Vitrectomy is a surgery to remove the vitreous humor from the eye.
Vitrectomy is when the eye surgeon removes the vitreous from the inside of the eye.
Pars plana vitrectomy is a general term for a group of operations on the deeper part of the eye, all of which involve the removal of some or all of the vitreous – the eye’s clear internal jelly. Pars plana vitrectomy eye surgery is sometimes done to remove eye floaters or vitreous hemorrhage inside the eyeball. In a vitrectomy, the surgeon “vacuums” out the normally clear, jelly-like fluid that fills the inside of the eye, the vitreous humor, with a surgical instrument called a vitrector.
The vitrectomy procedure
A pars plana vitrectomy is normally an outpatient procedure and very rarely entails an overnight stay in a hospital. Either local or general anesthesia numbs and sedates the eye surgery patient. A special sterile instrument, called a speculum props the eye open during the procedure. The surgery technicians will cover the other eye with a sterile drape and closed the entire time.
The procedure begins with the vitreo-retina eye surgeon making a small 2 millimeter slit in the side of the eye before he inserts an infusion tube in order to maintain constant intraocular eye pressure. He then inserts a tiny microscopic cutting device into another small incision in the sclera, or the “whites” of the eye. This device then aspirates, or vacuums out, the cloudy vitreous fluid.
An aqueous fluid replaces the vitreous fluid that is now missing, in order to keep the normal roundness of the eyeball and to maintain normal intraocular pressure in the eye. The artificial fluid used is saline solution. The eye will naturally replace this artificial fluid with its own clear fluids, within 24 hours.
Risks of vitrectomy eye surgery
As a result of highly technical surgical instruments, pars plana vitrectomy surgery has become very safe during the past couple decades due to evolving technologies. New smaller instruments and novel incision techniques reduce the risks of vitrectomy surgery greatly. However, as with any eye surgery, there are risks. These risks include, but are not limited to:
- Endophthalmitis eye infection
- Retinal detachment
- Bleeding in and around the eye
- Macular edema, swelling inside the eye
- Additional surgery
- Complete loss of the eye / vision
Consequently, special caution and consideration is taken by the eye surgeon and ophthalmic staff to avoid any of these risks and complications.