Rethinking Upper Blepharoplasty: The Impact of Pretarsal Show

Mohammed S. Alghoul, Jonathan T. Bricker, Vishnu Venkatesh, Aakash R. Gupta, Elbert E. Vaca, Sammy Sinno, Marco F. Ellis, Thomas A. Mustoe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Conventional upper blepharoplasty relies on skin, muscle, and fat excision to restore ideal pretarsal space-to-upper lid fold ratios. The purpose of this study was to identify presenting topographic features of upper blepharoplasty patients and their effect on cosmetic outcomes. Methods: This is a retrospective review of patients who underwent upper blepharoplasty at the authors' institution from 1997 to 2017. Preoperative and postoperative photographs were standardized using Adobe Illustrator to an iris diameter of 11.5 mm. Pretarsal and upper lid fold heights were measured at five locations. Patients were classified into three groups based on preoperative pretarsal show: none, partial, or complete. Photographs were randomized in PowerPoint and given a cosmetic score of 0 to 5 by four independent reviewers. Results: Three hundred sixteen patients were included, 42 men (13 percent) and 274 women (87 percent). Group 1 included 101 eyes (16 percent), group 2 had 159 eyes (25 percent), and group 3 had 372 eyes (59 percent). Mean cosmetic score increased from 1.75 to 2.38 postoperatively (p < 0.001), with a significantly lower improvement in scores in group 3 compared to groups 2 and 1 for both sexes (p < 0.01). For group 3, those with midpupil pretarsal heights greater than 4 mm had a significantly lower postoperative aesthetic score (1.95) compared with those less than or equal to 4 mm (2.50) (p < 0.001). Conclusions: Many patients presenting for upper blepharoplasty have complete pretarsal show and are at risk for worse cosmetic outcomes using conventional skin excision techniques. Adjunctive procedures such as fat grafting and ptosis repair should be considered in this group. Clinical Question/Level of Evidence: Risk, II.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1239-1247
Number of pages9
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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