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Clin Ophthalmol. 2011 Jan 20;5:109-14. doi: 10.2147/OPTH.S16414.

Comparison of retinal breaks observed during 23 gauge transconjunctival vitrectomy versus conventional 20 gauge surgery for proliferative diabetic retinopathy.

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Department of Ophthalmology, Sunderland Eye Infirmary, Sunderland, UK.



To assess the rate and type of retinal break formation in patients undergoing 23 gauge transconjunctival vitrectomy surgery for complications of proliferative diabetic retinopathy compared with 20 gauge vitrectomy surgery.


Retrospective case notes review of two consecutive series of patients who had primary pars plana vitrectomy for complications of proliferative diabetic retinopathy by a single surgeon. The control group had standard 20 gauge vitrectomy surgery whilst the second group had 23 gauge transconjunctival vitrectomy surgery.


Eighty-five eyes were included in the 20 gauge group and 85 eyes in the 23 gauge group. The groups were well matched for surgical complexity and indications for surgery, as well as a variety of other preoperative variables. There was a significant reduction in the incidence of peripheral sclerotomy-related retinal breaks and lesions suspicious for breaks (4/85 [5%] 23 gauge versus 14/85 [16%] 20 gauge, P = 0.02) and posterior retinal breaks (3/85 [4%] 23 gauge versus 12/85 [14%] 20 gauge, P = 0.03). Six eyes (7%) in total had definite new retinal breaks of any type detected in the 23 gauge group compared with 16 (18.8%) in the 20 gauge group (P = 0.04). One patient in each group experienced a retinal detachment postoperatively related in both cases to a posterior retinal break associated with recurrent traction.


In this series of patients, 23 gauge transconjunctival vitrectomy surgery was associated with a lower rate of retinal break formation than 20 gauge vitrectomy for proliferative diabetic retinopathy.


diabetic retinopathy; proliferative; transconjunctival; vitrectomy

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