The vitreous humor is clear, viscous gel, which fills the void between the lens and the retina of the eyeball. Its role is to hold the retina in its place and provides the proper shape of the eyeball. Pars plana vitrectomy is a procedure in which the vitreous humor of the eye is surgically removed. Apart from pars plana vitrectomy there is another procedure which includes removal of the vitreous humor called anterior vitrectomy.
There are many eye conditions which require removal of the vitreous humor. Some of them are proliferative diabetic retinopathy, macular hole, eye floaters, traumatic eye injuries, retinal detachment etc. Once the surgery of vitreous humor removal is performed the space between the lens and the retina is filled with gases or liquid silicone. These substances hold the retina in its place.
Pars Plana Vitrectomy -The Procedure
The surgeon places the tubular instruments into the eyes through the pars plana. The pars plana is actually the part of the uvea, one of the three layers of the eyeball located near the meeting point of the iris and sclera. The pars plana is approximately 4 mm long. This is a safe place for incision lines and this is why it is chosen in order for surgeon to reach the vitreous humor.
Pars plana vitrectomy is performed as an outpatient procedure and under general anesthesia. In some cases it is necessary for patients to spend one night in hospital. A special speculum is used to hold the open eye. The surgery includes three incisions on the pars plana which are necessary for insertions of all the required instruments. Through one incision a surgeon inserts a tube used for refilling of the fluid which will replace the vitreous humor. This is essential for maintaining the eye pressure during the procedure. The second tubular device cuts the vitreous humor and assists in its removal. The third incision line is used for insertion of a high intensity fiber optic light source necessary for proper illumination of the interior part of the eye and operated area. Since the surgery requires proper insight in all the tiny parts of the eye surgeons commonly use operating microscope with contact lenses. The surgery does not last longer than a couple of hours unless there are additional surgical procedures.
Recovery Time and Potential Complications
Recovery time after pars plana vitrectomy lasts 4 to 6 weeks. All the patients must follow doctor's instructions and advices.
Some of the potential complications of pars plana vitrectomy include eye infections, bleeding, retinal detachment, glaucoma and cataract. In extreme cases there is a chance of complete vision loss.