Canthoplasty (Eye Corner Surgery)

Latest update: February 27, 2024
Medically reviewed by: Jordan Frey MD


The lateral canthus is the area where the upper and lower eyelids connect on the outer part of our eyes. As we age, the skin around the eyes wrinkles and sags. This loss in elasticity in our skin can create a drooping appearance in the lower eyelid, making us look perpetually tired.

A canthoplasty procedure can pull and lift the canthus to create wider eyes or a cat-eye effect. The surgery essentially lifts the eyelids by strengthening the tendon without the need for removing the muscles. This results in refreshed, toned eyes and an improved shape. Suitable candidates for a canthoplasty are patients who have sagging and uneven eyelids. 
A traditional canthoplasty procedure targets the outer corner of the eye.

Alternatively, some patients may elect for an epi-canthoplasty. A lateral canthoplasty can create a cat-eye slant while an epi-canthoplasty can reshape the inner ducts of the eye. 

Both procedures are usually an outpatient surgery. Patients only require local anesthetic. The surgeon will first create an incision on the outer corner of the eye before cutting the lower canthal tendon and moving it to a higher position. Once tightened and pulled, the tendon is secured in its place using sutures. For patients with less severe sagging, other minimally invasive techniques can be used. The entire procedure will take 1-2 hours. 

Patients will experience bruising and swelling. Using a cold compress and prescribed pain medication can ease any discomfort. Doctors recommend sleeping in an elevated position. Patients need to avoid strenuous activity and refrain from applying any makeup for a week. They also should avoid straining their eyes during the recovery period. They need to steer away from watching television and staring at phones or other screened devices for  too long. The total recovery period can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks. Like most procedures, canthoplasty also comes with some risks. These can include infections, hemorrhage, muscle damage and scarring.
Operation Time
Inpatient Period
Number of Appointments
Recovery Period
2-4 weeks

Canthoplasty Procedure by Austin Face and Body

Dr. David Gay, an Oculofacial plastic surgeon, talks about what people are looking for in a Canthoplasty. He defines the procedure and explains the different levels of change. Dr. Gay highlights the importance of the patient's preference and talks about how achieving this is assured.

Lateral Canthoplasty - Asian Eyelid Surgery - Dr. Kenneth Kim

Dr. Kenneth Kim discusses the purpose of lateral Canthoplasty. He explains that the procedure is done to enlarge the outer aspect of the eye. He discusses the aesthetic component of this procedure. Dr. Kim draws attention to the desire for proportionality. He talks about how the procedure is effective in addressing this issue in Asian faces.