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Orbital Decompression


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Orbital decompression is a surgical procedure that has been in existence for well over 100 years. It is used to treat a variety of eye related diseases to decrease the pressure within the eye socket (orbit) and stabilize or improve vision.

Endoscopic orbital decompression is a minimally invasive procedure that was introduced in the early 1990s. It requires no cuts to the outside of the face. The procedure is accomplished with the use of an endoscope (small, rigid telescope) that allows your surgeon to go through the nose and sinuses to delicately decompress the eye socket.

This procedure is typically performed for patients with Grave's Disease, an inflammatory condition of the thyroid gland that affects the orbit. When medical therapy fails – and vision starts being affected – then your specialist may recommend an orbital decompression to reduce the pressure in the orbit caused by the disease.

Who is a Candidate?

Orbital decompression is used to treat conditions causing an increase in the overall volume or size of the eye, including:

  • Trauma to the head or eye
  • Infection of the eye (abscess)
  • Collection of blood (hematoma)
  • Tumor within or around the eye
  • Graves' disease (an autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid gland and eye)

What to Expect

This surgery is typically performed under a general anesthetic. Going through your nose, your surgeon will first perform endoscopic sinus surgery and open the sinuses directly beside the eye.

Once this is complete, the bone along the side of the eye closest to the nose is carefully removed. This exposes the thin lining (periorbita) that covers the entire contents of the eye. In cases of orbital abscesses or tumor decompression, this is all that is necessary. If you have Grave’s disease, your surgeon will then make cuts along the periorbita, allowing the excess fat of the eye to fill the sinuses, reducing the pressure in the orbit and reducing the bulging of the eye. This procedure effectively enlarges the space of the orbit which, in turn, “decompresses” the entire eye.

There is usually no packing placed in the nose following surgery. You may be admitted to the hospital overnight for observation.

Why Choose UHealth?

Ranked in the nation’s top tier by U.S. News & World Report. The ranking reflects the team’s dedication to excellence in research patient care and outcomes. Surgeons, audiologists, biomedical engineers, speech pathologists, researchers, and psychologists collaborate with many research programs at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine to deliver the best possible multidisciplinary care to pediatric and adult ear, nose, and throat patients.

Our multidisciplinary team provides comprehensive care. The experts at University of Miami Health are here to help you improve your quality of life and improve your vision through accurate diagnosis and leading edge treatment in a compassionate setting. Our ophthalmologists and ENT surgeons work together as a multidisciplinary team, so our patients get the latest evidence-based medical or surgical treatment strategies.

Highly specialized rhinology doctors. The experts at University of Miami Health are here to help you breathe easier, smell better, and rest better with an accurate diagnosis and leading edge treatments. Our fellowship-trained providers specialize in the nasal airway, and our rhinology specialists have completed specialized training in nasal and sinus disorders. They have dedicated their clinical and research careers to caring for nasal and sinus disorders.

Our academic health center provides you with more treatment options. Our ENT specialists are experts in the field of rhinology. As part of an academic health center, we are proud to offer breakthrough treatments not available to other facilities in South Florida. We also offer our patients early access to clinical trials and new medical and procedural treatments. We provide comprehensive care for a wide array of rhinologic conditions, backed by expertise, research, and education.

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