Outcomes of Orbital Blow-Out Fracture Repair Performed Beyond 6 Weeks After Injury

Richard L Scawn, Lee Hooi Lim, Katherine M Whipple, Angela Dolmetsch, Ayelet Priel, Bobby Korn, Don O Kikkawa
Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 2016, 32 (4): 296-301

PURPOSE: Blow-out fractures cause expansion of the bony orbital walls and prolapse of orbital contents in the sinuses. This can result in diplopia, enophthalmos, and hypoglobus. Early surgical repair has been previously recommended, however, recent reports show that delayed surgery can also be effective. In this study, the clinical and functional outcome of patients with delayed presentation and blow-out fracture repair beyond 6 weeks after injury are described.

METHODS: This is a noncomparative retrospective study. Medical records of adult patients with late orbital floor fracture repair performed by 4 surgeons from April 2008 to January 2014 at 3 tertiary referral centers were reviewed. All repairs were performed more than 6 weeks from the time of injury. Patients with prior orbital fracture repair surgery were excluded.

RESULTS: Twenty patients were included in the study. The duration from time of injury to surgery ranged from 7 weeks to 21 years with a mean of 19 months. Follow up ranged from 6 weeks to 56 months (mean 8 months). Mean age was 48 years (range, 25-80). Male to female ratio was 11:9. Surgery was performed on 10 right eyes and 10 left eyes. CT imaging demonstrated 10 patients had isolated floor fractures, while the remaining 10 patients had combined floor and medial wall fractures. Four patients also had associated facial fractures that did not require surgery. Indications for surgery included enophthalmos of 2 mm or more (18 of 20) and/or significant diplopia within 30° of primary gaze (6 of 20). Mean pre- and postoperative enophthalmos was 2.4 ± 0.9 mm and 0.3 ± 0.2 mm, respectively, corresponding to a mean reduction in enophthalmos of 2.1 ± 1.2 mm (range, 1-5 mm). Four of 7 patients with hypoglobus ranging from 1.5 mm to 8 mm preoperatively had complete resolution postoperatively, the remaining 3 patients showed reduced hypoglobus. Of the 12 patients that had diplopia preoperatively in any position of gaze, 6 patients had complete resolution of diplopia postoperatively, 4 patients had reduced but residual diplopia in extreme gaze, and 2 patients had persistent diplopia, in primary position and down gaze, respectively. Two patients had poor vision that precluded the manifestation of diplopia. None of the 6 patients without preoperative diplopia developed symptoms post operatively.

CONCLUSION: Surgical repair of blow-out fractures of the orbit occurring more than 6 weeks or more from injury can achieve marked improvement in both the functional and cosmetic aspects. The likelihood of induced diplopia is low. Orbital floor fracture repair should be considered to successfully treat enophthalmos or diplopia in patients with delayed clinical presentation, even decades postinjury.

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