Medial canthotomy and cantholysis in eyelid reconstruction

Am J Ophthalmol. 1993 Aug 15;116(2):218-23. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9394(14)71289-9.


Combined medial canthotomy and cantholysis is a quick, technically simple, single-stage reconstructive technique for use in the reconstruction of the upper or lower eyelid. This technique, which transects one lacrimal canaliculus, provides up to 20% of the horizontal eyelid dimension for closure. Medial canthotomy and cantholysis is most frequently used in combination with other eyelid reconstructive techniques for difficult reconstructions, which would otherwise require more extensive surgical procedures. The surgical technique is readily performed with the patient under general anesthesia and entails the transection of one lacrimal canaliculus, lysis of one crus of the medial canthal tendon, and lateral advancement of the medial eyelid stump. We used medial canthotomy and cantholysis in the reconstruction of 29 eyelid defects (21 upper eyelids and eight lower eyelids) over a 12-year period with adequate reconstructive results in all cases. Eleven of the patients underwent simultaneous lateral canthotomy and cantholysis. Complications of the medial canthotomy and cantholysis technique include anterior displacement of the medial portion of the eyelid, epiphora, notching of the medial portion of the eyelid, medial ectropion, and blepharoptosis. If used with appropriate case selection, this technique allows an optimal reconstructive result to be achieved with a minimum of operative time and morbidity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Eyelid Neoplasms / surgery
  • Eyelids / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Surgery, Plastic / adverse effects
  • Surgery, Plastic / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome