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Ophthal Plast Reconstr Surg. 2012 Sep-Oct;28(5):331-4. doi: 10.1097/IOP.0b013e31825ca5d8.

A histopathologic review of undiagnosed neoplasms in 205 evisceration specimens.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology and Pathology, The McGill University Health Center and Henry C Witelson Ocular Pathology Laboratory, Montreal, Canada.



Evisceration and enucleation are 2 ophthalmic surgeries used to treat blind and painful eyes. The benefits of evisceration over enucleation are many but this procedure is contraindicated in cases of a suspected intra-ocular mass. Given the lack of such studies in the literature, our aim was to review a large sample of eviscerated specimens to document the prevalence of unexpected neoplasms.


During the study period (1994-2011), 13,591 human ophthalmic specimens were received at the Henry C. Witelson Ophthalmic Pathology Laboratory and Registry. Of those, 205 were evisceration specimens. Histopathologic reports were reviewed to retrieve relevant clinical information that included clinical diagnosis, age, gender, laterality, and final histopathologic diagnosis.


The total number of unexpected neoplasms was 4 (1.95%) including 2 (0.97%) malignancies: necrotic melanoma (1), ciliary body adenoma (1), iris nevus (1), and spindle cell melanoma (1). All the other remaining eyes had histopathologic findings that were consistent with the underlying diagnosis.


With proper pre-operative evaluation, including history, ophthalmologic examination, and imaging studies, the rate of unexpected neoplasms in evisceration specimens were low. Evisceration is a simpler and cheaper procedure when compared with enucleation, and our results corroborate its safety, whenever indicated to treat blind and/or painful eyes.

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