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Pneumatic retinopexy is a surgery to repair certain types of retinal detachments. It is usually an outpatient procedure, which means you don't need to stay in the hospital.
Before surgery, your eye is numbed with local anesthesia. Then the eye doctor (ophthalmologist) injects a gas bubble into the middle of the eye. Your head is positioned so that the bubble floats to the detached area and presses against the detachment. The eye doctor then seals the tear in the retina using a freezing probe or laser beam.
The bubble helps to flatten the retina until a seal forms between the retina and the wall of the eye. This takes about 1 to 3 weeks. The eye slowly absorbs the gas bubble.
It takes about 3 weeks to recover from this surgery. The hardest part of the recovery is keeping the gas bubble in the right place.
Contact your doctor right away if you notice any problems after surgery, such as:
Pneumatic retinopexy is done for certain types of retinal detachments. It can be useful when:
This surgery can repair the retina most of the time.
You are more likely to have good vision after surgery if the macula was still attached before surgery. Good vision is less likely if the detachment affected the macula.
The most common problems after this surgery include:
Less common problems include:
For this surgery to work, the gas bubble has to press against the retina until it flattens. This means you will need to hold your head in the proper position for long periods of time. This surgery may not be an option if for any reason you are not able to stay in the right position for the time required.
There are a few ways to repair a retinal detachment. Which surgery will work best depends on the cause, location, and type of detachment. Other conditions or eye problems may also play a role in the decision.
You may need more surgery to reattach the retina if scar tissue from the first surgery grows over the surface of your retina.
Current as of: December 18, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Carol L. Karp, MD - Ophthalmology
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