Current trends in orbital decompression

Ophthalmology. 1985 Jan;92(1):21-33. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(85)34079-4.


A questionnaire was sent to members of the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ASOPRS) and the Orbital Society in regard to indications, surgical techniques and results of orbital decompression for Graves' disease. It was found that more than 60% of orbital decompressions were performed for mild to severe exophthalmos to correct corneal exposure or disfigurement. A total of 3.9% of these procedures were performed to relieve visual loss in compressive neuropathy. The large majority of decompressions were performed using antral-ethmoidal decompression via a translid or fornix approach. The amount of retrodisplacement was greatest with Kennerdell-Maroon or four-wall decompression and the least with lateral wall decompression. The antral-ethmoidal and three-wall decompression techniques gave an average of 4 to 6 mm of retrodisplacement. It was determined from the survey that antral-ethmoidal decompressions performed through the transantral approach were more likely to relieve the pressure in compressive neuropathy and also more likely to induce a worsening of muscle balance. In contrast, antral-ethmoidal decompressions performed via the translid approach were not as effective in relieving compressive neuropathy but had a much lower incidence of worsened muscle balance, and in fact, resulted in a higher incidence of improved muscle balance. The same trends were confirmed in the author's surgical practice, and an anatomic explanation is offered. The importance of creating nasoantral windows following decompression is emphasized. The risks of cerebrospinal fluid leakage and changes in eyelid positioning following decompression are described.

MeSH terms

  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Ethmoid Bone / surgery
  • Graves Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Graves Disease / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Nerve Compression Syndromes / diagnostic imaging
  • Nerve Compression Syndromes / surgery*
  • Ophthalmoplegia / etiology
  • Optic Nerve Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Optic Nerve Diseases / surgery*
  • Orbit / diagnostic imaging
  • Orbit / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Visual Acuity