JOURNAL ARTICLE

Incidence of postblepharoplasty orbital hemorrhage and associated visual loss

Andrea N Hass, Robert B Penne, Mary A Stefanyszyn, Joseph C Flanagan
Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 2004, 20 (6): 426-32
15599241

PURPOSE: Orbital hemorrhage, especially when associated with visual loss, is a significant complication of cosmetic eyelid surgery. We investigated the incidence of this complication among cases handled by members of the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. We also reviewed the length of time between surgery and the onset of bleeding and sought any factors that may contribute to these cases.

METHODS: A 2-page questionnaire was sent to all American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery members. Responses were tabulated as to total numbers of cases performed, the incidence of postoperative orbital hemorrhage, treatments, and incidence of permanent visual loss. Comorbidities were also reviewed.

RESULTS: Two hundred thirty-seven responses were received from American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery members, collectively representing 269,433 cases. Among these cases, there were 149 orbital hemorrhages, 48 cases associated with temporary visual loss, and 12 cases associated with permanent visual loss. The majority of these cases occurred within the first 3 hours of surgery, and the risk decreased significantly after 24 hours after surgery. Common comorbidities were hypertension, perioperative aspirin use, postoperative vomiting, and increased physical activity. Treatment commonly consisted of wound drainage with cauterization of active bleeders, lateral canthotomy, intravenous steroids, and intraocular pressure-lowering drugs. Orbital decompression was infrequently used; anterior chamber paracentesis was not used. This study is limited by recall biases regarding the number of cases performed by each responding surgeon and the number of relevant cases of orbital hemorrhage.

CONCLUSIONS: The incidence of orbital hemorrhage associated with cosmetic eyelid surgery is 0.055% (1:2,000), and orbital hemorrhage with permanent visual loss is 0.0045% (1:22,000) [corrected] Development of orbital hemorrhage is most common within the first 24 hours after surgery, especially within the first 0 to 3 hours, but can occur as late as several days after surgery.

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