3 Types of Retinal Detachment Surgery

All retinal detachment surgery is not exactly the same. Depending on the individual situation, a patient may have to undergo one of a few different procedures. If you are not sure about which retinal detachment surgery you are having performed, talk to your surgeon. They can give you a better perspective on what to expect and what your individual case requires.

Pneumatic Retinopexy

Pneumatic retinopexy is a retinal detachment surgery that is generally performed right in the doctor’s office. Local anesthesia is used so the patient remains comfortable. This procedure can repair the retina using a gas bubble, which is placed in the eye. The existing hole is treated by freezing or with a laser. When undergoing this type of retinal detachment surgery, the patient must keep their head in a certain position so the gas bubble remains against the hold in the retina. This may be necessary for several days until the hole is sealed.

Scleral Buckle Surgery

A second retinal detachment surgery is Scleral buckle surgery. This is performed by sewing one or more silicone bands to the sclera, or white outer area of the eye. These bands will push the eye wall out so that it presses against the hold in the retina. This will close the gap and reduce the flow of fluid through the hole. Eventually, the retina will be able to reattach. Patients who undergo this type of retinal detachment surgery will become more nearsighted.


A third type of retinal detachment surgery is the Vitrectomy.  This is the act of actually removing the vitreous gel from the eye. It is replaced with either a silicone oil or a gas bubble. In some cases, the gas bubble is preferred because it will be absorbed on its own within weeks and will not cause a change in eye sight. The silicone gel, on the other hand, must be removed after two to eight months, depending on the surgeon’s advice. Although Vitrectomy is a common procedure, it can also increase the progression of cataracts in the affected eye.