Reconstructive Facial Surgery
Serving Charlotte and Surrounding Areas
Dr. Christine Annunziata understands that the need for reconstructive surgery can be difficult for both patients and their loved ones. She and the entire medical team at Metrolina Eye Associates are dedicated to helping those in need of reconstructive surgery by offering procedures that not only restore functionality to the eyelids and face, but also improve their appearance.
Surgeries are performed in an office or outpatient setting with local anesthesia and mild sedation. Dr. Annunziata strives to provide patients with a comfortable, safe, and low-stress surgical experience with minimal downtime and excellent results. Most insurance plans, including Medicare, cover medically necessary reconstructive eyelid surgery such as blepharoplasty and the other procedures listed below. Dr. Annunziata and her office staff will work with your insurance company to help obtain coverage for this medically necessary procedure.
Dr. Annunziata performs the following reconstructive procedures:
Drooping of the eyelid skin can cause significant visual dysfunction. Because eyelid drooping is gradually progressive, patients often do not realize the impact on their peripheral vision and the stress on their eyes it can cause. Patients become increasingly fatigued with visual tasks such as reading and driving, and often feel the need to close their eyes to rest them, even if they are not feeling sleepy. Friends and family members may observe patients straining or raising their eyebrows in an effort to lift the skin out of the field of view. This constant strain may cause headaches, brow pain, or eye fatigue. The weight of the eyelid skin resting on the lashes can also cause the lashes to scratch the eye, leading to pain and foreign body sensation. Dr. Annunziata can repair the eyelid by tightening the skin to restore peripheral vision and reduce eye strain. In medically necessary cases such as these, most insurance plans, including Medicare, cover blepharoplasty surgery.
Eyelid Drooping/Ptosis Repair
Ptosis refers to drooping of the eyelid or eyebrow, usually caused by a weakened muscle or the effects of gravity on the tissue. Dr. Annunziata can repair the eyelid or brow by tightening the underlying muscle that lifts it, through an incision in the eyelid crease or the inside of the eyelid.
Ectropion is a condition where the eyelid is rolled outward and tears do not flow into the tear drainage canal. It can lead to decreased vision and chronic tearing. By contrast, entropion is a condition where the eyelid is turned inward, causing the eyelashes to rub against the surface of the eye. In both conditions, the eyelids do not meet fully when the eyes are closed, leaving the eye overexposed and unprotected. Dr. Annunziata can surgically repair both conditions to restore normal function to the eyelid and eye.
Lid Retraction Repair
When the upper eyelids, lower eyelids or both pull away from their normal position over the cornea, the eyes can appear bulged. The cornea and eye surface can be severely damaged by the lack of protection from the eyelids, leading to chronic irritation, pain, or redness, and increasing the risk of infection and vision loss. To correct this condition, Dr. Annunziata makes a small incision that is hidden in the natural eyelid fold and loosens the retractor muscle, allowing the eyelid to return to its natural position.
Facial Paralysis Surgery
When facial nerves are damaged, the muscles that control the movement of the upper eyelids, lower eyelids and brows malfunction and affect movement and expression. Dr. Annunziata can use a number of surgical techniques to correct the paralysis, depending on the specific feature affected. Treatment may include a muscle transfer or face lifting to restore facial animation and improve symmetry and facial function.
Mole or Growth Removal
Dr. Annunziata can remove moles and other growths on the face or eyelids during a simple office procedure. Even small or non-bothersome lesions can hide underlying skin cancer, so it is important to address these problems before they get large enough to affect the eye. Because Dr. Annunziata is trained in micro-surgical techniques of the face and eyelids special attention is paid to ensure the procedure is safe and painless with minimal scarring.
