Canthoplasty: A Comprehensive Guide

Canthoplasty is a form of corrective surgery for eyelids. It’s often performed on patients born with droopy eyelids. You may start getting droopy eyes due to age, injury, or disease.

Canthoplasty can be also done in conjunction with other procedures. This includes blepharoplasty and canthopexy.

Canthoplasty removes excess skin that normally creates an outflow block from your Meibomian glands. (These are tiny parts of your eyes that keep the eye moist and can make us blink)

The removal of this tissue restores normal gland function which will increase tear production and quality.

So, how does canthoplasty work? Who can benefit from it? Are there risks? How do you pick the right doctor for the job? How much will it cost?

Find out these, and more below…!

What is canthoplasty?

Canthoplasty is a surgical procedure that tightens the lower eyelids.

The surgery can rejuvenate loose skin on the upper and/or lower lids by tightening them. This, in turn, reduces wrinkles around your eyes. It may also help to reduce dark circles or bags under your eyes. The goal of this procedure is not only to improve sagging eyelids but reduce facial aging as well.

Canthoplasty is an operation that removes excess skin from both upper and lower eyelid margins. The results stop your eyelids from drooping over the eyeball. This improves people’s appearance because their face looks more youthful without those folds in front of their eyes.

The process is not that invasive. But, still, you have to get an extremely qualified hand to do the process on you.

a. Canthoplasty Vs Canthopexy

Canthoplasty is a surgical procedure that helps relieve the symptoms of drooping eyelids. Canthopexy is a surgery that corrects the displacement or deformation of an eye socket and its surrounding bones.

The main difference between these two procedures is their goals.

While both surgeries seek relief from potential future eyesight problems caused by drooping eyelids:

  • Canthaloplasty comes in as a less invasive option than canthopexy. This is because it does not require additional bone reconstruction for changes to take effect.
  • There is no such thing as minor surgery when performing a canthopexy. This is since it requires correction of underlying deformities first before treatment.

b. Canthoplasty Vs Blepharoplasty

The main difference between Canthoplasty vs blepharoplasty is simply location. One refers to surgery for the eyelids, while the other refers to surgery on the eyebrows.

Blepharoplasty is a type of eye surgery for correcting drooping eyebrows. It also corrects sagging brows, crow’s feet near one’s eyes, and other types of wrinkles.

Blepharoplasty lifts sagging ‘baggage’. It involves making incisions around them and then stitching back up after lifting all points. This step uses small stitches called anchor scars. The idea is not only to remove wrinkles but also to make you look more alert and attentive too!

Blepharoplasty also repairs muscles around the eyes. This can help get rid of wrinkles that happen when you get old. The wrinkles may be also formed when you have been in the sun too much.

Causes of droopy eyelids

Before you get to know how canthoplasty works, let’s look at what causes droopy eyelids.

The common causes of droopy eyelids are:

1. Decrease in facial fat

Sagging of the eyelids may come from a decrease in the production of facial fat. When this decrease happens, it causes the skin above to sag.

2. Age

As you age, your skin will lose, over time, its elasticity. This is why more elderly people have sagging eyelids. With age, there’s also an increase in water loss from underneath the eyes. This can also lead to additional sagging. The top layer of skin on the eyelids is then unable to hold itself taut and wrinkles form.

3. Loss of muscle tone

Loss of muscle tone around the eyes can also contribute to this condition. It causes loose skin that will fall around your eyes. As a result, it ends up giving you deep-set lines around them.

4. Decreased water

The decrease in water content under your eyes will also lead to increased wrinkling. It can also cause some heavy-looking bags below each eye too.

5. Smoking

Smokers are twice as likely to develop droopy eyelids as those who don’t smoke. Why? The nicotine in cigarettes can cause constriction of blood vessels. This reduces the flow of oxygen to the tissues. As a result, it leads to tissue death or loss of elasticity.

6. Sun exposure

Aging also affects how UV rays from the sun affect your skin by accelerating cell damage, thinning and drying out collagen fibers that help keep skin firm – so if you’re outside a lot without sunscreen on, this can lead to sagging eyes over time

7. Heredity/genetics

People who have droopy eyelids often inherit them from their parents. This is always carried down through genetic inheritance.

8. Lack of sleep

Not getting enough rest can cause your eyes to lose elasticity and sag.

As you see, there are so many causes of this common problem. Thus, you must take care of yourself every day to avoid droopy eyes. There are a variety of preventative measures that you should employ. Some of them include wearing sunglasses when out in the sun or avoiding smoking altogether.

When these issues start showing up, get help with surgery or otherwise. One thing is for sure though – don’t wait too long before taking action. Drooping eyelids not only look bad but can be quite uncomfortable over time too.

How does the process of canthoplasty work?

You may pick canthoplasty for cosmetic or medical purposes. The latter reason may become necessary due to trauma or other medical conditions.

During the surgery:

  1. The surgeon will first make an incision across and below the eyebrow. This exposes all of the underlying muscles and tissue needed for this surgery.
  2. Through these incisions, they’ll cut out any excess skin on your lower lid. This skin is that which caused you not to have enough creases before.
  3. They’ll then remove as much muscle from your lower lids as possible. They’ll do it without compromising their function. Thus, after healing, the muscles remain tight but still able to move up with every blink. This will gives you a natural crease.
  4. The surgeon will then have to create new muscle attachments for the rest of the lower lids. It’s done by attaching them with sutures or other surgical methods.
  5. Finally, they’ll close up all incisions on your skin and around your eye. This will allow everything to heal well without any complications.

You will obviously get your prescribed anesthesia before the procedure.

How long does the canthoplasty last?

