The tear trough deformity
The tear trough is the groove at the junction between where the lower eyelid and the cheek. As we age, one of the changes which is commonly noticed and commented on is the appearance and gradual worsening of dark circles under the eyelids. This occurs due to the thinning of the overlying skin and soft tissue over the bony orbital rim. A band of tethering fibrous tissue called the orbitomalar ligament binds the skin underneath the lower eyelid to the underlying bony rim of the eye socket. In youth, due to the surrounding plump fat, thicker overlying skin and soft tissue surrounding this structure, this ligament is usually invisible. However, with age atrophy of the adjacent tissues and thinning of the skin occurs, leading to increased visibility of this deep attachment between the skin and orbital rim- the so called tear trough deformity. Injectable filler (Restylane & Perlane) for tear trough rejuvenation.
Tear Trough Filler Treatment
An increasingly popular treatment is the use of injectable implant fillers, especially in patients in their late 30's to 40's, to essentially fill out the trough. Commonly in this age group, the loss of volume at the junction between the upper cheek and lower eyelid, i.e. a worsening tear trough deformity, is the only obvious sign of aging. Therefore simple replacement of this lost volume without the need for surgery can lead to dramatic improvement. In the past, various injectable implants e.g. the patients own harvested fat cells have been used with varying patient acceptability and success. Over the past decade though, injectable fillers such as Restylane & Perlane, which are based on hyalauronic acid- a natural tissue component produced by the body, have been used with excellent safety and effectiveness.
The aim of the treatment is to place the filler deep below the skin and soft tissue around orbitomalar ligament, thereby lifting up these tissues, making the tear trough appear shallower. In most patients there is an almost immediate improvement with a reduction in the depth and width of the tear trough itself. Dark circles which are often due to shadowing within the trough itself similarly improve. In some patients though, there may remain some residual dark circles due to actual longstanding skin pigmentation built up over many years. In these patients they often notice an enhanced effect from using makeup to mask these lines.
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