Understanding Pterygium Surgery: Advanced Techniques and Benefits

What is Pterygium Surgery?

Pterygium surgery involves removing abnormal tissue from the sclera and cornea of the eye. Modern techniques have significantly improved success rates compared to older methods.

Traditional “Bare Sclera” Surgery

In the traditional method, the pterygium is removed, exposing the white of the eye. Healing takes two to four weeks and can be uncomfortable. Unfortunately, this method has a high recurrence rate, with up to 50% of patients experiencing regrowth, often larger than the original.

Reducing Recurrence: New Techniques

Newer methods have been developed to reduce the chances of regrowth. These include radiation treatment and antimetabolite chemicals, though they have risks like persistent eye surface defects.

Conjunctival Autograft with Stitches

A more advanced technique involves using a conjunctival autograft. Here, the pterygium is removed, and the gap is filled with tissue taken from underneath the upper eyelid. This “auto-graft” method helps prevent regrowth but involves stitches, which can cause discomfort for a few weeks.

No-Stitch Pterygium/Autograft Surgery

To avoid the discomfort of stitches, no-stitch surgery has been developed. This technique allows most patients to return to work within a day or two. Research shows significantly less pain and shorter surgery time with the no-stitch method compared to traditional surgery. Importantly, no recurrences were observed in the study.

The No-Stitch Technique

Patients are lightly sedated for comfort during no-stitch surgery, and the eye is numbed, so there’s no discomfort. The abnormal tissue is replaced with a thin graft of normal tissue. Over two to three weeks, the eye returns to its normal appearance.

This technique uses a modern tissue adhesive made from clotting proteins found in human blood. This adhesive secures the graft quickly and dissolves after about a week, allowing the eye to heal comfortably. There have been no reported cases of infection from this adhesive.

Schedule Your Pterygium Surgery Consultation

If you’re considering pterygium surgery, our expert providers at Peninsula Laser Eye Medical Group are here to help. With years of experience and the latest techniques, we ensure your comfort and successful recovery. Give us a call at (650) 961-2585 or schedule your appointment online today.

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