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Technique selection for orbital decompression: Combined endoscopic and transconjunctival versus combined endoscopic and transantral approach

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May 1, 2009
by Edmund A. Pribitkin, MD, Jonathan McJunkin, MD, Brian Kung, MD, Jacqueline R. Carrasco, MD, Jurij R. Bilyk, MD, and Peter J. Savino, MD


Surgical orbital decompression is indicated for patients with compressive optic neuropathy, exposure keratopathy, an uncontrolled elevation of intraocular pressure, globe subluxation, and disfiguring proptosis secondary to Graves ophthalmopathy. Controversy exists, however, regarding the selection of surgical technique to achieve orbital decompression. We compared the results of our combined transnasal endoscopic and transconjunctival approach with those of our combined transnasal endoscopic and transantral approach to orbital decompression. We conducted a retrospective chart review of patients who had undergone medial- and inferior-wall orbital decompression from January 1994 through January 2004. During that time, 189 combined medial- and inferior-wall orbital decompressions were performed on 124 patients; 51 combined endoscopic and transantral decompressions were performed on 28 patients, and 138 combined endoscopic and transconjunctival decompressions were performed on 96 patients. Patient demographics and the degree of preoperative proptosis were statistically equal in the 2 groups. The incidence of optic neuropathy in the transantral group was significantly higher than the incidence in the entire group (p = 0.03), and the incidence of exposure keratopathy was significantly lower in the transantral group than in the entire group (p = 0.03). Postoperatively, the reduction in proptosis in the 2 groups was statistically equivalent, but the transconjunctival group had a significantly lower incidence of both infraorbital hypesthesia (p< 0.0001) and early rhinosinusitis (p = 0.008). Three cases of globe ptosis and 2 of infraorbital neuralgia occurred. No cases of visual loss, worsened optic neuropathy, diplopia in patients without preexisting diplopia, cerebrospinal fluid leak, significant epistaxis, or periorbital hematoma were noted. We conclude that combined endoscopic and transconjunctival orbital decompression offers equivalent efficacy with less postoperative infraorbital hypesthesia and early rhinosinusitis than does combined endoscopic and transantral orbital decompression.

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