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Endonasal microscopic decompression of the optic nerve in traumatic optic neuropathy and neoplastic optic nerve compression



Endonasal microscopic decompression of the optic nerve in traumatic optic neuropathy and neoplastic optic nerve compression



Ophthalmologe 93(2): 194-198



The therapy of traumatic optic neuropathy remains controversial. Some authors recommend observation and others, the use of mecadose corticosteroids or surgical decompression of the optic nerve. Improvements in visual acuity from no light perception (NLP) preoperatively to close to normal visual acuities have been reported after transethmoidal decompression and systemic steroids. The transnasal microscopic approach offers safe and effective access to the optic canal. Materials and methods: Retrospectively 15 patients (13 men/2 women) ranging in age from 17 to 67 years, who were surgically decompressed in the Ear-Nose-Throat Department between 1989 and 1994, were analyzed. Thirteen patients had experienced sudden visual loss after trauma; in 2 patients a tumor was diagnosed. After an initial ophthalmologic examination and CT scans, the patients underwent transnasal decompression of the optic canal for at least 180'. In the postoperative period, visual acuity, pupillary reaction, visual field and optic nerve morphology were monitored. Results: The overall visual results were poor. In 8 patients with no light perception (NLP) preoperatively, no improvement in visual acuity was found. Minor improvements were seen with an initial vision of 20/200 or less. Dramatic improvements were found in both patients with rapidly progressive neoplastic optic nerve compression. No intra- or postoperative complications were seen. Conclusion: In our study we were unable to reproduce the good visual results of some series. If there is NLP preoperatively, surgical intervention does not seem to be promising. However, in patients with incurable tumors transnasal decompression of the optic canal offers a minimally invasive palliative measure to preserve and restore vision.

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