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Eur J Ophthalmol. 2006 Mar-Apr;16(2):295-9.

Peribulbar and retrobulbar combined anesthesia for vitreoretinal surgery using ropivacaine.

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Fatebenefratelli-Oftalmico Hospital, Milano, Italy.



To evaluate the efficacy and clinical effects of local retrobulbar anesthesia using ropivacaine in vitreoretinal surgery.


Prospective study. A total of 919 vitreoretinal operations were followed. The operations were divided into three groups, depending on the degree of anesthesia needed. Group A: Vitrectomies with episcleral procedures (208 vitrectomies for detached retina or perforating trauma). Group B: Episcleral procedures only (410 operations for detached retina without vitrectomy). Group C: Vitrectomies without episcleral surgery (301 operations for macular pucker or hole, proliferative diabetic retinopathy, or silicone oil removal). Anesthesia was administered using a 23-gauge Atkinson-type retrobulbar needle, after topical anesthesia. Six mL of the solution containing 7.5 mg ropivacaine/mL were injected into the peribulbar space, and the other 4 mL deeper, into the retrobulbar space. The degree of infiltration of the palpebral region, the motor block in the extrinsic ocular muscles, and pain felt were checked and rated.


Swelling of lids was seen in 885 patients (96%); in 21 (2%) swelling was partial. In 13 patients (1%) there were no signs of infiltration. The motor block was total in 801 (87%) eyes, while 118 (12%) had reduced ocular movements. The degree of anesthesia was as follows, considering the three groups together: no pain = 855 (93%) patients; moderate pain = 44 (4%) patients; very strong pain = 20 (2%) patients. No adverse events or side effects were observed.


Ropivacaine used for retrobulbar-peribulbar combined anesthesia in vitreoretinal surgery showed excellent clinical efficacy as regards analgesia and muscle akinesia.

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