Retinal Detachment: Imaging of Surgical Treatments and Complications


Rhegmatogenous retinal detachment occurs in 5%–7% of the population with a peak prevalence between 40 and 80 years of age. The objects of treatment are to create a chorioretinal scar at the site of the retinal tear and to mechanically appose the detached sensory retina to the underlying retinal pigment epithelium. This apposition is achieved by means of scleral buckling or intraocular tamponade.

In scleral buckling, the eye wall is indented under the retinal tear with a silicone buckling element. In intraocular tamponade, the eye is filled with a bubble of air, gas, or silicone oil. In patients treated with these techniques, neuroimaging commonly demonstrates incidental orbital findings. Familiarity with these techniques is essential if the radiologist is to differentiate normal postoperative findings from ocular disease. Furthermore, the ability to recognize the appearance of uncomplicated ocular surgery is a prerequisite for aiding the surgeon in diagnosis of postoperative complications.

John I. Lane, MD, Robert E. Watson, Jr, MD, PhD, Robert J. Witte, MD and Colin A. McCannel, MD