Before getting started, read our Retina 101 page.
What is a Pneumatic Retinopexy?
Pneumatic retinopexy is a treatment option usually performed in the office setting for certain types of retinal detachments. Pneumatic retinopexy involves injecting a long acting gas bubble into the vitreous cavity, usually along with laser surgery or freezing cryotherapy, to help reattach certain types of retinal detachments. Your retina specialist will discuss with you whether pneumatic retinopexy is a recommended treatment option for your retinal detachment.
Pneumatic retinopexy is typically done in the office setting using local anesthesia. Your surgeon may perform freezing cryotherapy and/or laser therapy to the retina along with the injection of a gas bubble into the vitreous cavity.
Pneumatic retinopexy is used in certain types of retinal detachment. Your retina specialist will advise you whether your retinal detachment meets the surgical indications for pneumatic retinopexy.
Pneumatic retinopexy can typically be completed within a half an hour in the office setting.
Most of the time, people do well with pneumatic retinopexy and there are no complications. However, as with any surgery, complications can occur. The most often seen complications include cataract formation, increase in eye pressure or mild bleeding. More serious but rare complications include infection and vision loss.
Pneumatic retinopexy is indicated in certain types of retinal detachments and can be up to 75% successful. Approximately 25% of patients would need additional surgery to reattach the retina.
Depending on the type of gas your retina surgeon uses, the gas bubble usually lasts between one and two months in the eye. During this time, you will need to avoid flying on an airplane, significant change in altitude, and avoid anesthesia with nitrous oxide or laughing gas, which some dentists use for in-office procedures.