What is Pneumatic Retinopexy?
Compared to procedures that require incisions to repair retinal detachments, pneumatic retinopexy (PR) is a common 2-step outpatient procedure. Jacksonville, FL retinal specialists, Dr. Shawn Agee and Dr. John Sullivan, sometimes use this technique instead of a vitrectomy, which makes incision to remove vitreous gel to repair a detached retina. In PR, your doctor will first inject a gas bubble into the eye and then use a method to adhere breaks in the retina. Retinal detachments occur when the vitreous gel located in the middle of the eye detaches from the retina, resulting in a tear or detachment. This can cause a number of vision issues, including loss, distortion, and blurriness.
Pneumatic retinopexy is usually recommended for patients with:
- A single break or tear that results from the retinal detachment.
- Multiple breaks when they are small and grouped close together.
- A break that’s located in the upper area of the retina.
What to Expect
Prior to pneumatic retinopexy, your retina specialist will dilate your eyes and then numb them with eye drops to reduce discomfort. The eye is cleaned out to prevent infection. A gas bubble will be injected into the middle of the eyeball to allow it to float to the location of the detachment. The bubble will the press lightly against the detachment as part of the first step. For the second step, your doctor will use laser technology or cyropexy (a form of freezing) to completely seal the tear(s) in the retina. This is normally an outpatient surgery and the patient can return home the same day.
"He is a very caring Doctor, he will not milk your insurance, he will not give you unnecessary surgery if you don't need it. I will never trust anyone else with my vision"- M.H. / Healthgrades / Aug 17, 2016
"Dr. Sullivan went beyond my expectations in my care. His staff is excellent. I am so pleased with the care and attention he showed to me. I highly recommend him. Staff is very compassionate."- B.O. / Google / Apr 03, 2019
"Dr Sullivan took great care of my husband , from emergency surgery to all the follow ups over this past year. He took his time and always explained procedures and his care was extraordinary. We are very thankful!"- S.G. / Google / Mar 21, 2019
"I was blessed beyond measure today! Southeastern Retina Specialist worked to get me in asap, due to an emergency eye issue, to save my vision. As I sit here, being able to see as I type this, is the most amazing feeling in the world! The care, compassion, excellent doctor and staff at this business is remarkable and unmatched! I will be forever grateful to Dr. Agee and the staff!"- D.D. / Google / Mar 20, 2019
"I might be blind in my right eye if it wasn't for Dr Sullivan. Had 3 tears in my Retina (suspect high B/P). Right eye is now 20/25 after retina was repaired and cataract surgery. Right eye has better vision than my left eye without surgery (20/30). It's nice to know the surgery can turn out so well that it not only fixed the torn retina, but also improved my vision to better than before the tears occurred."- A.K. / Google / Mar 20, 2019
Following surgery, the gas bubble will remain in the eye for approximately 1 – 3 weeks and will be naturally absorbed by the eye. While it remains in the eye, the bubble aids in flattening the retina until a cohesive seal forms in between the retina and eye wall. The total recovery from PR is about 3 weeks. The most challenging part of the surgery is keeping the bubble in place, which is accomplished by holding the head in a certain position during recovery. Restrictions include not lying on your back and avoiding flying on an airplane.
For most patients, PR is successful and repairs retinal detachments completely. Vision loss and other vision problems can also be restored after the surgery.
Pneumatic retinopexy is effective for certain types of retinal detachments, which you can discuss with your doctor. To schedule a consultation, give our office a call today to set up an appointment to come in and have all of your questions answered.