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
"Recently I had an ongoing issue and was passed around to several ophthalmologists via referral. Finally I ended up in Dr. Sullivan's hands. I will say several women I work with had strongly recommended him, and advised me (combined with having been to an ophthalmology appointment 3 times already in a one month span) that I would wait. The receptionist who confirmed my appointment also reminded me "you can expect to be at the appointment up to 4 hours" so it seems my expectations were a little different than some others. When I finally did get to see Doctor Sullivan (an hour and a half or so after my appointment time) he made an extremely scary situation so much better. He has amazing bedside manner and his delivery is understanding. I was really emotional and he assured me he was confident in his diagnosis and resolution. I left the appointment feeling 100 times better & completely happy I ended up in Dr. Sullivan's hands!"- W.T. / Yelp / Jul 19, 2018
"The staff is awesome. Friendly and always smiling?"- D.B. / Facebook / Jun 21, 2018
"Dr Sullivan was awesome !! I took my sister and he was on top of it right away!! She has a huge mass behind eye!! I would recommend them highly ????"- S.B. / Facebook / Jun 02, 2018
"Goes above and beyond for patients. Very detail oriented. Works well with other Dr if you have multiple eye issues such as glaucoma. There are long wait times in the office but it is well worth it. Dr. Sullivan is the primary Dr at the office but have had to see Dr Agee and he is great too. Highly recommend this office and doctors."- S.V. / Google / May 27, 2018
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.