Background: Pneumatic retinopexy is a procedure for reattaching the retina by injecting an expanding gas bubble and using either laser or cryopexy. The procedure is controversial because there may be a lower initial success rate, and intraocular gas may increase the risk of proliferative vitreoretinopathy.
Methods: The authors performed a retrospective review of 107 unpublished consecutive cases of pneumatic retinopexy together with a literature review of 25 statistical series with primary attention to failures. Univariate and multivariate analyses were carried out on the data set, and adjusted odds ratios for risk factors associated with failure were calculated using logistic regression.
Results: Initially, 74 (69%) of 107 patients had successful results, and with re-operations the success rate increased to 98%. Failure of the procedure to achieve retinal reattachment occurred soon after the initial procedure, with 86% of recorded failures occurring within the first month. The initial cause of failure was new or missed breaks in 14.9%, reopened initial breaks in 11.2%, and breaks never closed in 4.6%. Risk factors that showed a correlation with failure were patients being male (adjusted odds ratio = 2.65), eyes with preoperative visual acuity worse than 20/50 (adjusted odds ratio = 1.21), eyes with four quadrants of retinal detachment or total detachment (adjusted odds ratio = 2.03), aphakic or pseudophakic eyes (adjusted odds ratio = 1.91), and eyes with additional pathologic findings (adjusted odds ratio = 3.14). Poor visual outcome was associated with initial visual acuity less than 20/50 (adjusted odds ratio = 15.7) and eyes with four quadrants of retinal detachment or total detachment (adjusted odds ratio = 5.01).
Conclusions: Failures of pneumatic retinopexy occur early in the postoperative course. Factors known to be associated with failure of retinal reattachment using scleral buckling also were associated with failure in pneumatic retinopexy. A higher success rate in females was noted, suggesting that educational efforts may need to be greater in males. Poorer visual results occurred in patients with poor initial vision and in eyes with four quadrants of retinal detachment or total detachments.