Canthoplasty, which is also known as inferior retinacular suspension pr lateral retinacular suspension, is a surgical procedure that involves tightening the muscles or ligaments that provide support to the outer corner of a patient's eyelid.  This procedure, which involves reshaping the eye, should not be confused with canthopexy, which provides additional support to the eye without actually changing its shape.  Cathoplasty can be used to help create an upward slant in the outer corner of the eyelid or correct a drooping appearance in this portion of the eye.  The procedure is often requested by those looking to create "catlike" eyes, though it may be used for other purposes as well.  For example, those who are suffering from paralysis or who have developed a droop resulting from aging or previous eye surgeries may also benefit from canthoplasty.

Understanding Canthoplasty

Although the exact procedure used for a canthoplasty varies from patient to patient, the main goal is to divide the lower canthal tendon so it can be moved and tightened.  Generally, an incision is made in the outer corner of the patient's eyelids in order to access the tendon.  Care is taken to perform the incision within the natural crease in the eyelid in order to minimize the appearance of scarring as much as possible.

The exact procedure used when performing a canthoplasty will depend upon the amount of sagging the patient is experiencing as well as the prominence of the patient's eyes and the positioning of the eyes.  In addition, if the patient is experiencing only a slight drooping problem, canthoplexy may be performed rather than canthoplasty.  Regardless off the procedure that is used, this surgery generally takes one to two hours to complete.

Risks Associated with Canthoplasty

As with any surgical procedure, patients who undergo a canthoplasty may experience any of the following side effects:

  • Adverse reaction to anesthesia
  • Bleeding
  • Blood clots
  • Bruising
  • Infection
  • Scarring
  • Swelling

Although bruising and swelling are both common, these side effects generally subside within a week.  Some patient also experience a change in eyesight following the procedure, but this is only temporary and normal vision will return on its own.

After the surgery is complete, it is also necessary to protect the eyes with sunglasses when going outdoors and to take steps to place as little strain on the eyes as possible.  This may include reducing reading and television watching time.  Patients should also avoid wearing contacts for the first few weeks following the surgery.

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