Orbital decompression surgery is performed in patients with Graves' orbitopathy to treat dysthyroid optical neuropathy (DON) and reduce disfiguring proptosis. The intended proptosis reduction can deviate from the postoperative result and changes of motility with consecutive diplopia can occur. We performed a retrospective study to identify anatomical factors in computed tomography (CT), which influence the surgical effect and postoperative ocular motility and diplopia.
Pre- and postoperative CT-scans of 125 eyes of 68 patients, who mainly underwent a balanced orbital decompression for disfiguring proptosis (≥18mm Hertel Index), have been analyzed. Proptosis, ductions, misalignment and diplopia were assessed before and after surgery. Medial and lateral orbital wall length, conus angle, depth of ethmoidal sinus, orbital surface, length of medial and orbital defect, depth of tissue prolapse and horizontal muscle diameters were analyzed in CT scans before and after surgery. With linear regression and multivariate analyses these parameters have been correlated with postoperative proptosis, abduction deficit, deviation and binocular single vision (BSV).
Proptosis could be reduced by 5.3±2mm. Patients with <5mm proptosis reduction had significantly less often new onset of diplopia compared to patients with >5mm reduction (13% vs. 56%, p = 0.02). Multiple linear regression showed a significant correlation between tissue prolapse and depth of the ethmoidal sinus as well as age (p<0.001, r = 0.71). Proptosis reduction could not be predicted by tissue prolapse, defect length or depth of ethmoidal sinus. The abduction deficit correlated significantly with tissue prolapse and orbital surface area (p<0.001, r = 0.37) but not with the horizontal muscle diameter.
We were able to show that orbital morphology influences the outcome of balanced orbital decompression surgery in terms of proptosis reduction and motility. However, the rather low coefficients of correlation show that the surgical outcome cannot be predicted with simple CT measurements, although risk factors for postoperative abduction deficit could be found. Therefore, preoperative planning should consider especially the orbital surface area and depth of ethmoidal sinus. Patients should be informed about the higher risk of diplopia with higher proptosis reduction.