Well, I had the trans pars plana vitrectomy and the ERM peel on April 8. I wanted to report how
it came out.
The surgery reportedly went well, and it took my surgeon about 40 minutes to peel the ERM. Unfortunately, after surgery I was required to be in the face-down position for several days because of the surgeon having to insert a gas bubble in my left eye. I questioned him about this, and he said he was working around a pseudo-hole. He made a decision on the spot to also peel the ILM, and just to avoid the possibility of a hole actually being left, he utilized the gas bubble as a tamponade.
When I went back the next day, 24 hours after the surgery, my doctor said I still needed to assume
face-down positioning for the rest of the weekend. Thankfully, when I went back to see him today,
he gave me a "get out of jail card." No more face-down positioning needed! But I was fully prepared
for that possibility, and I was not caught by surprise. The face-down stuff wasn't too bad, actually. I am immensely grateful that I was not suffering any nasal congestion like so many are around me. That would have made the experience awful.
Today the nurse did the visual acuity exam, and he said that, four days post-surgery, I am almost back to where I was before the surgery --- he called it the "break-even point."
My surgeon then examined my eye, and said it was remarkable where I already was. He is very positive that I will continue to see more improvement over the next few weeks.
So in some ways the surgery was a pain, but I am feeling really good just now!
Two things you need to know if you are contemplating this surgery:
1. Do not assume that your anesthesia experience will be like all the rest of the cases you've read about. Just because you had numbing drops and light sedation for cataract surgery, doesn't mean
the same for your ERM peel. My doctor ordered a chest X-Ray, blood work, and an EKG for pre-op,
and I really should have asked him more. When I got to the hospital, I learned that I would be going
under full anesthesia. It was no big deal to me, but you still need to know this! I had my surgery
at a very big hospital, because that's where my surgeon does his operating.
2. One of the worst things (very small statistical chance) that could happen during or after this surgery
is a retinal detachment, which would require quite a bit of face-down positioning after surgery. But just
be aware that you could also have a situation like mine, where the doctor puts in a short-lived gas bubble that will require face-down for 2-3 days. Yes, there is something in between just walking away from the surgery, and having a retina detach. That was my experience!
Well, congratulations on having this behind you! I hope your outcome exceeds your expectations. Keep us posted on your progress.
I'm a little surprised by your surgeon's use of general anesthesia. I've had two ERM peels, and both were done without any sedation. Both were completely painless. But it's really just the outcome that counts.
For 24 hours and right up to the hour of surgery, I had a headache, which might have been due to a change in the weather. When I woke up from the anesthesia, my headache was cured! Going under seemed to have its compensations. :-)
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