Pneumatic retinopexy: an update

Graefes Arch Clin Exp Ophthalmol. 2022 Mar;260(3):711-722. doi: 10.1007/s00417-021-05448-x. Epub 2021 Oct 12.


Pneumatic retinopexy (PR) is a minimally invasive, non-incisional procedure for repairing uncomplicated rhegmatogenous retinal detachment. It consists of an intravitreal gas injection followed by the maintenance of a postoperative head position and the use of laser or cryopexy to seal the retinal breaks. It was initially indicated for a single or a group of retinal breaks no larger than 1 clock hour involving the superior 8 clock hours in phakic eyes with no proliferative vitreoretinopathy. We aim to perform a narrative review on pneumatic retinopexy since the last major review of 2008, based on a Medline search up to June 20 2021 using multiple search words including pneumatic retinopexy, pneumoretinopexy, retinal detachment, and pars plana vitrectomy. Indications for PR have been expanded and include pseudophakic eyes, eyes with mild PVR, and even breaks in the inferior fundus. Depending on the case selection, PR has a single-operation success rate ranging from 45 to 80%. Despite the lower single operation success rate, the functional outcomes of those eyes repaired successfully by primary PR exceed those of scleral buckling (SB) and pars plana vitrectomy (PPV). Best corrected visual acuity, metamorphopsia scores, mental health scores, and vision-related functioning scores were all better in PR-treated eyes compared to PPV-treated eyes. PR should be strongly considered for eligible patients with a primary uncomplicated rhegmatogenous retinal detachments.

Keywords: C3F8; Pneumatic retinopexy; Pneumoretinopexy; Retinal detachment; SF6; Scleral buckle; Vitreoretinal surgery.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Retinal Detachment* / diagnosis
  • Retinal Detachment* / etiology
  • Retinal Detachment* / surgery
  • Retinal Perforations* / surgery
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Scleral Buckling / methods
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Visual Acuity
  • Vitrectomy / methods