Purpose: The incidence of lacrimal sac pathology in patients with clinically suspected primary acquired nasolacrimal duct obstruction is unknown. This is an important issue when considering the potential risk of either conservative nonsurgical management or laser dacryocystorhinostomy, neither of which permits direct visualization and biopsy of the lacrimal outflow apparatus.
Methods: A total of 162 lacrimal sac biopsy specimens were obtained in 150 consecutive patients undergoing external or endonasal dacryocystorhinostomy for clinical primary acquired nasolacrimal duct obstruction from January 1992 to October 1994.
Results: A total of 147 patients (98%) had histopathologic findings consistent with inflammation or fibrosis of the lacrimal sac or both. In the remaining three patients, abnormalities included sarcoid granuloma (one patient), oncocytoma (one patient), and lymphoma (one patient).
Conclusions: The incidence of significant pathology of the lacrimal sac in clinically suspected primary acquired nasolacrimal duct obstruction is low. However, these cases can be identified correctly only by routine biopsy of the lacrimal sac during dacryocystorhinostomy.