To retrospectively analyze our experience using nasal turbinate and hard palate mucosal grafts as shared buttress grafts between the upper and lower eyelid for reconstruction in severe cicatricial entropion.
A horizontal tarsectomy is performed in the upper and lower eyelid approximately 2 mm posterior to the gray line. The distal tarsal segments are then dissected and rotated 180°. A graft of nasal turbinate mucosa or hard palate mucosa measuring 1.5 × 3 cm is harvested. The graft is sutured to the cut edge of tarsus in the upper and lower eyelid. The rotated distal tarsal segment is stabilized against the graft using 5 mattress sutures. After 3 weeks, the graft is split by sharp dissection between the upper and lower eyelids.
The medical records of 12 consecutive patients, representing 15 shared buttress grafts, were reviewed. There were 5 hard palate and 10 nasal turbinate mucosal grafts placed. Follow-up ranged from 2 months to 7 years.
The amount of corneal stipple, as well as subjective patient comfort, improved after eyelid margin reconstruction in 12 of the 15 eyes. One patient's visual acuity improved by more than 2 lines after surgery. There were no cases of failure of graft survival and no complications directly related to the shared graft technique. Recurrent entropion and trichiasis were noted in 3 eyelids more than a year after graft placement, reflecting ongoing cicatrization in these eyelids. Hard palate mucosal grafts were irritating to the corneal surface, requiring removal of the epithelium using a diamond burr and bandage contact lens wear. Nasal turbinate mucosal grafts were better tolerated by the corneal surface and had the added benefit of mucous production.
Eyelid reconstruction using nasal turbinate and hard palate mucosal tissues as a shared buttress graft is a viable treatment option for patients with severe cicatricial entropion. Resolution of trichiasis and mechanical corneal abrasion was noted in 13 (86%) of 15 patients with no specific complications related to the technique. The shared buttress technique successfully autostents the healing eyelid margins, makes good use of the large turbinate mucosal graft, and minimizes trips to the operating room. When the mechanical requirements of eyelid margin reconstruction do not require the sturdiness of hard palate mucosa, nasal turbinate mucosa is a preferable graft tissue because it is better tolerated by the corneal surface and produces mucous.