Eyelid reconstructive surgery is essential for most of the patients suffering from eyelid cancer. This surgical procedure is different from cosmetic surgery because it prioritizes the functioning of the eye. Moreover, after the reconstructive procedure, a patient will retain their eye appearance as it was before their cancer diagnosis.
Eyelid Reconstruction Surgery Procedure
Eyelid reconstruction surgery restores the tissue lost while removing the tumor. Apart from cancer patients, eyelid reconstruction is also beneficial for those who suffer from a damaged eyelid. However, there would be a slight change in the reconstructive process.
The reconstructive process encompasses a series of surgeries spread over a specified time period. The process varies depending upon the severity of the patient’s damage as well as the nature of the defect. Minor injuries can be treated easily using sutures. However, severe conditions such as cancer would demand a complex eyelid reconstruction.
This procedure includes skin grafts that an eye surgeon would use to reconstruct the eyelid. Normally, the skin is sourced from regions surrounding the eyelid or from a flap of muscles situated on the patient’s body. Skin grafting should be performed by an experienced oculoplastic surgeon as this procedure is crucial for the reconstruction.
Enucleation or Eviceration
In addition to skin grafting, if the patient suffers a severe case of intraocular melanoma, they would need either evisceration or enucleation. Enucleation is a procedure wherein the entire eye is removed whereas evisceration is only concerned with the removal of some parts of the eye.
In evisceration, the eye muscles and sclera (the white part of your eye) are retained. For cancer patients, enucleation is the best option as it helps in removing the entire portion of the tumor. However, for other complications such as disfigured or infected eye, evisceration would be sufficient. Both of these procedures play a key role in pain management and recovery of a patient.
Unlike plastic surgery, the reconstruction procedure has an extended recovery period. Considering the nature of the procedure performed, the patient needs to wear an eye patch for a day or up to two weeks.
The recovery period would extend until the bruising and swelling of the eye resolve. Complete recovery may take up to months depending on the extent of the surgery. For instance, it would take longer for a patient who underwent enucleation compared to another patient undergoing evisceration.
Benefits of Eyelid Reconstruction
Eyelid reconstruction helps to treat physical trauma and to rectify the defects made in tumor excision or cancer surgery. It also helps in avoiding the complications from a previous eyelid procedure by redoing the reconstructive process until the sight and appearance are restored.
Following an eyelid reconstruction, many patients may notice fewer fine lines on the outer corners of their eyes. Also, the removal of excess skin below the eye would also eliminate baggy areas of the eyes. All of this accounts for a refreshed appearance and an enhanced vision.