Background: During their work on the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) circulatory system of human nerves and brain, the authors applied imaging and tissue techniques that complemented basic anatomical dissection. Objectives: The authors sought to show how integrating fluorescent imaging and basic immunohistochemistry (IHC) with facial anatomy can address current problems in aesthetic surgery. Methods: The authors developed an algorithm and a set of principles from their work on the CSF circulatory system and applied these to 3 problems in aesthetic surgery: the functional anatomy of the vermilion-cutaneous junction; chemosis; and the functional anatomy of periosteal fixation. Results: Integrating fluorescent imaging and IHC with anatomical dissection characterizes structural and functional anatomy. Fluorescent imaging helps to identify and locate easily missed structures. IHC defines cell type and function. The vermilion-cutaneous junction is defined by a major lymphatic vessel. Lymphatic flow from the medial limbus to the lateral canthus suggests the etiology of chemosis. Periosteal sites of fixation prevent shear where dural CSF vessels drain directly to subcutaneous lymphatics. Conclusions: Integrating anatomical dissection with fluorescent imaging and basic IHC characterizes structural and functional anatomy and helps to better understand many problems encountered in aesthetic surgery.
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