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April 1979

The Role of Whitnall's Ligament in Ptosis Surgery

Author Affiliations

From the Oculoplastic Service, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Iowa Hospitals, Iowa City.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1979;97(4):705-707. doi:10.1001/archopht.1979.01020010357015

• Whitnall's ligament has been described functionally as a check ligament of the levator. Our anatomic dissections and operative findings indicate that this ligament is primarily a support for the upper eyelid and superior orbit. Whitnall's ligament is frequently confused with the levator horns and is unfortunately cut during many ptosis procedures. This is to be avoided because much larger levator resections are required when this ligament's support to the upper lid and the fulcrum effect for the levator are lost. Preserving and enhancing the function of Whitnall's ligament improves the efficiency of the levator, making large levator resections rarely necessary. We have noted no more lid lag than that seen with other forms of levator surgery.