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“Saddle” Tailored Upper Eyelid Island Myocutaneous Flap to Repair Full-Thickness Lower Eyelid Defects After Melanoma Excision

Borgognoni, Lorenzo M.D.; Sestini, Serena M.D.; Gerlini, Gianni M.D.; Brandani, Paola M.D.; Giannotti, Vanni M.D.; Gelli, Riccardo M.D.; Chiarugi, Cristina M.D.

Ophthalmic Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery: January-February 2011 - Volume 27 - Issue 1 - p 55-59
doi: 10.1097/IOP.0b013e3181e977ba
Surgical Technique

Purpose: To perform an early melanoma diagnosis and to repair the full-thickness lower eyelid defect with an island upper eyelid myocutaneous flap tailored into a new shape.

Methods: Two patients with pigmented lesion involving skin and tarsus of the lower eyelid were reported. Histologic examination, performed after diagnostic punch biopsy, confirmed the diagnosis of in situ melanomas in both cases. A full-thickness excision was done and a single pedicle island myocutaneous flap from the upper eyelid was performed. The flap was designed in a blepharoplastic manner and tunnelized to reach the lower eyelid defect. The flap was tailored into a “saddle” shape, doubled, and folded to restore both the internal and external eyelid walls in a single-stage procedure.

Results: Good functional and aesthetic results were obtained with no complications. Interestingly enough, the tissue of the internal layer lost the features of skin epithelium due to metaplasia processes and appeared similar to the conjunctiva. After 3 years, no sign of melanoma recurrence was noted.

Conclusions: Early diagnosis was performed in both reported lower eyelid melanoma cases. For the reconstruction, a modified upper eyelid island myocutaneous flap tailored into a “saddle” shape was used, which had the advantages of being a single-stage procedure and avoiding mucosa grafts. The technique could also be used to repair full-thickness lower eyelid defects from other causes.

The use of the “saddle” tailored upper eyelid island myocutaneous flap seems an appropriate technique for lower eyelid tumor surgery, which requires a complete excision of the primary lesion and a simultaneous reconstructive procedure, considering functional and aesthetic aspects.

Plastic Surgery Unit, Regional Melanoma Referral Center, S.M. Annunziata Hospital, Tuscan Tumor Institute (ITT), Florence, Italy

Accepted for publication March 11, 2010.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Serena Sestini, M.D., U.O. Chirurgia Plastica, Centro di Riferimento Regionale per il Melanoma, Ospedale S.M. Annunziata, Via Antella 58, I-50011 Florence, Italy. E-mail:

©2011The American Society of Opthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Inc.