid crease (or along the presumptive crease). Zones I and II conjugated and blended integrally after MAFT. Zone III remained untransplanted; therefore, a conformation like the boundary along zones II and III might take place. When the eyes opened, the levator aponeurosis contracted to lift the insertion fibers, causing a crease to appear (Fig. 6A–D, and also see animation, Supplemental Digital Content 2, http://links.lww.com/SAP/A153).

FIGURE 6

FIGURE 6

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CONCLUSIONS

This study developed an easy, simple, and reliable procedure on the basis of the MAFT technique for correction. Candidates in their 20s to early 40s with sunken upper eyelids (typically deficient in the preseptal or pretarsal fat pads) and multiple folds but no redundant skin (dermatochalasis) had superior results. The advantages of MAFT in such clinical candidates not only included the recontouring of the hollowness but also the recreation of a double eyelid crease with sustainable long-term effects, further confirming that this strategy is a suitable alternative. Tentative mechanisms indicated that a double eyelid crease can be created and that the rejuvenated appearance for eyelid hollowness can be effectively maintained.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENT

Informed consent was received for publication of the figures in this article.

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REFERENCES

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Keywords:

fat grafting; sunken eyes; double eyelid fold; blepharoplasty

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