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Ophthalmic Plast Reconstr Surg. 2012 Mar-Apr;28(2):140-4. doi: 10.1097/IOP.0b013e318248e62c.

Transcutaneous medial canthal tendon incision to the medial orbit.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Oculoplastic & Orbital Surgery, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA.



The surgical approach to the medial orbit allows superior exposure of the medial orbital wall and nasal bones, extending to the orbital apex, with excellent cosmetic results.


This is a retrospective database study of all patients (N = 98) undergoing a transcutaneous medial canthal tendon incision in practice during 2009. This 1.5- to 2.0-cm incision is made just anterior to, in the same plane as, and shaving the anterior ramus of the medial canthal tendon. After exposing the origin of the anterior ramus of the medial canthal tendon, the periorbita along with the attached medial canthal tendon is elevated, exposing the entire medial orbital wall from the orbital strut to the trochlea. Anterior dissection allows access to the nasal bones to the dorsum of the nasal bridge. The parameters studied in this report were the complication rates (including scarring requiring revision, telecanthus, diplopia related to the technique, and injury to the optic nerve or other orbital structures) and photographic evidence of the final cosmetic result of this approach.


During 2009, 173 surgical procedures were performed through the transcutaneous medial canthal tendon incision. The procedures comprised 89 fracture repairs of the nasal or ethmoid complex, 2 naso-orbito-ethmoid fracture repairs, 4 cases of isolated nasal fracture repair, 37 medial wall decompressions for ophthalmic Graves disease, 13 cases of subperiosteal abscess drainage, and 28 dacyrocystorhinostomies using a slightly modified incisional position. The inferior oblique was not cut or released in any of these cases. There were no observed cases of medial canthal webbing, injury to orbital structures, telecanthus, optic neuropathy, or iatrogenically induced diplopia related to the technique. By definition, the authors' follow-up time is limited to less than 2 years in each case; however, all complications, which the authors have considered for this report, would have been readily observable in this postoperative period.


The small incision, transcutaneous medial canthal approach offers excellent and safe exposure of the medial wall, nose, and the orbital apex. The authors differentiate this transcutaneous medial canthal tendon incision from the less cosmetically acceptable, larger and more anterior Lynch incision. This medial canthal tendon incision has, and continues to be, a workhorse in the authors' approach to the medial orbit and nose while offering unparalleled exposure with an excellent safety and complication profile.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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