Dacryocystorhinostomy with a thulium:YAG laser-a case series | Ear, Nose & Throat Journal Skip to content Skip to navigation

Dacryocystorhinostomy with a thulium:YAG laser-a case series

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August 22, 2018
by Christopher Tang, MD; Scott Rickert, MD; Niv Mor, MD; Andrew Blitzer, MD, DDS; Martin Leib, MD


We conducted a retrospective chart review of 27 patients-7 men and 20 women, aged 47 to 94 years (mean: 71.3)-with symptomatic epiphora secondary to dacryostenosis who had undergone thulium: YAG (Tm:YAG) laser dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR). Among them, dacryostenosis had been documented in 35 eyes by dacryocystography. The Tm:YAG procedure involved the administration of local anesthesia, after which a 600-μm laser fiber was inserted into the lacrimal canaliculi and then into the nasolacrimal duct. Under endoscopic visualization, the DCR was performed anterior and inferior to the middle turbinate, which created an opening. Silicone stents were then inserted and tied intranasally. In the immediate postoperative period, all 27 patients noted initial improvement. During a follow-up of 22 days to 25 months (mean: 11.3 mo), 24 of the 27 patients (89%) remained symptom-free, while the remaining 3 patients (11%) experienced a treatment failure and required revision surgery. To the best of our knowledge, only two articles on thulium laser therapy for DCR have been previously published, both approximately 25 years ago; both involved the use of a thulium along with holmium and chromium in cadavers. As far as we know, our case series is the largest in the English-language literature that has documented the use of the thulium in laser therapy for DCR, and it is the only in vivo study. We found that DCR with the Tm:YAG laser was an effective and affordable option for patients with symptomatic epiphora secondary to lacrimal obstruction.

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