To evaluate long-term outcomes of maintenance of lacrimal silicone stent for the management of functional epiphora after anatomically patent external dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR).
We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 101 eyes of 75 patients who were diagnosed to have functional epiphora after external DCR from 2005 to 2014. Functional epiphora was defined as epiphora that persisted or recurred even after patent DCR confirmed by a lacrimal irrigation test. Secondary silicone intubation was indicated when the patients wanted a further intervention. The stent was intended to be kept in situ unless there was a stent-related complication or the patient wanted removal.
In total, 34 of 75 patients (45.3%, 52 eyes) who agreed to the intervention underwent secondary silicone intubation. The success rates at 1, 3, and 5 years after surgery were 96.2%, 75.5%, and 70.2%, respectively. At the final follow-up (mean 72.7 ± 26.4 months), 32 (61.5%) eyes chose to retain the silicone tube: silicone stent was well maintained without epiphora and complications once inserted in 18 eyes (34.6%), whereas tube replacement was needed in 14 eyes (26.9%) because of nasal crust or whitish plaque formation on the tube surface. In 13 cases (25.0%), silicone stent was removed because of tube-related complications, and the most common complication was canaliculitis (n = 8, 15.4%).
Secondary intubation and maintenance of the stent is an effective and simple procedure for functional epiphora. The main obstacle to long-term maintenance is tube-associated canaliculitis.