Enucleation Alleviates Pain in Blind Eyes and Removes Eye Tumors


Image of enucleation patientEnucleation is a surgical procedure that removes the eye because of a tumor, blindness, or other trauma, while leaving the eye muscles and remaining orbital tissue intact. Dr. Dustin Heringer and Dr. William McLeish understand that this is a life-changing procedure, and will explain every aspect of the surgery in detail. 

The doctors are committed to educating patients about enucleation at our Scottsdale, AZ, practice, and will address all questions and concerns you might have. Drs. Heringer and McLeish emphasize that while patients will experience many differences after eye removal surgery, they will still have the ability to accomplish most daily tasks and enjoy a normal lifestyle. Many patients say that with the orbital implants and highly lifelike ocular prosthetics available today, others do not even realize they have had an enucleation procedure.

Why We Perform Enucleation Surgery

Drs. Heringer and McLeish may perform enucleation in the event that a patient has a tumor of the eye that would require an amount of radiation too great for the eye to bear. In such cases, the only option to remove the tumor involves removal of the eye.

If a patient has a blind eye that has shrunken or become unsightly, and the sensitivity of the eye prohibits wearing a scleral shell in front of it, the doctor can perform enucleation surgery and replace the blind eye with an artificial one that looks natural.

Patients may also elect to have enucleation if a blind eye becomes too painful to bear and fails to respond to drops or injections. 

The Procedure

Healthy patients can often have the procedure done on an outpatient basis, although the doctor may recommend an overnight hospital stay for observation and care. Patients will receive local or general anesthesia before the surgery begins. After the doctor removes the eye, he will insert an orbital implant. The implant restores volume and helps ocular muscles to continue functioning normally.

While patients will experience many differences after eye removal surgery, they will still have the ability to accomplish most daily tasks and enjoy a normal lifestyle.

Patients have two implant options available to them: solid or integrated. Many patients choose the solid implant, as it has a low risk of complications. These implants can slip over time, however, and cause the socket to appear sunken. The integrated implant, made of porous materials, fuses with the tissue of the orbit, becoming part of the body and preventing slippage.

About six to eight weeks after surgery, when the socket has completely healed, the doctor will place an ocular prosthesis over the implant. The prosthesis is custom-made to fit the socket and will match the color of the patient’s natural eye. After receiving their prosthesis, the majority of patients feel happy with their appearance, and many say that the prosthesis prevents others from realizing they have monocular vision.

Recovery Time: What to Expect

Some patients experience a headache after surgery that lasts for a day or two, and they may take acetaminophen every four hours to alleviate symptoms during the recovery period. Most discomfort associated with surgery abates within three to five days. Patients can expect to wear a pressure patch over the eye for about five days to minimize swelling. Most patients return to work or school within two to six weeks.

Schedule Your Consultation

If you have been diagnosed with an ocular tumor or have a blind eye that is causing you pain, contact our office today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Heringer or Dr. McLeish. Enucleation is a life-changing procedure, but our skilled practitioners will work with you every step of the way to ensure that you understand what to expect, experience as little discomfort as possible, and are able to quickly resume your regular lifestyle after surgery.

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Arizona Ocular and Facial Plastic Surgery

(480) 949-5990

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