Hypertensive gas technique for enucleation of choroidal melanomas: a preliminary report

Eur J Ophthalmol. 1992 Jan-Mar;2(1):30-2. doi: 10.1177/112067219200200107.


The hypertensive gas technique induces avascularity within the eye during enucleation of a melanoma. Before touching the eye for enucleation, pressure is raised to maximum by an intravitreal injection of approximately 1.4 ml of gas (perfluorocarbon, air) resulting in a rock-hard eye. Avascularity persists for the duration of enucleation. From 9/1987 to 6/1989, 15 patients with choroidal melanomas were enrolled in a prospective study with the hypertensive gas technique instead of prior radiotherapy (the death rate in that series was five out of 26 melanoma patients at three years). Inclusion criteria for the hypertensive gas technique study were the same as for our previous irradiation series: (1) absence of detectable metastases and (2) a choroidal melanoma too large for a radioactive plaque. The average base diameter of melanomas measured 13.2 mm, height 8.4 mm. The cytology was: 11x spindle, 3x mixed, 1x epithelioid cells. At re-examination in 7/1991 (average follow-up 33 months) two diabetics had died with no detectable metastases prior to death, and one of the 15 melanoma patients had died with metastases 24 months after enucleation. So far the hypertensive gas technique for enucleation of a melanoma eye seems to have no adverse effect on survival. It seems to be a simple alternative to the precautions taken otherwise and it facilitates enucleation with practically no bleeding from the globe.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Choroid Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Eye Enucleation / methods*
  • Female
  • Fluorocarbons / administration & dosage*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intraocular Pressure
  • Male
  • Melanoma / surgery*
  • Middle Aged
  • Ocular Hypertension*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Survival Rate


  • Fluorocarbons