Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of transluminal balloon dilatation done under digital subtraction fluoroscopic monitoring in the treatment of incomplete and complete obstruction of the lacrimal drainage system (LDS) in patients with epiphora.
Subjects and methods: Transluminal balloon dilatation of the LDS was attempted in 19 eyes with incomplete and 61 eyes with complete obstruction, including six cases of anastomotic obstruction after failed dacryocystorhinostomy. A soft plastic arterial sheath over a stump-guiding metal probe was introduced through the superior canaliculus into the nasolacrimal apparatus. A 0.016-in. specially angled steerable guidewire was introduced through the sheath and across the site of obstruction, advanced into the nasal cavity, and brought forward through the external nare. A low-profile angioplasty balloon dilatation catheter was passed retrograde over the guidewire through the nasal aperture to the site of obstruction and inflated for dilatation.
Results: Technical success was achieved in all 19 eyes with incomplete obstruction and in 46 (75%) of 61 eyes with complete obstruction. Initial success was achieved in all 19 eyes with incomplete obstruction and in 36 (59%) of 61 eyes with complete obstruction. In a follow-up period of 6-18 months (mean, 13 months), reobstruction occurred in none of the eyes with incomplete and in two eyes with complete obstruction.
Conclusion: Our experience shows that transluminal balloon dilatation is an effective treatment for incomplete obstruction of the LDS. The procedure has a high failure and recurrence rate when the obstruction is complete.