The role of second-intention healing in periocular reconstruction

Ophthalmic Plast Reconstr Surg. 1997 Sep;13(3):174-88. doi: 10.1097/00002341-199709000-00004.


Second-intention healing is a time-honored method of wound management. Its role in periocular reconstruction, however, is currently controversial. The objectives of this thesis are threefold: to evaluate carefully the outcomes in a cohort of patients treated by this technique, to provide a comprehensive review of published reports, and to formulate recommendations and guidelines for appropriate application in selected patients. Eyelid and periorbital defects after excision of periocular tumors were allowed to heal by second intention in 59 patients. The locations of the wounds were the medial canthus (n = 32), lower eyelid (n = 20), upper eyelid, (n = 4), glabella (n = 2), and nasojugal fold (n = 1). Five excised areas involved the eyelid margin, and in three patients the defect included the canalicular system. The size of the defects ranged from 3 x 3 mm to 22 x 27 mm. The average duration of follow-up was 19 months (range, 6 months to 8 years). The functional and cosmetic results were satisfactory in 49 patients (83%). Complications occurred in 10 patients and included ectropion, medial canthal webbing, trichiasis, eyelid notching, and hypertrophic scarring. Only two patients, however, required secondary repair. Healing by second intention is a safe, effective, and inexpensive alternative to surgical reconstruction after tumor excision in selected patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Basal Cell / surgery
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / surgery
  • Eye Evisceration
  • Eyelid Neoplasms / pathology
  • Eyelid Neoplasms / surgery
  • Eyelids / physiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgery, Plastic / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Wound Healing* / physiology