Purpose: To compare graft contraction rates of acellular dermis versus hard palate mucosa when used as free spacer grafts in lower eyelid surgery and to provide clinical outcome data. Methods: A prospective, nonrandomized clinical trial involving the placement of 19 spacer grafts in the lower eyelids of 14 patients was performed. Indications for spacer graft placement included lower eyelid retraction and mildly contracted socket. Patients with lower eyelid retraction also underwent an endoscopic subperiosteal midface lift. For all procedures, the height of each graft was measured during and after surgery. The amount of contraction was measured for each graft, and a mean was calculated for each spacer material. The clinical success was evaluated for all procedures, based on improvement of the functional concern being addressed. Results: The mean graft contraction rate was 57% for the acellular dermis and 16% for the hard palate mucosal grafts (P<0.005). Of the 7 procedures using acellular dermis for lower eyelid retraction, 6 were considered a success, and 1 was considered a partial success. Of the 6 procedures using hard palate for lower eyelid retraction, 5 were considered a success, and 1 was considered a failure unrelated to the graft. Of the 5 procedures with acellular dermis used for mildly contracted socket, 2 were considered a success, 2 were considered a partial success, and 1 was considered a failure because of graft contraction. The one case using hard palate for mildly contracted socket was considered a success. Conclusions: Acellular dermis contracts significantly more than hard palate mucosa when used as a lower eyelid spacer graft. Acellular dermis and hard palate mucosa were both associated with a high rate of clinical success in all categories except for patients with a mildly contracted socket who received acellular dermis; more than 60% of these patients (n=5) had only partial success or failure caused by graft contraction.
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