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Achieving a Smooth Recovery After Enucleation Surgery


Woman with eye patch and Dr. William McLeish can guide you through what to expect during recovery after enucleation surgery at our Scottsdale, AZ, clinic. After this surgery, a patient has to schedule regular checkups as well as undergo yearly ophthalmic oncology examinations. Complete eye removal is generally necessary when there is a tumor or severe eye trauma. At Arizona Ocular and Facial Cosmetic Surgery, we understand the huge emotional and psychological toll this procedure can have on a patient. Losing an eye and then learning to live with a prosthetic eye can be a daunting experience, but the process can be made smoother under the hands of our experienced and compassionate surgeons.

woman with eye bandage
Patients can receive a permanent ocular prosthetic after about six to eight weeks.

What to Expect During Recovery

At the time of your surgery, Dr. Heringer or Dr. McLeish will place either a solid or an integrated orbital implant in the eye socket and apply a pressure patch to reduce swelling. Patients should wear this patch for about five days to manage any inflammation.

Immediately upon waking after surgery, most patients do not feel or see anything, but may experience a headache for the next two to three days. This can typically be managed with prescription painkillers as directed by the doctor. Patients that also experience nausea will be given appropriate medicines to manage their discomfort. Because of the type of surgery and the anesthesia involved, you will need to have someone available to drive you home after the procedure.

Your eye prosthesis will be custom-made to fit seamlessly within your socket and to match your natural eye color.​

At a follow-up appointment, Dr. Heringer or Dr. McLeish will remove the pressure patch and insert a temporary prosthesis within the socket. After the patch is removed, it is completely normal to experience a small amount of tears containing blood. Once the temporary prosthesis is in place, you can keep the outside of the eyelid area clean by gently washing the outer eyelid with a warm, clean, and soapy cloth. This will prevent dirt or other matter from forming a crust on the eyelid, as well as keep infection and other complications from occurring.

To ensure you achieve a smooth recovery, follow your post-surgical instructions carefully. Be sure to avoid:

  • Rubbing the eyelid
  • Straining the eyelid
  • Lifting heavy loads
  • Shower water coming in contact with the wound for two weeks

To hasten the healing of the wound, Dr. Heringer or Dr. McLeish will advise you to take antibiotics and other medications every day for about a month. If proper care is followed and complications do not occur, most patients can expect to return to work two to six weeks after surgery.

About six to eight weeks after surgery, once the socket has completely healed, the temporary prosthesis will be removed and the orbital implant will be restored with a permanent ocular prosthesis. Your eye prosthesis will be custom made to fit seamlessly within your socket and to match your natural eye color. 


Possible Risks and Complications

The potential risks after an enucleation surgery include hemorrhaging, orbital infection, and extrusion of the implant. However, these risks are minimized when the surgeon is as experienced and qualified as Dr. Heringer and Dr. McLeish at Arizona Ocular and Facial Plastic Surgery.

If side effects do occur, they can be managed with prescription medications and surgical implant replacement. In very rare cases, the tumor can grow back behind the prosthesis. Because of this, patients need to undergo eye oncology exams one week post surgery, one month post surgery, and then every six months to monitor their eye health.

Schedule Your Consultation

Our skilled and caring practitioners can help you have a smooth and successful enucleation recovery. To learn more, contact our Scottsdale, AZ, practice today to schedule your consultation.

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It's hard to find a great ocular plastic surgeon; Dr Heringer is one of them.

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3501 N Scottsdale Rd
Ste 326
Scottsdale, AZ 85251

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16150 N Arrowhead Fountain Center Dr
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Peoria, AZ 85382

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Phoenix, AZ 85054

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