Orbital complications in functional endoscopic sinus surgery

Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1993 Nov;109(5):814-20. doi: 10.1177/019459989310900507.


Endoscopic sinus surgery can result in both minor and major complications. Among these, orbital complications--including retroorbital hematoma--are among the most feared. Injuries can be direct or indirect from pulling on diseased structures. A retrospective chart review of 616 endoscopic sinus procedures revealed eight orbital complications in seven patients. These included two medial rectus injuries, five orbital hemorrhages, and one nasolacrimal duct injury. Predisposing factors may include hypertension, lamina papyracia dehiscences, extensive polypoid disease, previous surgery, inability to visualize the maxillary ostia, violent coughing or sneezing, and chronic steroid use. Suggested management in the literature includes lateral canthotomy, steroids, and mannitol with ophthalmologic consultation. Opening of the wound by means of an external ethmoidectomy incision has also been suggested. We suggest that adding orbital decompression by means of multiple incisions into the periorbita should be added for fully effective relief. A "management" tree of decision parameters relevant to orbital complications is presented.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Causality
  • Decision Trees
  • Dexamethasone / administration & dosage
  • Dexamethasone / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laparoscopes
  • Laparoscopy / adverse effects*
  • Laparoscopy / methods
  • Male
  • Medical Audit
  • Middle Aged
  • Orbital Diseases / diagnosis
  • Orbital Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Orbital Diseases / etiology
  • Orbital Diseases / therapy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sinusitis / surgery*


  • Dexamethasone