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J Neurosurg Sci. 1989 Oct-Dec;33(4):323-7.

Orbital decompression for severe Graves' ophthalmopathy. Results of a three-wall operative technique.

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Istituto di Endocrinologia, University of Pisa, Italy.


Nine patients out of more than 300 with severe Graves' ophthalmopathy followed in this institution were submitted to orbital decompression carried out on 16 eyes by a three-wall procedure consisting of a transfrontal approach with the removal of the roof, the lateral wall and part of the floor of the orbit. All patients had been previously unsuccessfully treated by orbital radiotherapy and/or systemic corticosteroid administration. The main indications for surgery were marked proptosis or sight-threatening optic neuropathy. Results of treatment were evaluated on clinical grounds and by the variation of the ophthalmopathy index (OI). A significative reduction of proptosis was observed in all eyes, with a mean decrease in the Hertel reading of 3.2 mm, from 22.6 +/- 1.8 mm to 19.4 +/- 1.4 mm (p less than 0.001). A complete regression or improvement of inflammatory signs, corneal lesion and, with one exception, extraocular muscle dysfunction was obtained in all cases. Loss of visual acuity and other manifestations of optic neuropathy were present in 11 out of 16 eyes before surgery. A complete restoration or a marked improvement of optic neuropathy was obtained in 7 cases: failure occurred in the two patients (4 eyes) with longstanding sight loss. The OI decreased in all patients after surgery, from a mean pretreatment value of 8.6 to a mean posttreatment value of 3.8 (p less than 0.001). The clinical response to surgery was excellent in 4 cases, good in 3 and slight in 1; no changes were observed in the remaining patient. Bacterial meningitis which resolved with no sequelae occurred in one patient.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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