Standard face-lift techniques are excellent for the treatment of the jawline and neck. Treatment of the area between the lower eyelid and the corner of the mouth required the development of techniques in the intermediate lamella of the face. Alternative techniques of subperiosteal dissection by means of lower eyelid incisions were described with good aesthetic results but at the expense of increased morbidity and complications. All these techniques were also two-dimensional manipulations of the soft tissues of the face. The author presents a different approach that he believes is close to the ideal in terms of safety, morbidity, and complications.
Although midface rejuvenation may be performed alone, it is more commonly done as a component of total facial rejuvenation. The midface is approached by means of a combination of a temporal slit incision and an upper oral sulcus incision; no eyelid access is used. Fifty percent of the midface dissection is performed under direct visualization, and 50 percent is performed under endoscopic control. Dissection of the temporal area is done under the temporoparietal fascia down to the zygomatic arch. The anterior two-thirds of the zygomatic arch periosteum is elevated along with a few millimeters of the intermediate temporal fascia and the fascia of the masseter muscle. The subperiosteal dissection of the zygoma and maxilla is completed with the medial extension of the dissection just medial to the infraorbital nerve. The orbital fat pads are released by means of intraoral route, and the lateral and middle fat pads are advanced over the orbital rim and fixed to the masseter tendon and the periosteum of the maxillary shelf at the intraoral incision. Three suspension points are typically used on the midface, each one with a different action. All are anchored to the temporal fascia proper. The vascularized Bichat's fat pad is mobilized and fixed with 4-0 polydioxanone sutures. This provides a volumetric cheek augmentation and improvement of the jowl. The inferior malar periosteum and fascia is used for malar imbrication with 4-0 polydioxanone sutures. This provides an anterior projection of the cheek and elevates the corner of the mouth. The suborbicularis oculi fat is used for en bloc vertical suspension of the cheek. This also improves the infraorbital V deformity.
This technique has been used in close to 200 patients over the last 5 years. The complications have been minimal: two cases of temporary paresis of the levator of the upper lip, one case of paresis of the orbicularis oris (unilateral), one case of buccinator muscle dysfunction, and two moderate infections that were treated with simple drainage. The degree of facial edema has been minimal compared with the open or the transblepharoplasty approach. Typically, patients can return to work 2 weeks after surgery.
The three-dimensional endoscopic midface enhancement provides a technique of midface remodeling that provides the missing dimension (volume) to the rejuvenation of the midface. This can be done with a minimal rate of complications, and the aesthetic results surpass by far the results of other midface techniques previously described by the author. (Plast. Reconstr. Surg. 109: 329, 2002.)
From the Plastic Surgery Division of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Plastic Surgery Division of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
Oscar M. Ramirez, M.D. Esthétique International
Received for publication October 17, 2000; revised April 2, 2001.
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