Orbital decompression for thyroid eye disease: methods, outcomes, and complications

Eye (Lond). 2018 Mar;32(3):626-636. doi: 10.1038/eye.2017.260. Epub 2017 Dec 15.


PurposeTo determine the safety and effectiveness of orbital decompression for thyroid eye disease (TED) in our unit. To put this in the context of previously published literature.Patients and methodsA retrospective case review of all patients undergoing orbital decompression for TED under the care of one orbital surgeon (SMS) between January 2009 and December 2015. A systematic literature review of orbital decompression for TED.ResultsWithin the reviewed period, 93 orbits of 55 patients underwent decompression surgery for TED. There were 61 lateral (single) wall decompressions, 17 medial one-and-a-half wall, 11 two-and-a-half wall, 2 balanced two wall, and 2 orbital fat only decompressions. For the lateral (single) wall decompressions, mean reduction in exophthalmometry (95% confidence interval (CI) was 4.2 mm (3.7-4.8), for the medial one-and-a-half walls it was 2.9 mm (2.1-3.7), and for the two-and-a-half walls it was 7.6 mm (5.8-9.4). The most common complications were temporary postoperative numbness (29% of lateral decompressions, 17% of other bony decompressions, OR 0.50, 95% CI 0.12-2.11) and new postoperative diplopia (9% of lateral decompressions, 39% of other bony decompressions, OR 6.8, 95% CI 1. 5-30.9). Systematic literature searching showed reduction in exophthalmometry for lateral wall surgery of 3.6-4.8 mm, with new diplopia 0-38% and postoperative numbness 12-50%. For other bony decompressions, reduction in exophthalmometry was 2.5-8.0 mm with new diplopia 0-45% and postoperative numbness up to 52%.ConclusionDiffering approaches to orbital decompression exist. If the correct type of surgery is chosen, then safe, adequate surgical outcomes can be achieved.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Decompression, Surgical / adverse effects
  • Decompression, Surgical / instrumentation
  • Decompression, Surgical / methods*
  • Drainage / methods
  • Female
  • Graves Ophthalmopathy / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies