Oculoplastic surgery is a subspecialty developed within the field of Ophthalmology. It deals with the diagnosis and treatment of all those conditions of the structures surrounding the eyeball itself, such as the eyelids, muscles and tear ducts.
All this is what we call the orbit and all the diseases that occur in this area are the ones that we specialists in ocular plastic or reconstructive surgery treat. Likewise, within this subspecialty we also deal with more cosmetic surgeries such as cosmetic eyelid surgery, use of botulinum toxin, eyelid bag surgery, eyelid lifts and others.
What conditions does oculoplastic surgery treat?
Oculoplastic surgeons treat a wide variety of pathologies and almost always approach them from a surgical point of view. If we talk about palpebral pathology, oculoplastic surgeons most frequently treat tumor pathologies; cysts, benign tumors, malignant tumors and their reconstruction.
At the same time, we also treat what we call palpebral malpositions, which are situations in which patients do not have eyelids at the right height. That is to say, we can find a very elevated upper eyelid, retracted, or a very droopy or lowered upper eyelid, which is what we call a palpebral ptosis. In these cases what we have to try to do surgically is to reposition it to its normal height. Likewise with the lower eyelid, when it is oriented outwards or inwards, we must try to reposition it to avoid any pathology that may arise from this.
Within the pathology of the lacrimal pathway, patients come to our office because of lacrimation. Tearing can be caused by a myriad of causes and that is why the ophthalmology specialist must be prepared to know all of them and be able to diagnose and treat them.
Specialists in eyelid surgery have a plus advantage in this regard because many causes of tearing are in the eyelid itself and that is why we are the ones who, ultimately, see these patients more frequently.
And finally in the area of the orbit, the pathology that we see most frequently is what is called thyroid orbitopathy. It’s a condition that is commonly known to be very striking. Patients usually have very bulging eyes within a context of hyperthyroidism and it is we, the oculoplastic surgeons, who are trained to diagnose, treat and minimize the poor quality of life of patients with this disease always within a multidisciplinary context.
What results can be expected?
The results that an oculoplastic surgeon can offer you will depend on the pathology we are talking about. Most of them must be approached from a surgical point of view. We are not the subspecialty that treats patients with eye drops, ointments or oral medication. Unfortunately, our problems will almost always be solved in the operating room.
However, it could be said that the vast majority of all these procedures are performed in an outpatient setting where the patient is not admitted and surgery is simply performed under local anesthesia, sometimes requiring some sedation for the patient’s comfort. The vast majority of occasions have a fairly comfortable and fairly easy recovery, since it is a very specific and very delimited anatomical region. Patients recover relatively easily.