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Aesthet Surg J. 2008 May-Jun;28(3):258-64. doi: 10.1016/j.asj.2008.02.007.

Aging of the bony orbit: a three-dimensional computed tomographic study.

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  • 1Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of General Surgery, Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, CA, USA.



Facial aging is a dynamic process involving the aging of soft tissue and bony structures. The shape, size, and volume of the bony orbit have all been shown to change with increasing age.


In this study, we demonstrate how specific bony aspects of the orbit change with age in both male and female subjects and what impact this may have on the techniques used in facial cosmetic surgery.


Facial bone computed tomography (CT) scans were obtained from 60 white subjects (30 female, 30 male). Our study population consisted of 10 male and 10 female subjects in each of 3 age categories. Each CT scan underwent three-dimensional (3-D) reconstruction with volume rendering. Orbital aperture width was measured as a line drawn from the posterior lacrimal crest to the frontozygomatic suture. This line was then used as the x-axis from which the distance to the superior and inferior orbital rim at nine equal increments (labeled 10 to 90) was obtained. The orbital aperture area was also measured on each 3-D model. The Student t test was used to identify any trends between age groups.


The orbital aperture width and area in both our male and female subjects showed a significant increase with increasing age. There was a significant increase in height of the superior orbital rim medially in both genders, suggesting that the superior orbital rim receded with age in this region. The inferior orbital rim receded significantly laterally in our female population, while our male subjects had a recession of the entire inferior orbital rim.


These results suggest that the bony elements of the orbit change dramatically with age, and this, coupled with soft tissue changes, can lead to the appearance of the aged eye and orbit.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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