Comparative study of 23-gauge vitrectomy versus 20-gauge vitrectomy for the treatment of rhegmatogenous retinal detachment

Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2011 Oct;249(10):1459-68. doi: 10.1007/s00417-011-1645-5. Epub 2011 Apr 16.


Purpose: To compare the safety and efficacy of 20- and 23-gauge pars plana vitrectomy (PPV) for the management of primary rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RD) with proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR) grade B or less.

Methods: This comparative nested case-control study included 35 consecutive 23-gauge transconjunctival PPV cases matched (1:1) with 35 cases of 20-gauge PPV (from a prospective cohort of 1,150 patients) for the baseline visual acuity (VA), axial length, lens and macular status, the location and number of breaks, and PVR grade. All patients had complete PPV, cryotherapy, fluid-gas exchange, and a minimum follow-up of 6 months. The exclusion criteria were eyes with previous vitreoretinal surgery, combined vitrectomy and cataract surgery, RD secondary to trauma or macular hole, diabetic retinopathy, aphakic eyes, giant tears, or posteriorly located breaks precluding treatment using transconjunctival cryotherapy.

Results: Baseline examination disclosed pseudophakia in 77.1%, high myopia in 11.4%, 2.7 ± 2.2 retinal breaks/eye, attached macula in 37.1%, and PVR grade B in 24.3% of the cases. The mean operative time and intraoperative complication rate (11.4%) were similar in both groups. In the 23-G group, we noted three cases of iatrogenic retinal tears and one case of choroidal detachment secondary to a dislodgment of the infusion line. Suturing the sclerotomy sites or the conjunctiva was required in 5.7 and 51% of the eyes, respectively. The single reattachment rate was similar in both groups, 74.3% in the 20-G group, and 80% in the 23-G group. The final anatomical success rate was 97% in the two groups. Mean preoperative VA of 1.2 ± 0.9 logMAR improved similarly in both groups to 0.4 ± 0.4 at the 6-month visit. A final vision of 20/40 or better was achieved similarly in 62.9% of the eyes in the 20-G group and 60% in the 23-G group.

Conclusions: Twenty-three-gauge PPV provides anatomical and visual results similar to the 20-G technique for the management of uncomplicated rhegmatogenous RD.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Needles*
  • Retinal Detachment / complications
  • Retinal Detachment / physiopathology
  • Retinal Detachment / surgery*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Suture Techniques
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Visual Acuity
  • Vitrectomy / instrumentation*
  • Vitreoretinopathy, Proliferative / complications
  • Vitreoretinopathy, Proliferative / physiopathology
  • Vitreoretinopathy, Proliferative / surgery