Classically, the aesthetic outcomes of eyelid retraction surgery in patients with thyroid-associated orbitopathy have been described in reference to eyelid margin position and marginal reflex distance. A critically important component of upper eyelid contour is the tarsal platform show (TPS). With this study, the authors aimed to assess the hypothesis that modification of the tarsal platform in posterior eyelid retraction surgery has a significant effect on the final aesthetic outcome.
In a retrospective, observational, case-cohort study, the authors reviewed the medical records of 36 patients with thyroid-associated orbitopathy who underwent primary eyelid retraction surgery by 1 surgeon. Patients who underwent eyelid retraction surgery at the time of orbital decompression were excluded. The surgical technique consisted of posterior approach conjunctival release of Müeller muscle and graded recession of the levator aponeurosis. To address lateral flare, dissection was carried toward the lateral orbital rim with spreading of the lateral horn of the levator aponeurosis. Outcome measures were millimeters of TPS, millimeters of brow fat span, and symmetry of the eyelid margin position. Randomized preoperative and postoperative standardized photographs were evaluated in masked fashion by 4 surgeons to grade cosmetic outcomes.
Fifteen patients (24 eyelids) met the inclusion criteria. Mean follow-up period was 6 months (range, 3–12). Mean TPS increased from 2.27 mm (standard deviation, 1.9 mm) to 4.77 mm (standard deviation, 1.7 mm; p
< 0.05). Mean brow fat span remained unchanged, from 13.22 mm (standard deviation, 2.2 mm) to 13.25 mm (standard deviation, 1.9; p
> 0.05). Evaluation of the aesthetic outcomes (eyelid contour, eyelid symmetry, and TPS) by 4 masked observers characterized the relevance of TPS in the postoperative aesthetics of eyelid contour and symmetry.
In upper eyelid retraction surgery, the ability to control the TPS has a significant impact on the final aesthetic outcome. Posterior approach eyelid retraction surgery can control eyelid contour and can represent an ideal surgical approach in carefully selected patients. However, it has limited ability to control upper orbital volume and eyebrow and orbital fat (brow fat span). This can result in relative overelongation of the TPS. Factors such as ethnic characteristics, bony asymmetry, brow fat span, and premorbid TPS influence cosmetic outcomes achieved by the anterior or posterior approach. For optimal aesthetic results in eyelid retraction surgery, the decision for anterior versus posterior approach should be individualized.