Complications of tarsoconjunctival grafts

Ophthalmic Plast Reconstr Surg. 1996 Mar;12(1):45-50. doi: 10.1097/00002341-199603000-00007.


The authors reviewed 44 tarsoconjunctival grafts performed from 1983 to 1993 to determine the nature and severity of complications related to these grafts. Follow-up ranged from 3 weeks to 10 years, with a mean of 23 months. The complications were categorized as none, minor, or major. A complication was deemed major if it required a second surgical procedure for treatment. Eleven percent (5/44) of patients had major complications, including marked upper lid retraction after upper lid reconstruction (1), wound dehiscence (2), cicatricial ectropion (1), and excessive lower lid laxity (1). Seventy-three percent (32/44) of patients had minor complications. Minor complications included trichiasis (5), notching of the donor and/or recipient lid margin (9), mild lid retraction (3), contour deformity (2), granuloma (2), prolonged edema or erythema (4), symblepharon (1), mild ectropion (2), punctate keratitis (1), minimal ptosis (1), and epiphora (1). Sixteen percent (7/44) had no complications. Despite the frequent minor complications and the occasional major complications, the use of free tarsoconjunctival grafts remains a valuable procedure in the surgeon's armamentarium for reconstruction of major eyelid defects. Knowledge and early recognition of the possible complications may result in better patient care.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / surgery*
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery*
  • Conjunctiva / transplantation*
  • Eyelid Diseases / surgery*
  • Eyelid Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Eyelids / transplantation*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Postoperative Complications / surgery
  • Reoperation
  • Suture Techniques