What Could Happen if Part of the Lacrimal Gland is Removed?

Recently my wife had surgery to remove what her eye doctor believed to be a tumor. She has been in constant pain since the surgery so we went to a different doctor. He thinks the plastic surgeon removed part of the lacrimal gland and there never was a tumor. He is waiting on the pathology report to find out what was really removed. Will removing part of the gland cause her to be in so much pain? And can this be corrected?

Doctor Answers 1

Unintentional Removal of Tear Gland

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
The largest tear gland is located behind the rim of the eye socket just above the the outer corner. In some people the gland droops below the rim and makes the side of the upper lid appear full. The vast majority of experienced Plastic surgeons are fully aware that fullness of the lateral upper lid may be a sagging tear gland and look for it. In most cases, the gland is fairly easy to distinguish from excess upper lid fat and it is lifted and stitched back in its normal position behind the rim of the orbit. If it is partially and certainly if it is fully removed, the tear production will be severely affected and without the use of eye lubricants the cornea would dry and ulcerate. I have two issues with your question:First, in people with dry eye, further worsening of eye dryness may be caused by the surgery WITHOUT ever touching the tear gland. In such patients we may do several tests to see just how bad the tear gland function is before blepharoplasty. The second problem you will have is that in most surgical facilities the fat removed from the eyelids is not sent for pathology exam because of the extremely low likelihood of finding unexpected cancers. As a result, it would be hard to show that a tear gland was removed along with the fat. Removal of the tear gland should not be painful but drying of the cornea and ulcers would be. You need to be evaluated by a good eye surgeon to test the tear function. Good Luck. Dr. Peter Aldea

Memphis Plastic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.