Orbital Decompression Surgery
Customized Orbital Decompression
As a world-renowned expert in Thyroid Eye Disease (TED) treatment, Dr. Raymond Douglas believes that every patient deserves an orbital decompression that is tailored to their specific needs. Dr. Douglas believes an aesthetic customized approach to TED is essential because not only will it correct the functional issues associated with the disease, but it also allows the patient to look and feel their best.
Many patients often feel guilty thinking about undergoing the surgery, but no one would ever think twice about fixing a facial fracture after a car accident. In this same vein, at the International Orbital Institute we want patients with Graves’ eye disease or TED to know they should not feel guilty about wanting to restore their appearance to their pre-disease look. We all deserve to feel confident with our appearance!
What Our Patients Are Saying:
“Dr. Douglas is one of the most knowledgeable, caring, and attentive surgeons I have ever met. he really takes the time to give his patients all the attention they need. His expertise in prominent eyes, thyroid eye disease, and orbital issues is unmatched. His office staff is very kind and professional. I would recommend him to my friends and family.” -Jean K.
Orbital Decompression Surgery FAQs
Who is a Candidate for Orbital Decompression Surgery?
If you have thyroid eye disease (TED), the eye muscles and fatty tissues behind the eye become inflamed, increased in size and scarred. This can cause the eyes to push forward and create a bulging or staring appearance. About 25 percent of people with Graves’ disease will develop TED. This can happen even after initial diagnosis of Graves’ disease, especially in heavy smokers.
We adopt a completely customized approach for orbital decompression and reconstruction which is often done in ONE surgery. The question of orbital decompression surgery is based upon a patient’s desires and severity of the disease. In many cases, the patient’s eyelids are not able to close completely due to their bulging eyes. This can cause eye dryness, increased tearing, and injury to the eye surface. There can also be a restriction in the movement of the eye, which can cause double vision. Increased pressure caused by the lack of space can increase the pressure in the eye, similar to what happens with glaucoma. Rarely there can be compression of the optic nerve and, if not relieved, can lead to a loss of vision. A customized approach orbital decompression surgery may be the best treatment to return the patient’s eyes to pre-disease appearance and function, or possibly to even improve it. Our goal is to do all aspects of surgery in one phase!
What Causes These Problems With The Orbital Socket?
Thyroid eye disease is an autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system actually attacks normal, healthy tissue, instead of invading foreign substances/growths. In Graves’ disease, the antibodies attack the thyroid gland and can also attack the eye tissues. Thyroid gland disorders can also lead to TED. There seems to be a genetic factor, as well. Certain lifestyle factors, predominantly stress and smoking, are known to contribute to the development of TED. The end result is that the body attacks the tissues at the back of the eye. This creates swelling, pushing the eye forward and creating a protrusion of one or both eyes.
How Does Orbital Decompression Surgery Help People With Thyroid Eye Disease?
The eyes are the focal point of the face. When a person is suffering from thyroid eye disease (TED), their eyes will bulge forward. This can create a staring, unnatural appearance. The forward pressure may or may not be enough to cause problems with eye movement or pressure within the eye, but the bulging eyes can make patients feel very self-conscious and make them avoid public situations. Orbital decompression creates additional space for the entire eye by removing some of the bony walls of the eye socket. This returns the eyes to their original, normal position and removes the forward pressure and corresponding bulging. It also usually relieves the pressure that can cause double vision and vision loss.
View Christina’s Journey
Some patients feel guilty about having Dr. Douglas perform orbital decompression surgery to alleviate their bulging eyes, but why should anyone go through their life continually worrying about what other people are thinking when they first see their bulging eyes? Everyone at the International Orbital Institute believes our patients with Grave’s eye disease or TED shouldn’t feel the least bit guilty about this procedure; they deserve to return to their pre-disease appearance and like the way they look!
What Does Orbital Decompression Surgery Entail?
While all TED patients usually have similar goals for their surgery, Dr. Douglas doesn’t employ a “set” method for these surgeries. Every patient’s surgery is based on his or her goals and unique circumstances. Still, there are some commonalities between these surgeries for all patients. Here’s a general overview of the procedure.
The first step is to have a conversation either in person or via video to discuss each patients needs and desires and for Dr. Douglas to evaluate the changes that thyroid eye disease has caused. Our goal is to do Single Stage surgery to minimize the number of surgeries and recovery!! Dr. Douglas can combine upper eyelid surgery, lower eyelid surgery. decompression and facial reshaping (buccal fat removal/liposuction). Almost no other physician and has perfected this approach. Most of our patients travel from around the country for the unique customized single stage approach.
The goal is to remove some of the bony walls of the eye socket and/ or remove fat from behind the eye. This creates additional room for the eye and it decreases pressure within the eye socket. Dr. Douglas performs the majority of these procedures without the need for incisions on the face.
What Are The Risks?
Orbital decompression surgery is very safe when done by an expert however risks always exist. There is an extremely rare risk of vision impairment and double vision. Dr Douglas has pioneered techniques to reduce risks so that his rate of double vision is less than 5% (national average 38%).