This morning, around 200 ophthalmologists from around the world had the opportunity to observe a new surgical technique in Europe during a a live surgery session as part of the course “Barcelona Oculoplastics: Advances in eyelid surgery”, led by Dr Ramón Medel, an oculoplastic surgery specialist at the Barcelona Institute of Ocular Microsurgery (IMO) where the conference was held. The procedure, performed by Dr Medel, consisted of performing a transconjunctival mid-face lift with tissue grafting from the mucous membrane of the palate to correct lower eyelid retraction following a blepharoplasty operation.
This technique, which was pioneered in the USA and introduced to Europe by IMO specialist, consists of lifting the cheek through the conjunctiva so that the lower eyelid returns to its normal position. This is a complex but very effective procedure for correcting drooping of the lower eyelid, a frustrating and dangerous complication for the cornea, which may appear after blepharoplasty surgery.
A popular surgical procedure
Alongside rhinoplasty, blepharoplasty is one of the most requested cosmetic facial surgeries today. In most cases, it is carried out to correct eyelid bags that usually appear with age or for congenital reasons.
“It is a difficult and very specialised operation seeking to improve the eye's function and the aesthetics of the patient's face, without making visible incisions. A real challenge for the surgeon”, Dr Medel points out. Despite its complexity, the procedure is performed on an outpatient basis (without the patient being admitted), with local anaesthetic accompanied by sedation and laser-assisted. “When performed by experts this technique is fast, avoids visible cuts in the skin, reduces inflammation and leaves reduced haematoma in the area. In addition, it is not as invasive and allows for faster recovery”, confirms IMO ophthalmologist.
However, this type of surgery is not without possible complications, so it must be performed by an oculoplastic surgery specialist. Otherwise, one of the complications that may occur, and that does in fact occur in 20% of cases, is retraction of the lower eyelid. When this problem occurs, the lower eyelid hangs excessively meaning the patient is unable to close the eye properly. “It is a very uncomfortable condition that may cause damage to the cornea causing ocular dryness, keratitis or corneal ulcers", says Dr Medel.
The transconjunctival mid-face lift shown live today at IMO is a pioneering technique in Europe to overcome this complication, and additionally, it provides more natural and less traumatic results for the patient than conventional lifts. It can therefore also be used for purely aesthetic purposes. Similarly, it is a technqiue with proven efficiency in thyroid patients with traumatic retractions and facial palsy. The procedure lifts the cheeks and lower eyelids by supporting them from the conjunctiva and subsequently fills them with a tissue grafting previously taken from the patient themselves, generally from the palate, "since this is a tissue that can be extracted just before the start of surgery and that regenerates very quickly", explains Dr Ramón Medel.
Specialists from around the world
In addition to this pioneering procedure, the live oculoplastic surgery programme that got the medical conference off to a start this morning, included other procedures performed by some of the most renowned specialists in the world. Famous names in international eyelid and oculoplastic surgery such as Dr Naresh Yoshi (United Kingdom), Dr José Raúl Montes (Puerto Rico), Dr Luigi Colangelo (Italy) and Dr Thierry Malet (France), among others, showed, in vivo, their most advanced techniques in eyelid retraction, blepharoplasty and eyelid ptosis (drooping of the upper eyelid).
Organised by IMO Foundation, the 3rd International Barcelona Oculoplastics Course will offer, throughout today and until lunchtime tomorrow, various conferences, round tables and practical workshops to showcase the latest advances and techniques in one of the most complex and specialised surgical procedures in this field.