Pneumatic retinopexy for the repair of retinal detachments: a comprehensive review (1986-2007)

Surv Ophthalmol. Sep-Oct 2008;53(5):443-78. doi: 10.1016/j.survophthal.2008.06.008.


Pneumatic retinopexy has become an important surgical technique in the modern era of retinal surgical management for retinal detachments. It is primarily indicated for uncomplicated retinal detachments with retinal breaks involving the superior 8 clock hours of the fundus, although more complex retinal detachments may be successfully managed with this technique on a selected basis. Qualified candidates must be willing to maintain a specific head posture for five or more days for optimal outcome with pneumatic retinopexy. Basic surgical steps of pneumatic retinopexy include retinopexy of retinal breaks with cryotherapy or laser, intraocular gas injection before or after retinopexy, and maintenance of proper head posture by the patient for the required time period after surgery. Phakic eyes fared better than nonphakic eyes for pneumatic retinopexy, with the single-operation successes of 71-84% for the former and 41-67% for the latter. Despite lower single-operation successes with pneumatic retinopexy in comparison to sclera buckling, the multicenter pneumatic retinopexy trial and other published reports have shown that the final anatomical and visual outcomes are not disadvantaged by the initial pneumatic retinopexy. An extensive discussion of complications associated with pneumatic retinopexy is presented. In addition, a key feature of this review is a comprehensive update in the outcome of pneumatic retinopexy in published reports from 1986 to the present in chronological order not available in the current literature. This comprehensive summary shows updated average surgical outcomes for the 4,138 eyes in the 21-year period to be similar to previous reports: single-operation successes (74.4%), final operation successes (96.1%), new retinal breaks (11.7%), and proliferative vitreoretinopathy (5.2%).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cryosurgery / methods*
  • Fluorocarbons / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy
  • Ophthalmologic Surgical Procedures*
  • Prognosis
  • Retinal Detachment / surgery*
  • Visual Acuity


  • Fluorocarbons