Dr. Rod Rohrich of UT Southwestern Medical Center, with Colleagues, Introduces Five-Step Lower Eyelid Rejuvenation Process

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New plastic surgery process unveiled in PRS Journal improves results and reduces complexities of eye rejuvenation

Rod J. Rohrich eyelift

An eyelift can change the shape of the eyes for youthful, more refreshed appearance.

Plastic surgery of the lower lid historically is challenging and has inspired a confusing spectrum of surgical techniques. This new process is designed to simplify some of the complexities and give us better, more consistent results.

Dr. Rod Rohrich, holder of two distinguished chairs of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, introduced a new approach to plastic surgery for the eyes (blepharoplasty) in the latest PRS Journal article. The process, which specifically addresses complicated rejuvenation of the lower eyelid, was proven through 100 eyelid procedures and one-year-post-procedure follow-ups with real patients.

“Along with the front of the neck, the eye area of the face is the first thing you look at when you meet a person, and one of the first features that reveals your age,” Dr. Rohrich explains. “Plastic surgery of the lower lid historically is challenging and has inspired a confusing spectrum of surgical techniques. This new process is designed to simplify some of the complexities and give us better, more consistent results.”

Blepharoplasty is often performed along with a face lift but according to Dr. Rohrich, some surgeons avoid lower lid rejuvenation because of the potential for long-lasting complications and an unnatural look if it’s not done correctly. He hopes the simplicity of the new process will encourage more plastic surgeons and reconstructive surgeons to provide this service to their patients.

Eyes look old when they sag, bulge, wrinkle and hollow

In Dr. Rohrich’s experience, younger patients who request plastic surgery of the eyes have noticed a change in the shape of the eye, including the beginnings of bulging lower eyelid fat, which gives them a tired look. Older patients often complain of sagging skin and excess wrinkling, which also makes their eyes look tired.

One of the reasons eyes look old is that fat pockets in the face begin to deflate and change shape, with separations forming between them, which makes transition zones like the lower lid/cheek junction more obvious. This phenomenon is more marked in men than in women. A blepharoplasty attempts to shift the fat pockets and skin to restore the eye to its original shape—or as close as possible based on past photos of the person.

Five-step eye lift procedure simplifies the process. The new five-step lower eyelid rejuvenation process is composed of simple individual technical maneuvers combined to provide a powerful, reproducible eyelid shaping approach for surgeons.

The five steps include:

1.    Augmenting the supportive deep malar fat compartment in the cheek by injection
2.    Preserving the lower lid muscle with minimal fat removal (if at all)
3.    Selectively releasing the main ligament structure of the lower lid
4.    Establishing or strengthening the lateral canthal support
5.    Removing minimal skin

One goal of the new five-step eye rejuvenation process is to minimize changes in the face and avoid the unnatural wind-swept look of old-style facelifts that can make the skin look shiny and features look strained.

Key elements of the five-step eye rejuvenation process are restoring and preserving the natural shape and contour of the eye by preserving fat, preserving eyelid muscles at all costs to make it safe and keep the eye from becoming dry as we age, and restoring the deep malar fat compartment in order to blend the eyelid-cheek junction.

The Eyes are an Important Element of Full Facial Rejuvenation

Dr. Rohrich stresses that eye plastic surgery is an important and integral part of full facial rejuvenation, in order to obtain a natural effect. However, before it’s necessary to undergo a blepharoplasty or facial rejuvenation, he suggests sunscreen and avoidance of the sun go a long way in putting off premature aging of the face. Many people use botox and eyelid fillers in their 30s to prolong a youthful look, he says.

About Rod J. Rohrich, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Dr. Rohrich holds the Betty and Warren Woodward Chair in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. He also holds the UT Southwestern Medical Center Crystal Charity Ball Distinguished Chair in Plastic Surgery. He is a graduate of the Baylor College of Medicine with high honors, with residencies at the University of Michigan Medical Center and fellowships at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard (hand/microsurgery) and Oxford University (pediatric plastic surgery). He has served as president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. He repeatedly has been selected by his peers as one of America's best doctors, and twice has received one of his profession's highest honors, the Plastic Surgery Educational Foundation Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes his contributions to education in his field. Dr. Rohrich participates in and has led numerous associations and councils for the advancement of plastic and reconstructive surgery. He is a native of North Dakota. He is married to Dr. Diane Gibby, also a plastic surgeon. They live in Texas with their two children.

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