Periorbital Autologous Fat Grafting in Facial Nerve Palsy

Siah WF, Litwin AS, Nduka C, Malhotra R. Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg. 2017 May/Jun;33(3):202-208. doi: 10.1097/IOP.0000000000000710.



To report outcomes and complications of periorbital autologous fat grafting (AFG) in improving volume loss-related symmetry and function in facial nerve palsy patients and to assess patient satisfaction.


A retrospective, noncomparative review of all facial nerve palsy patients who underwent periorbital AFG at single center over a 4-year period. Two independent graders objectively assessed standard photographs for any change in volume loss and symmetry: pre- and postoperative periods (early, 0-2 months; intermediate, 3-9 months; and late, >10 months). Any adverse outcomes were recorded. Patient satisfaction was assessed by questionnaire survey.


A total of 18 facial nerve palsy patients (13 females) underwent periorbital AFG between February 2011 and 2015. Mean age was 51.9 ± 15.3 years (range, 26-76). Mean follow up was 6.8 ± 4.6 (range, 0.5-15) months. Photographs of 14 patients were eligible for evaluation. Tear trough visibility (p < 0.01), infraorbital rim visibility (p = 0.03), and lower eyelid-cheek junction symmetry (p < 0.01) improved in the early postoperative period with persistence of improvement in the latter parameter at intermediate postoperative period (p < 0.01). Lagophthalmos significantly improved (p = 0.03) in the early postoperative period. Two patients developed cheek cellulitis and 4 had persistent malar edema (3 had existing edema). Questionnaire survey showed a reduction in daytime ocular lubricants and an improvement in nocturnal-lagophthalmos symptoms.


Periorbital AFG is a useful adjunct in improving symmetry and lagophthalmos in facial nerve palsy patients where volume loss is a contributory factor but effects were not long lasting. Patient satisfaction is high. Those with preexisting malar bags are at higher risk of developing persistent malar edema following periorbital AFG.