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J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2010 Mar;63(3):416-22. doi: 10.1016/j.bjps.2008.11.041. Epub 2009 Jan 14.

The orbicularis oculi muscle flap: its use for treatment of lagophthalmos and a review of its use for other applications.

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Plastic Surgery Unit, Messina University, Messina, Italy.



The management of lagophthalmos in patients with long-standing facial palsy is difficult, since the immobility and scleral show have to be corrected to protect the vision. In this article, the authors describe the treatment of paralytic eye with a static technique using a medially based orbicularis oculi muscle flap (OOMF) from the upper eyelid in patients with lagophthalmos.


From April 2006 to May 2008, five Caucasian patients with ages ranging from 45 to 71 years (mean, 61 years) were treated at the Plastic Surgery Unit of Messina University. All patients underwent orbicularis oculi muscle (OOM) transposition flap to support the lower orbicularis oculi and create a suspension of the eyelid. To validate the anatomical features of the OOM transposition flap, four fresh cadaver heads (eight eyelids) were dissected to demonstrate flap viability, feasibility and suspension effect.


We achieved resolution of the lagophthalmos and good cosmetic appearance in all cases. The distance between the upper and lower eyelid points during eye closing (as for sleep) was reduced postoperatively on the paralysed side compared to the contralateral healthy side. Follow-up time ranged from 3 to 25 months (mean, 12 months). All patients healed well with no complications of the flaps. There was no flap contraction, recurrent deformity or significant donor-site morbidity in the follow-up period. The incision scars were almost invisible.


The authors believe that the switching of upper blepharoplasty technique from the upper eyelid to the paralysed and scarred lower lid can be used as a tool to treat lagophthalmos.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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