Vitrectomy Procedure Details

The vitreous is a normally clear, jelly-like substance that fills the center of the eyeball. It makes up about 2/3 of the eyes volume and helps it keep its shape.

Certain conditions affecting the retina may require the vitreous to be surgically removed and then replaced following surgery. The vitreous may also need to be replaced if it is inflamed or infected. This procedure is called a vitrectomy surgery. It is also known as Trans Pars Plana vitrectomy (TTPV), after the area of the eye through which the procedure is most often done.
The operation is typically done on an out-patient basis or in combination with a hospital overnight stay.

Local anesthetic is usually the practice, however, in more complicated cases, general anesthesia may be used. Prior to the operation, drops will be put in the eye in order to dilate the pupil. After the surgery, so as to minimize infection risk, antibiotic drops are given, and also steroid drops to lessen inflammation.

Using delicate instruments inserted through tiny incisions in the sclera (eye wall), the vitreous is drained. Surgeons will employ fiber-optics and to see inside the eye, and commonly to apply laser treatment as necessary to repair the retina.

During the vitrectomy procedure, the eye is usually filled with air, or a mixture of air and gas, in order to hold the retina in place until they are replaced naturally by the body’s own fluids over a period of time, usually around one week. During this recovery period, it may be necessary for the patient to remain in a “face-down” position, and their vision is very poor.

At any rate, following the surgery, the patients eye will be protected and bandaged, so this should not be too disconcerting. Most patients will return to work and normal life style within 1-4 weeks after the vitrectomy.

Reasons for Having a Vitrectomy Procedure Done

A vitrectomy surgery may be undergone in order to remove scar tissue, clear blood or foreign debris from the eye, or lessen traction on the retina. Blood, inflammatory cells, debris, and scar tissue obscure light as it passes through the eye to the retina, resulting in blurred vision. Vitrectomy surgery is typically done concurrently with other procedures, for example, macular membrane peel retinal detachment repair, and macular hole surgery.

Common eye conditions that necessitate a vitrectomy include:

    • Complications from diabetic retinopathy such as retinal detachment or bleeding
    • Macular hole or pucker
    • Retinal detachment
    • Pre-retinal membrane fibrosis
    • Bleeding inside the vitreous
    • Infection