The canthoplasty procedure typically requires anywhere from 2 to 3 hours. This goes for an experienced ophthalmic plastic surgeon who does this type of work regularly. It may take longer if it’s done as part of a wider facelift.

You’ll be likely awake during the last part of the surgery but under sedation. Closing such large incisions are already uncomfortable enough when fully conscious. Plus, most patients get anxious about having their eyes propped open for a long time.

The procedure’s done on an outpatient basis meaning you’ll go home the same day. You may resume your normal activities in just 24 hours or less.

You may need to wear sunglasses after surgery as there may be some bruising around the eyes. This could cause discomfort or sensitivity when exposed to bright light. Luckily, it should only last about three weeks before subsiding fully.

Canthoplasty recovery guidelines

What are the aftercare guidelines when recovering from a canthoplasty?

Let’s take a look below:

  1. You should avoid spending too much time in front of screens. This includes TVs, laptops, and phones. Doing so can you to have dry eyes.
  2. Take the prescribed antibiotics and pain medication. These will help you manage the pain and avoid infections.
  3. It’s recommended to not talk for the first day post-surgery. This is so you can avoid putting tension on the wound when you try to make expressions. It goes a long way in preventing unforeseen complications.
  4. Only eat if your surgeon allows this beforehand and in small quantities. They’ll want to be on hand as you eat anything. You know. In case there are problems with choking or swallowing food correctly after the operation.
  5. You should also stay away from strenuous activities. These involve heavy lifting and working out excessively. These all put pressure on the healing wound which could cause issues later.
  6. You may have a little swelling post-surgery. This is pretty normal and should clear up in about two weeks or less if it’s mild enough.
  7. Don’t try touching the wound at all without getting your doctor’s permission first. Else, you may risk getting an infection.
  8. When you do go outside after surgery, put an ice pack over the wound. You may also use a hat to shield it from bright sunlight.
  9. You may not have any pain post-surgery as they’ll give you medication for this. Still, some people experience discomfort in their eyelids or faces afterward. This should subside within about two weeks though.
  10. Don’t wear makeup for at least three weeks post-surgery. Later still, only use water-based products if you must. This is so you don’t irritate the healing wound and avoid complications later down the line.
  11. If there are eye patches in place during recovery, change them daily just as if they were a bandaid or cast. Do not try to remove them prematurely. That could lead to infection or reinfection of sorts which can slow down your recovery.
  12. You may need time away from work as well for up to two weeks before returning.

Who needs to get canthoplasty?

Canthoplasty is for people who have one or some of the following conditions:

  • If you have a sunken or recessed eye socket. The surgery can take place if you are born with it, develop it through an injury, or as a result of facial aging.
  • If your eye sockets are too shallow and the muscles that support them (called procerus) weaken over time. This may cause ‘bags’ under the eyes.
  • If you develop droopy eyes because their growth plates have not yet fused.

Some of the benefits that a canthoplasty can give you include:

  1. A new rejuvenated look.
  2. You get some sort of mini facelift around the corners of your eyes.
  3. You get better, bolder, and vibrant eyes.
  4. Your eyes develop a softer look after the surgery.

Risks of canthoplasty

There are some risks associated with canthoplasty. One of the most serious complications is that it can result in a chronic protrusion of the eye. If this happens, it will need to be urgently corrected.

The surgery can also cause a risk of dry eye in case it affects the meibomian glands. This gland secretes oils onto the surface of the eye and assists with lubrication.

It’s also possible for infections to occur if any bacteria gets into your wound.

What other risks can you encounter in a canthoplasty?

Well, I’ve listed more of them below:

  • Swelling
  • Accidental nerve damage
  • Laceration of the cornea
  • Infection at surgery site
  • Painful scarring around the eye
  • Affected eyesight due to bleeding (though rare)
  • Droopy eyelids (if the surrounding muscles get damaged)
  • Double vision
  • Difficulties closing your eyes (when too much skin gets cut)
  • Lid asymmetry

How do you pick the best canthoplasty doctor?

One thing that most canthoplasty doctors agree on is the importance of experience. To get a good result, find an experienced doctor who’s done this procedure before. This will ensure that you have someone with enough knowledge and skill handling you.

Another important consideration is how comfortable you are around them. You must feel at ease. This should be from your consultation until after the surgery itself.

Also, consider if the medical facility offers additional services.

Some hospitals and doctors offer services in regards to recovering from surgery. A facility that offers recovery care makes your return home post-surgery easy. For example, some facilities provide delivery or takeout meals.

You can also find some offering pet sitting services. They assign someone to help you out but not interfere with any post-surgery instructions given by the physician.

Cost of getting a canthoplasty

The cost of canthoplasty varies depending on several things. These include the facility approached and the doctor’s level of experience. Another factor that affects the amount you’ll spend includes the type of anesthesia used. Or the fees of the anesthesiologist involved during your procedure.

Your desired final look also affects your final bill. This is because different lid jobs have different pricing depending on the level of skill needed.

It’s probably best that you get an official quote from your doctor to help you prepare.

All in all, the average cost of canthoplasty ranges from $1000 to $2500.

Final Thoughts

Before deciding on whether or not to have surgery for droopy eyelids, be sure to consult with an oculofacial plastic surgeon first. They can help guide you through the entire process and answer any other questions.

Ask them to also lay down the risks or recovery time associated with canthoplasty. The best way to find out what is right for yourself is by looking into all available resources. Only afterward should you make a plunge!

If you’re considering canthoplasty, then I hope this post has answered some of your questions. I also hope it’s helped you better understand the process.


Have you done canthoplasty before? What was your experience like? Do you have any useful pointers to share with us? If so, then I’d like to hear them in the Comments Section below!

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