Tear trough – Anatomy and treatment by autologous fat grafting

Chang Yung Chia


Tear trough is the main irregularity at midface, of which treatment is difficult. There is no agreement in literature about its anatomy and best treatment. The author presented an anatomical study and personal autologous fat grafting technique for tear trough treatment. Anatomical dissections were done on two fresh cadavers to examine the skin, subcutaneous, muscle and bone layers, spaces, and attachments. Safety and efficacy were evaluated via retrospective analysis of the last 200 consecutive procedures performed by the author. Tear trough is caused by the abrupt transition of the palpebral orbicular oculi muscle (OOM) (i.e., thin skin without subcutaneous fat compartment) to the orbital OOM (i.e., thicker skin with malar fat compartment). The tear trough region is located at the OOM bony origin at the medial canthus where no specific ligament was found. The grafted fat volume stabilized at two or three months after the procedure, instead of six months as stated in literature, with excellent results and no severe complications. Tear trough is a personal characteristic, a natural anatomical depression caused by subcutaneous irregularity and can worsen with age. The lack of volume is not effectively corrected by surgeries and thus it must be filled. Fat grafting has several advantages over alloplastic fillers, although it may be more difficult. Fat graft is autologous and abundant, and tissue transplantation could enhance skin quality. Fat grafting is a simple, safe, and effective solution for adding extra volume to correct the deflation phenomenon of the midface aging process. There is no specific anatomical plane for volume injection; the fat graft must be evenly distributed in the deep and superficial plane for uniformity.


Tear trough; fat graft; lid cheek junction; facial anatomy; aging face

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.18282/jsd.v1.i2.45


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