Post count: 93172

    I had taken a break from the board so wasn’t around the last time you were posting, but welcome back!

    Do you know what procedure your surgeon plans to do for your decompression? There are many methods, depending on what your surgeon is most practiced at, how severe your proptosis is, and what he thinks will be in your best interests. Sometimes they focus on the lateral wall of the orbits, and sometimes the medial wall, etc. Therefore, the point of entry surgically can be in one of several different places (such as above the eyes, under the upper lip, through the nose, etc.

    All those entry points sound painful, but my experiences tell that it’s much easier from the patient’s perspective than it sounds. Others I’ve talked to usually agree.

    I woke up from the surgery in only mild pain, and immediately felt a relief of the pressure in my eyes! I had to keep ice on the eye area at frequent intervals faithfully the first 24 hours to reduce bleeding and swelling, but after that I was discharged, and felt well enough to go out to lunch the next day before my post-op checkup.

    There was considerable bruising to be out in public, so I kept sunglasses on. The bruising subsided after about 1-2 weeks and I felt quite well during that time. I had numbness in my facial skin for about six months (in places), and that’s quite common I understand. The location varies according to where the incision was.

    If you haven’t already discussed these things, ask your doctor where the entry point will be, which walls of the orbit will be shaved away, whether both bone and fat will be removed, what percentage of patients have new post-operative double vision, and how many millimeters of reduction of proptosis he expects to achieve out of your decompression.

    I haven’t heard of this surgery being done with an ENT surgeon’s assistance. No doubt these specialists are familiar with the same parts of the anatomy, so that part is fine. As long as your surgeon is fully qualified and has a vast amount of experience doing decompressions, there’s no need for concern about that. If you have any doubts about his experience, I’d suggest you use caution. This surgery is too important to let anyone practice on you, as errors can leave you with double vision or blindness. This procedure is one time to get the very best surgeon available, even if a person has to go to a large medical center.

    This is my own opinion and of course I know nothing about your doctor; he may be a top surgeon at a big teaching hospital and only letting the ENT surgeon get the expeience of being part of your surgery. My concern was if he actually *needed* his help. That speaks to me of lack of experience. Again, I could be wrong about that too, because if he’d done 1,000 decompressions and let an ENT do part of the procedure every time, he could be wonderful.

    So do post everything you can about your particular surgery, what you know now and what you can find out later on. I know my decompression was the surgery that made me the happiest, as it was the one that both made them most comfortable AND did the most for making my eyes look like they did before Graves’, not that they ever totally will. I hope yours is as pleasing to you as mine was to me.

    Dianne W
    NGDF Facilitator