Platinum eyelid weight placement
Facial palsy patients often have trouble with blinking and closing the eye on the affected side. Patients are not able to protect their eyes well when this happens which can lead to infection, injury from foreign objects, dryness, and a feeling of irritation and/or discomfort. One option to help patients who are not able to close their eyes well is to place a thin-profile platinum weight within the upper eyelid. This weight facilitates blinking and eye closure for patients. Further, if patients improve and regain eyelid function, the weight is easily removed. The surgeons at the Facial Nerve Center are experts at placing upper eyelid weights to help patients protect their eyes and improve patient comfort.
Who is a candidate for an upper eyelid weight? Anyone who is suffering from facial palsy that is inhibiting blinking and eyelid closure is a candidate for this procedure. This is especially true if the patient is symptomatic; common symptoms include dry eyes, a gritty sensation within the eye, eye pain, and eye redness. During your visit at the Facial Nerve Center, we will help decide if an eyelid weight can help you feel more comfortable and help you protect your eye. We use thin-profile platinum weights, since they are thinner (less visible) than gold weights, and do not create the same unsightly capsules (thick scarring tissue around them) as gold weights can.
Before the procedure, the surgeon will mark the natural skin crease on the upper eyelid. We then inject a small amount of local numbing medication into the upper eyelid. After this, the procedure takes about 20 minutes. A 1- 2 cm incision is made in the natural skin crease, and the lid weight is secured onto a rigid structure in the upper lid called the tarsal plate. The layers are closed, and the skin is closed with dissolving stitches. Ointment is applied to the upper eyelid for a few days after the procedure. Patients experience a relatively immediate benefit, closing the eye better even before leaving the office. If the facial function improves after we place an eyelid weight, we remove it in a 10 minute office procedure. In fact, many patients undergo this procedure even when we expect good facial nerve recovery, simply so they don’t experience as much eye discomfort while they are waiting to recover.
Since the weight is composed of platinum, it is non-reactive with any magnetic imaging, thus patients with the eyelid weight are totally cleared to safely go into an MRI scanner/go through metal detectors without issue.