Background: Graves' ophthalmopathy generates a volume excess for the orbital cavity, which may produce proptosis, pain, exposure keratitis, diplopia, and optic neuropathy. Endoscopic orbital decompression expands the orbital cavity into the ethmoid cavity and medial maxillary sinus. This retrospective study documents the outcomes after endoscopic orbital decompression for patients with Graves' ophthalmopathy. Methods: Data collected included demographic information, symptom resolution, complications related to the surgery, reduction in proptosis, subsequent need for eye muscle surgery, and hospital length of stay. Between July 1989 and April 2003, 62 patients were referred for endoscopic orbital decompression (often unilateral). Results: Three patients refused use of their medical records for research purposes. Seventy percent were women; the average age of the study group was 49 years. Preoperatively, 63% of the patients had diplopia and optic neuropathy was noted in 27%. Two patients had a cerebrospinal fluid leak identified and managed during the decompression. No postoperative leaks occurred. Twenty-five percent of patients did not require eye muscle surgery. Forty-eight percent of the patients underwent one procedure to manage diplopia. The average reduction in proptosis was 2.5 mm. Fifty-four percent were managed as an outpatient and 27% underwent a 23-hour observation period. Conclusion: This data supports the safety, efficiency, and efficacy of endoscopic orbital decompression for unilateral and bilateral Graves' ophthalmopathy. Eye muscle surgery frequently will be required to manage diplopia after decompression.
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