You’ve always been pretty good at judging people’s real age, but every now and then you meet someone whose age is a little more difficult to discern. A friend of yours introduces you to a person that you haven’t previously met, named Jill. You talk a bit with Jill, asking her about how she knows your friend. You notice that Jill is slender and smartly dressed and has very healthy appearing skin, with hardly a wrinkle on her face. While talking to Jill, you are looking primarily at her eyes. After a few minutes of conversation, you somehow get the feeling that she is actually older than she seemed at first. You are surprised at this assessment because at first Jill seemed so youthful. What is it about her face that makes you realize her actual age? There’s something about the area around her eyes that seems to age her. Without quite knowing how you’ve done it, you have accurately assessed Jill’s age. Even though she doesn’t have many wrinkles, she looks older because she has lost volume in the area around her eyes.
The Aging Process
The area around the eyes (referred to as the peri-orbital area) is very important to one’s appearance because it is the most “looked at” part of the face. When people engage you in conversation, they are looking mainly at your eyes. This area undergoes aging along with the rest of the face. In his monthly seminars on laser and cosmetic surgery, Dr. Langdon discusses the aging process and how it affects facial appearance. He explains the three ways in which we age: 1) sun damage to the skin, 2) sagging caused by gravity, and 3) volume loss of soft tissues. All three types of aging occur in the peri-orbital area. Sun damage can cause wrinkles in the crow’s feet and lower eyelids. Gravity can cause sagging of the eyebrows, resulting in heaviness and skin excess in the upper lids. These problems can be improved by laser resurfacing, brow lift and blepharoplasty (surgical eyelid lift).
Volume loss (the third major type of facial aging) around the eyes occurs because fat tissue that is present in this area during youth gradually dissipates with age. In the upper eyelids volume loss can result in a hollow or “deep set” appearance; the outer p art of the eyebrow can drop when fat volume deep to (beneath) the brow is lost. Beneath the lower eyelids, a depression typically develops that creates an obvious junction between the lower lid and the cheek. In youth, none of these signs of aging exist ; there is fullness of the upper lid and brow. Beneath the eye there is no obvious transition between the lower lid and the cheek, but rather a continuous smooth plane extending from just below the eyelashes onto the cheek.
Peri-orbital volume loss has until recently been very difficult to reverse. The “filler” injections such as Restylane®, Juvéderm® and Radiesse® are limited to use only in the “tear trough” area beneath the lower eyelids. Even here the “fillers” must be used cautiously because in this area of thin skin the injected material can cause visible lumps or discoloration.
Dr. Langdon has adapted a new method of restoring lost volume to the area around the eyes that was developed by a plastic surgeon in Switzerland. He reported his results at a recent national meeting of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS) in Las Vegas (January, 2012). In his Natural Eyelid Augmentation, Dr. Langdon transfers precise quantities of fat tissue
(obtained from elsewhere in the body) throughout this delicate region. Because fat is lost with aging of the periorbital area, restoring fat volume to this area of the face provides a natural looking and beautiful result that “turns back the clock.” Fat is the only filling agent that can safely be used throughout the upper eyelids, eyebrows and lower eyelids, as well as the adjacent temples and cheeks.
Dr. Langdon performs Natural Eyelid Augmentation safely by using local anesthesia. A local anesthetic is used to numb the eyelids and adjacent areas as well as the part of the body from which fat will be obtained. A small scale liposuction technique (using a hand-held syringe to generate suction along with a tiny cannula) is used to “harvest” very fine clumps of fat tissue. Dr. Langdon then transfers the fat to a smaller syringe and gently injects the fat through an extremely small cannula into the recipient areas. This process is well tolerated because of the tiny (less than one millimeter wide) instrument that is used. The results are immediately evident, but there will be some swelling that may take one to two weeks to subside.
The volume that results from restoring natural fat tissue to the periorbital area is expected to persist for many years. This is because the living fat cells are actually engrafted (transplanted) to their new location, where they take up permanent residence.
Another significant benefit of Natural Eyelid Augmentation is an enhanced vigor of the overlying skin. A renewed subcutaneous fat layer improves blood circulation to the skin, resulting in a healthy glow, increased collagen production and decreased wrinkles. This skin renewal effect is even more obvious in the periorbital area because of the thin skin in this area. To best appreciate how Natural Eyelid Augmentation can help restore youthful contours to your face, take a close look at your high school yearbook photograph. Notice especially the fullness around your eyes and the lack of an obvious demarcation between the lower eyelid and the adjacent cheek. These features of the peri-orbital area are some of the most important signs of a youthful face. With Natural Eyelid Augmentation, Dr. Langdon can help you restore lost volume to this area.
For more information about Natural Eyelid Augmentation at the Langdon Center, please see our website (www.langdoncenter.com) or call our office at
203-745-0340 to schedule a consultation.