Orbital decompression: current concepts

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The orbit in Graves disease undergoes expansion in soft tissue content as a result of the infiltration of orbital fat, extraocular muscles, and the lacrimal gland. Compression of the intraorbital contents leads to disorders of the lid-corneal interface, keratopathy, motility disturbances, exophthalmos, and optic neuropathy. Orbital decompression has traditionally been reserved for those patients with unremitting optic neuropathy. This article provides a historical review of orbital decompression, as well as a review of the evolution of surgical approaches toward both soft tissue and bony decompression. Recent trends in surgical management include fat decompression, more extensive posterior sculpting of the lateral wall, and direct approaches to the medial wall. Preoperative predictors of diplopia and hypoglobus are addressed, as are the various techniques that are employed to limit new postoperative strabismus. The roles of endoscopy and combined surgical techniques are also reviewed. Expanded indications for decompression and its effect on increased intraocular pressure are discussed as well.

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