Transpalpebral decompression of endocrine ophthalmopathy (Graves' disease) by removal of intraorbital fat: experience with 147 operations over 5 years

Plast Reconstr Surg. 1991 Apr;87(4):627-41; discussion 642-3.


From 1984 to October 1989 at the Plastic Surgery Unit in Wesseling, we carried out 147 operations on 75 patients with Graves' disease. Intraorbital fat was removed through a transpalpebral incision to achieve decompression. The average amount of fat was 6.0 cm3. We have made a long-term follow-up (more than 6 months postoperatively) study of 57 patients who experienced 108 operations. The first results were published in September 1988. When we compared the results to a traditional decompression operation (with resection of one or two orbital walls), we found that the postoperative complication rate was significantly lower and that the success rate was much higher. Thus the range of indications for surgery may be much wider than previously considered. Patients who are about to lose their vision as well as those experiencing lesser symptoms can be much improved with this operation. At the beginning, before the technique was fully developed, complications such as supraorbital nerve palsy occurred.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / surgery*
  • Adult
  • Eyelids / surgery*
  • Female
  • Graves Disease / epidemiology
  • Graves Disease / etiology
  • Graves Disease / history
  • Graves Disease / physiopathology
  • Graves Disease / surgery*
  • History, 18th Century
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Orbit / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Surgery, Plastic / methods