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Eye (Lond). 2003 Aug;17(6):691-6.

A consideration of the time taken to do dacryo-cystorhinostomy (DCR) surgery.

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The Western Eye Hospital Marylebone Road London, UK.



Comparison of surgical times for dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR) by three different approaches: (1) external, (2) endoscopic endonasal surgical (EES), and (3) endoscopic endonasal laser (EEL) using the holmium:YAG laser. The merits and limitations of each approach are considered and surgical throughput predicted.


Prospective study of adult patients undergoing primary DCR surgery for nasolacrimal duct obstruction. Surgical times were recorded. Subjective and objective outcomes were assessed at a minimum of 6 months.


A total of 48 patients undergoing 51 DCR procedures were studied. The mean surgical time for primary external (n=20), EES-DCR (n=16), and EEL-DCR (n=15) was 41.1+/-10.3, 39.6+/-13.8, and 20.9+/-7.8 min, with symptomatic success achieved in 95, 88, and 60%, respectively. Follow-up was 6-36 months, mean 8 months. It was calculated that if six EEL-DCR, four EES-DCR, or three external DCRs are performed per list for 45 lists per annum, this equals a total of 270 EEL-DCR, 180 EES-DCR, and 135 external DCRs. Of these, 108 EEL-DCR, 22 EES-DCR, and seven external DCRs will fail. If 75% of these have redo surgery using the same technique, an extra 13.5 (EEL-DCR), four (EES-DCR), and two (external DCR) lists are needed.


There was no significant difference between the time taken to do EES-DCR compared to external DCR, and their clinical outcomes. Only EEL-DCR was significantly faster (P<0.001). However, its lower success rate negates the apparent benefit from the greater surgical throughput.

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