Orbital decompression

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invisible post-operative incisions

What is it?

Orbital decompression is a surgical procedure carried out to treat exophthalmia (prominent eyes). Patients with exophthalmia usually suffer from increased pressure in the retroocular area. By means of this surgical treatment a larger cavity is created for the orbit so that the surgeon can replace the eyeball afterwards carrying out bone or fat decompressions. In this way the pressure on the orbit is reduced by enlarging the eyeball’s volume.

In which cases is this carried out?

  • Patients with exophthalmia
  • Patients with thyroid orbitopathy

Previous examinations

  • A full ophthalmological examination and eyelid and periocular examination
  • A visual field (campimetry) and colour test is conducted to rule out compressive optic neuropathy
  • Photos are taken to assess the patient’s condition before and after treatment
  • A Hertel test is conducted (also known as exophtalmometry). This consists of measuring the position of both eyes
  • In addition an orbital CT scan is carried out to assess the cause of the exophthalmia

During the surgical operation

The surgical operation consists of enlarging the volumetric cavity of the orbit, acting on its bone walls. This is achieved by orbitectomies, in other words, making cuts or resections in the orbital bone walls and/or in the retroocular fat (lipectomy). The procedure is carried out at the out-patient’s unit by making incisions that disappear during the post-operative period.

After the surgical operation

  • The patient’s eye is occluded for 24 hours after which the surgeon conducts a post-operative check-up
  • The patient must also take antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs orally and topically
  • The patient is advised to take suitable rest after surgery
  • The final results can be seen after about one month

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