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What types of surgery correct a detached retina?

There are 4 main types of surgery to correct a retinal detachment:
  1. Vitrectomy 
  2. Scleral buckle 
  3. A combination of a vitrectomy AND a scleral buckle 
  4. Pneumatic retinopexy which is an office based procedure using a gas bubble combined with cryo or laser.

There are several ways to fix a retinal detachment. The decision about which type of surgery and anesthesia (local or general) to use depends upon the characteristics of your detachment.

In each of the following methods, your ophthalmologist will locate the retinal tears and use laser surgery or cryotherapy to seal the tear.

Scleral Buckle

This treatment involves placing a flexible band (scleral buckle) around the eye to counteract the force pulling the retina out of place.

An ophthalmologist often drains the fluid under the detached retina, allowing the retina to settle back into its normal position against the back wall of the eye. This procedure is performed in an operating room.

Pneumatic Retinopexy

In this procedure, a gas bubble is injected into the vitreous space inside the eye in combination with laser surgery or cryotherapy. The gas bubble pushes the retinal tear closed against the back wall of the eye. Sometimes this procedure can be done in the ophthalmologist’s office.

Your ophthalmologist will ask you to maintain a certain head position for several days. The gas bubble will gradually disappear.

Vitrectomy

This surgery is commonly used to fix a retinal detachment and is performed in an operating room. The vitreous gel, which is pulling on the retina, is removed from the eye and usually replaced with a gas bubble. Sometimes an oil bubble is used (instead of a gas bubble) to keep the retina in place.

Your body’s own fluids will gradually replace a gas bubble. An oil bubble will need to be removed from the eye at a later date with another surgical procedure.

Sometimes vitrectomy is combined with a scleral buckle.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.