Purpose: To compare the complication rate of porous polyethylene orbital motility implants with solid acrylic implants following enucleation and identify possible risk factors. Methods: The authors retrospectively reviewed the charts of a total of 117 consecutive enucleations performed at the University of Illinois at Chicago between March 28, 1994, and May 28, 1999. Data obtained included patient demographics, surgical indication, implant type, attending surgeon, surgical technique, and any reported complications. The primary outcome was presence or absence of implant exposure at the final recorded visit. Results: Of the 117 identified cases, 29 were eliminated due to insufficient follow-up data. Of the 88 remaining cases, 48 patients received porous implants and 40 received solid acrylic implants. Implant exposure developed in four cases. All exposures occurred in unwrapped porous polyethylene implants (n=2) or porous polyethylene implants wrapped in absorbable material (n=2). All exposures occurred in patients younger than 18 years of age, and 75% occurred early after trauma-associated enucleation surgery. Conclusions: The exposure rate of porous polyethylene implants in this study (9%) was found to be comparable to published rates for hydroxyapatite implants. There were no exposures of unwrapped solid acrylic spheres. Unwrapped porous implants in pediatric patients or following trauma-related enucleation may represent an increased risk for postoperative implant exposure. Absorbable wrapping of porous implants may carry the same risk for exposure as no wrapping. Porous implants wrapped in durable material appear to be as safe as solid acrylic spheres.
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