Purpose: To quantitate the frequency and features of retinal breaks discovered at the time of vitrectomy and to evaluate the outcomes with prophylactic treatment. Design: A consecutive, single-surgeon, retrospective, observational case series from a two-year period. Methods: Medical records were reviewed for all patients who underwent primary, standard, three-port pars plana vitrectomy (PPV) between January 1, 2000, and December 31, 2001. Intraoperative findings recorded included the number, location, and categorization of retinal breaks and their method of management. Postoperative features recorded included the presence or absence of a retinal detachment (RD). Results: There were 65 retinal breaks found in 48 (11.6%) of 415 eyes and included 30 (7.2%) eyes with definite breaks, nine (2.2%) with suspicious breaks, and nine (2.2%) with probably preexisting breaks. Breaks that were described as being large (n = 5) were more commonly associated with the right-hand sclerotomy (P = .041), although other categories of breaks were not. After surgery, the overall incidence of RD was 2.2% (nine of 415 eyes). The rate of RD among the 48 eyes with retinal breaks (of any category) was also 2.1% (one eye). All RDs in this series occurred more than three months after initial vitrectomy and, accordingly, were probably unrelated to retinal breaks that occurred during surgery. Conclusions: Recognition of retinal breaks and intraoperative treatment with retinopexy and air-fluid exchange during vitrectomy reduces the postoperative risk of RD to that among eyes without observed intraoperative retinal breaks.
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