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Vitrectomy Recovery Time

written by: AlyssaAst • edited by: dianahardin • updated: 5/12/2011

Recovery time from vitrectomy surgery begins after the 2 to 3 hour procedure has been conducted. Often an outpatient procedure, certain protocol should be followed after surgery, to prevent further damage from occurring.

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    A vitrectomy is a surgical procedure used to remove the vitreous gel from the middle of the eye. The surgery is conducted for a number of reasons, including retinal detachment. This procedure is also conducted if a vitreous hemorrhage has occurred and it hasn’t resolved on it’s own. Vitrectomy recovery time varies, and the surgery is often done as an outpatient procedure; however, there are certain requirements with which patients must comply during the recovery time.

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    Vitrectomy Surgery

    To conduct the procedure, a surgeon uses small instruments, which are inserted into the eye thru small cuts. These instruments then suction the vitreous gel from the eye. In some cases, after the vitreous gel has been suctioned, the surgeon will use a laser to treat the retina. This is done to remove fibrous or scar tissue that may affect the retina, to repair tears or holes in the retina, or to repair areas of the retina that have detached. To conclude the surgery, silicone oil or gas is injected into the eye. This is done to replace the vitreous gel that was removed and restore adequate pressure in the eye.

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    Vitrectomy Recovery

    Vitrectomy surgery typically lasts 2 to 3 hours and is conducted using general or local anesthesia. The procedure recovery generally requires an overnight hospitalization; however, in some cases, the surgery is preformed as an outpatient procedure. Recovery time from vitrectomy requires patients to lie in certain positions for a period of time. This is done so the silicone or gas doesn't push against the detachment, causing further damage.

    While the procedure is considered to be safe, certain complications can arise. Complications of the procedure include decreased vision, increased pain, increased redness, swelling around the eye and discharge. Floaters or flashes of light can occur, as well. If any of these complications occur, patients should contact their doctor immediately.

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    Vitrectomy Risks

    There are numerous risks associated with vitrectomy surgery, which can alter the recovery time of this procedure. Elevated pressure within the eye is a common complication for people who have glaucoma. Other risks, which can threaten vision, can occur as well. These risks include bleeding into the vitreous gel, retinal detachment and fluid accumulation in the cornea. An eye infection, known as endophthalmitis, can also occur.

    While there are complications and risks associated with vitrectomy surgery, it's usually considered to be a safe and successful. This surgery can improve visual acuity for people who have had a severe vitreous hemorrhage. It is also successful for decreasing the bleeding for people who have abnormal blood vessels within the iris. After this surgery, some people even experience partially restored vision. The surgery also prevents further retinal detachment from occurring.

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    References

    "Vitrectomy," http://www.retinavitreouscenter.com/procedures_vitrectomy.html

    "Vitrectomy," http://www.midlandeye.com/operations/vitrectomy.php

    "Vitrectomy Recovery," http://www.docshop.com/education/vision/eye-diseases/diabetic-retinopathy/recovery