Current intraoperative devices to reduce visual loss after spine surgery

Neurosurg Focus 33 (2):E14, 2012

Postoperative visual loss (POVL) after spine surgery performed with the patient prone is a rare but devastating postoperative complication. The incidence and the mechanisms of visual loss after surgery are difficult to determine. The 4 recognized causes of POVL are ischemic optic neuropathy (approximately 89%), central retinal artery occlusion (approximately 11%), cortical infarction, and external ocular injury.

There are very limited guidelines or protocols on the perioperative practice for “prone-position” surgeries. However, new devices have been designed to prevent mechanical ocular compression during prone-position spine surgeries.

The authors used PubMed to perform a literature search for devices used in prone-position spine surgeries. A total of 7 devices was found; the authors explored these devices’ features, advantages, and disadvantages. The cause of POVL seems to be a multifactorial problem with unclear pathophysiological mechanisms. Therefore, ocular compression is a critical factor, and eliminating any obvious compression to the eye with these devices could possibly prevent this devastating perioperative complication.


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