What is vitrectomy?
A vitrectomy is a surgical procedure used to fix retina tears and detached retinas. In the surgical procedure called a vitrectomy, the vitreous gel (vitreous body) is removed to prevent it from pulling on the retina and replaced with a bubble containing a mixture of air and gas. The bubble acts as an internal, temporary bandage that holds the edge of the macular hole in place as it heals. Vitrectomy surgery is performed under local anesthesia and often on an out-patient basis.
Following a vitrectomy operation, patients must remain in a face-down recovery position, from one day to several weeks. This position allows the bubble to press against the macula and be gradually reabsorbed by the eye, sealing the hole. As the bubble is reabsorbed, the vitreous cavity refills with natural eye fluids.
Why facedown recovery?
The gas bubble rises to the top of eye and does not cover the macular hole. Since the macula is at the back of the eye, the gas bubble will only work if the patient's head is positioned facedown.
The gas bubble rises to top of eye and seals the macular hole. Pressure against the hole flattens the macula against the wall of the eye and the impaired visual area is minimized. During the 1-6 week recovery time, the afflicted eye will heal, the macula will re-bond to the eye wall, and a new vitreous fluid replaces the gas bubble.
Maintaining a face down position is crucial to the success of the surgery.
Because this position can be difficult for many people, it is important to discuss this with your doctor before surgery.
Where is facedown recovery equipment available?
Your doctor may recommend face down recovery equipment. This equipment can be rented from Bay Area Vitrectomy. Call (510) 540-8200 to schedule a delivery or to ask for more information.
Disclaimer: The information on this page is provided to help educate patients and originates primarily from National Institute of Health (NIH) materials. It is not meant to be, nor should be considered a substitute for your physician's advice.
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