The Role of Surgeon Technique in Current Practice Patterns for Combined Ptosis and Dermatochalasis

Michael G. Neimkin, Steven M. Couch, John B. Holds, Zachary M. Bodnar, Sara N. Reggie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: The goal of this study is to identify and describe the role of surgical incision preference, insurance reimbursement, and geographical location on the current ptosis repair practice patterns of American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ASOPRS) members. Methods: A 9-question survey was designed with and a participation link was emailed to all active ASOPRS members' email addresses in February 2015. After a reminder email, the survey was closed and the results were analyzed. There are 3 major questions the survey data is to be used answer: 1) Surgical approach preference: The first question established preferred surgical technique (internal vs. external approach) for ptosis repair. This result was/is used to stratify the remaining responses into 2 groups. 2) Functional versus cosmetic surgical indication: Three clinical scenarios were presented for a functional versus cosmetic patient for ptosis repair and blepharoplasty. 3) Location: The responses were analyzed based on location to determine any geographic bias for surgical preference. For this analysis, the US was separated into 4 regions (West, Midwest, North, and South), as defined by the United States Census Bureau; all international respondents were grouped together. Results: Three hundred and ten responses were included and analyzed; 61% preferred the internal surgical approach, there was no statistical significance to geographic location (p = 0.17). Surgeons who prefer the external surgical approach (76.1%) were more likely than internal (62.5%) to include a bundled (nonreimbursed) blepharoplasty at no additional charge in the setting of functional ptosis repair (p = 0.015). Treatment plans differed significantly in both groups between functional and cosmetic patients with visually significant ptosis (Margin Reflex Distance < 1.5) and moderate dermatochalasis; with both the internal and external group electing combined surgery at a higher rate in cosmetic patients (p < 0.01 for functional vs. cosmetic within each group, and internal vs. external repair). There was no statistical difference in the timeframe for adjusting external ptosis for functional or cosmetic patients (p = 0.79). More surgeons use nonabsorbable closure for cosmetic blepharoplasty patients (68.7%) than for functional (54.1%) surgery patients (p < 0.01). Conclusion: Previous studies have documented the immediate effect of Medicare reimbursement changes on the management of concurrent ptosis and dermatochalasis. This study illustrates current practice patterns for ptosis repair and blepharoplasty. The necessity of creating a separate surgical site for surgeons who prefer the internal approach to ptosis surgery to perform a functional blepharoplasty has a significant influence on surgeon's willingness to perform concurrent blepharoplasty as a nonreimbursed bundled procedure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124-128
Number of pages5
JournalOphthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


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