Skin Cancer Excision and Reconstruction
Skin cancer of the eyelid and surrounding area is often a scary diagnosis for patients. Fortunately, in nearly all cases, these cancers can be permanently cured with surgery. Dr. Annunziata can remove malignant skin lesions in delicate, sensitive areas, including the eyelids and face. During the procedure, the cancerous lesion is excised and the incision is carefully closed to minimize scarring. Eyelid anatomy is different from other areas of the face and body, and maintaining eyelid function is a critical component of cancer reconstruction. Because Dr. Annunziata is a board-certified oculofacial plastic surgeon, she is uniquely qualified to repair this area of the face with skill and precision while providing the most aesthetically pleasing result possible.
Permanent Removal of Abnormal Eyelashes
Trichiasis is a condition in which eyelashes turn inwards, causing them to rub against the surface of the eye, possibly leading to permanent vision loss. To correct the condition, Dr. Annunziata can permanently remove the eyelash follicles using a special radiofrequency device. If the condition is caused by entropion, the eyelid is repaired as needed.
Tear Duct Repair
When a lacrimal (tear) duct becomes blocked, the tears cannot drain properly, causing the eyes to become watery, irritated and sometimes infected. Dr. Annunziata can reconstruct the natural passage or bypass the blockage by creating a new route through the nose for the tears to drain through. This new route allows the tears to flush normally again, relieving irritation and discomfort caused by the blocked tear duct. Lacrimal surgery is one of Dr. Annunziata’s specific areas of expertise. She uses the most advanced, minimally invasive endoscopic techniques for this surgery, allowing for reduced downtime, minimal discomfort and no visible scarring.
Thyroid-Related Eye Disease
Thyroid eye disease is a condition in which an abnormal immune reaction causes the tissue around the eye to swell, in turn causing the eyes to bulge forward. Orbital decompression surgery involves expanding the orbit (eye socket) by delicately re-shaping the bones and removing fat around the eye, which allows the eye to move back into the socket. As an oculofacial plastic surgeon, Dr. Annunziata is one of the few highly specialized surgeons in the world trained to manage and treat patients with thyroid related eye disease. By using the most advanced microsurgical techniques, Dr. Annunziata can treat this potentially vision threatening disease and restore normal anatomy and function to the eyes.
Orbital Fracture Repair
The “orbit” is comprised of the bones surrounding the eyes and the content within. Orbital fractures caused by blunt trauma may cause the eye to sink back into the socket. The fracture can be repaired by making incisions hidden inside the eyelid and restoring the orbit to its original state; this may include the placement of an implant to support the soft tissues.
Orbital Tumor Treatment
An orbital tumor may cause the eye to protrude or bulge from the socket. Dr. Annunziata accesses the tumor through small incisions around the eye, removes it completely and reconstructs the surrounding area.
Blepharospasm is an abnormal and involuntary blinking or spasm of the eyelids. Dr. Annunziata uses Botox injections to relax the facial muscles underneath the eyelids, stopping the spasms. The effects are temporary, so repeated treatments may be recommended.
Dry Eye Treatment
Dr. Annunziata offers several advanced treatments for chronic or severe dry eye. Small, sterile devices called punctal plugs can be inserted into one of the small openings of the tear drainage ducts (located in the corner of the upper and lower eyelids) to prevent drainage and help tears remain on the surface of the eye longer. Intense pulsed light therapy (IPL) provides long-lasting relief from dry eyes by melting away the stagnant secretions from the meibomian glands. This allows the meibomian glands to produce the oils needed to slow the evaporation of tears. IPL is a highly effective treatment for dry eye and Dr. Annunziata is one of the only providers in the Carolinas offering this cutting-edge technology to patients.
Schedule a Consultation Today
Learn more about our reconstructive surgery options by scheduling an appointment with leading reconstructive and plastic surgeon Dr. Annunziata of Metrolina Eye Associates. Call one of our three convenient locations to schedule an appointment today. If you live in South Charlotte or the areas surrounding Matthews, Weddington, or Mint Hill, call our local office at (704) 234-1930. If you’re in Monroe or areas surrounding southern Union County, call our local office at (704) 289-5455. Fort Mill, Marvin, Rock Hill, Waxhaw and surrounding-area patients should contact our Indian Land office at (803) 547-3937.