External argon laser choroidotomy versus needle drainage technique in primary scleral buckle procedures. A prospective randomized study

Retina. 1994;14(4):348-50. doi: 10.1097/00006982-199414040-00010.


Purpose: To compare the rates of intraoperative and postoperative complications of external argon laser choroidotomy and needle drainage techniques during scleral buckle procedures for primary retinal detachment.

Methods: A group of 175 patients undergoing scleral buckling for primary retinal detachment was randomly assigned to undergo either external argon laser choroidotomy or needle drainage. Complications associated with drainage of subretinal fluid were categorized as retinal break, retinal incarceration, or hemorrhage (dot, < or = 1 disc diameter [DD], or > 1 DD), and recorded during surgery and 24 hours after surgery.

Results: In the group that underwent laser choroidotomy, 12 (13%) of 92 patients had complications, including 4 dot hemorrhages, 3 hemorrhages 1 DD or smaller, 3 hemorrhages larger than 1 DD, 1 retinal incarceration, and 1 suprachoroidal hemorrhage. In the group that underwent needle drainage, 13 (16%) of 81 patients had complications, including 3 dot hemorrhages, 4 hemorrhages 1 DD or smaller, 5 hemorrhages larger than 1 DD, and 1 suprachoroidal hemorrhage. No significant difference was noted between the two groups in the incidence of complications (P = 0.657).

Conclusion: External argon laser choroidotomy and needle choroidotomy are comparable, safe, and effective ways to drain subretinal fluid during scleral buckle surgery.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Body Fluids
  • Choroid / surgery*
  • Drainage / methods*
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Complications / etiology
  • Laser Therapy* / adverse effects
  • Needles / adverse effects
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retinal Detachment / surgery*
  • Scleral Buckling*