Correction of lower eyelid retraction commonly involves one or more techniques, including recession of the eyelid retractors, spacer grafts, horizontal lid tightening, and midface lifting. However, patients presenting with cicatricial lower lid retraction following prior eyelid surgery often have scarring and concomitant ectropion or entropion that cause unpredictable wound healing, recicatrization, and suboptimal outcomes. The modified Hughes tarsoconjunctival flap is typically used to repair full-thickness eyelid defects. Prior reports describe treating refractory lower lid retraction with a modified Hughes flap placed beneath the tarsus after full-thickness blepharotomy. We present our experience with a novel surgical technique for treating refractory cicatricial lower lid retraction using a modified Hughes flap above the tarsus after excision of the scarred lid margin.
Three patients were treated using this technique. The upper edge of the lower eyelid and associated scar tissue are excised. A modified Hughes flap is mobilized and secured above the posterior lamellar remnant. A full-thickness skin graft is placed over the flap. The flap is divided 4–5 weeks later.
This surgical technique was employed in all 3 cases. All cases were revisional, with 2 having extensive multioperative histories with multiple unsuccessful reconstructions and lid retraction repairs. All patients had improvement in cicatricial eyelid retraction, lagophthalmos, exposure keratopathy, and resolution of concomitant cicatricial ectropion.
The technique of using a modified Hughes flap to reconstruct above the tarsus with excision of the scarred lid margin was effective in correcting refractory cicatricial lower lid retraction. This procedure can be considered in multioperative cases in which traditional techniques for lower lid retraction repair have failed. Reconstructing a new lid margin reduces the risk of recicatrization and suboptimal results.