What is Vitrectomy?
Vitrectomy refers to the removal of the vitreous humor. This is the gel like substance that fills the back portion of the eye. With modern microsurgical techniques the vitreous is removed through small incisions in the sclera (white of the eye) that typically heal without sutures. This allows rapid recovery with minimal distortion of the eye structure. Instruments are introduced through the incisions and viewed through a dilated pupil with a microscope.
- Repair retinal detachment
- Repair macular pucker
- Repair macular hole
- Removal of vitreous hemorrhage
- Treatment of diabetic traction detachments
Depending on the condition being treated the posterior chamber of the eye may be filled with fluid or a gas bubble. A gas bubble will be used in the eye for the treatment of retinal detachment and repair of macular hole. When gas is used you will be required to maintain a particular head position to enable retinal repair. For a macular hole this requires keeping the head in a face down position for five to seven days. For a retinal detachment it may be necessary to maintain face down, head up or head tilted left or right. The position of tears in the retina will determine the head positioning. This will be discussed with your surgeon in planning your surgery. Head positioning is the most challenging part of the surgeries and typically the most trying part of the recovery. Many people choose to rent a massage chair that will support the head in face down position. Brochures for this are available in the office, or you can contact Central Texas Retina & Vitreous in Austin for more information.
Vitrectomy for macular pucker and vitreous hemorrhage rarely requires positioning after surgery which makes recovery much easier.