Canthoplasty - Cosmetic Surgery Guide

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Canthoplasty is a surgical procedure which can help people with lower eyelids that sag. This drooping could occur for a number of reasons such as aging, paralysis or previous surgery. Although you can have the treatment on it's own many patients opt to have Canthoplasty in conjunction with other treatments like face or brow lifts. Most of those who decide to have the treatment are over 30 however if sagging or fatty lower eyelids are a problem before this then it's possible to have Canthoplasty earlier.

The Procedure

Unlike most other cosmetic procedures, the way Canthoplasty is performed will differ greatly on an individual basis. This is due to individual differences such as the position of the eye, the degree of sagging and the prominence of the eyes. In general, Canthoplasty is performed by cutting through the orbicularis muscle and then dividing and tightening the lower canthal tendon. This makes use of a small incision in the outer corner of the eyelid. Any excess skin is removed and following this, the eyelid is re-attached to the side of the eye socket. The small incision will then be closed and sealed using either dissolvable or permanent stitches, which will need to be removed about a week later. In a similar treatment, called Canthopexy this tendon is tightened by using a permanent suture underneath the eyelid. The surgery can be performed under local or general anesthetic. This increasingly popular treatment has been shown to yield good results. The lower eyelids will be tightened and elevated creating a more youthful look in the eyes.


Following the treatment it's common to experience some minor swelling and bruising which should dissipate in under a week. It's usual to be prescribed medication for pain and antibiotics to promote healing and minimise the risk of infection. Patients frequently experience 'dry eyes' and you may need to use eye drops for a while after the procedure. It's recommended that you avoid any activity which will contribute to this including reading, watching television, using a computer and wearing contact lenses. It's also common to be given some advice to help protect your eyes following surgery such as, wearing sunglasses and avoiding any activity which increases blood flow to the eye like sports or bending. As the surgery affects only a small area, patients can usually return to work within a couple of days.

The risks

All surgical procedures come with risks and Canthoplasty is no different. In some rare cases there can be an adverse reaction to anesthesia and an increased risk of infection developing. You can help to promote healing by following after care advice and certain anti-inflammatory drugs shouldn't be taken for a couple of weeks prior to surgery as they may affect your body's blood clotting system. In addition; smoking can affect your blood vessels and may result in a reduced blood supply to some body tissues. Therefore it's usually recommended that you don't smoke for at least two months before the procedure. If the surgery is not performed correctly, this can lead to the junction between upper and lower eyelid becoming deformed or rounded. Similarly, Canthoplasty can also result in an unwanted vertical retraction in those with deep-set eyes. Further surgery may be required if you are not satisfied with the results or if damage occurs during the initial surgery.