Large upper eyelid defects are typically repaired by the two-stage Cutler-Beard procedure. Replacing the tarsal plate is integral in reconstructing the upper eyelid. Currently, autogenous cartilage is the most frequently used tarsal substitute. We propose using donor Achilles tendon as an alternative for increased stability of the upper eyelid when repairing large defects by the Cutler-Beard procedure.
We present a retrospectively reviewed case series of four patients with large upper eyelid defects. Each had the traditional Cutler-Beard procedure with the variation of using donor Achilles tendon as the tarsal replacement. Patients were examined and photographed in follow-up ranging from 6 months to 4 years.
All cases were successful in recreating the upper eyelid without complication. The tendon graft supplied structure, motility, and cosmesis throughout follow-up. The human Achilles tendon was investigated by literature review and compared with currently available posterior lamellar substitutes.
The replacement of upper eyelid tarsus with Achilles tendon as part of the Cutler-Beard procedure was successful in repairing large upper eyelid defects in four patients. The tendon graft is easily placed and incorporated in the normal eyelid anatomy. It is pliable and mobile yet stable. Repair is not limited by the size of the defect, as the tissue is readily available. The modification produced excellent functional and cosmetic results.