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Preparing for Orbital Surgery and What It Takes

If you have bulging or prominent eyes, medically called “exophthalmos,” you may be seeing a symptom of an underlying condition that puts pressure on your eye socket. If the levels of orbital pressure around your eye become too high, you could suffer lasting negative effects, including potential vision loss.

You might also experience persistent irritation in or around your eye, or be dissatisfied with the appearance of prominent eyes. To relieve pressure and prominence around your eye or eyes due to conditions like eye thyroid disease, surgical treatment can become necessary. 

Expert aesthetic and reconstructive oculoplastic surgeon Raymond Douglas, MD, PhD, treats new and existing patients with orbital surgery needs from his Beverly Hills, California, office. Here's what Dr. Douglas wants you to know as you consider or prepare for orbital decompression surgery.

How orbital surgery can help

Dr. Douglas’ main goal with orbital decompression surgery is to relieve pressure around your eye area. Once you have a little more room in your eye socket, your eyeball can rest more naturally and comfortably.

Depending on the severity of your condition, we may need to remove some amount of fatty tissue or bone from around your eye socket. We use general anesthesia during surgery, so you aren’t conscious and don’t feel any pain during the operation.

It takes about two weeks for recovery after orbital decompression surgery. Particularly in the first week after your procedure, you need to take it easy, avoiding bending over too much or blowing your nose. Once you've recovered, your symptoms of distorted eye appearance, discomfort, and vision issues should resolve.

How to prepare for orbital surgery

In order to achieve the best possible outcomes, in addition to reducing your recovery period, it's important that you prepare for your orbital surgery. Here's what you need to do to be ready for orbital decompression.

Before surgery, cut back on activities, supplements, and other substances that can thin your blood or otherwise affect your healing capabilities. You should stop smoking completely, or significantly cut back — for at least two weeks, if not longer — both before and after your surgery. Eliminate or reduce your alcohol consumption during the same period.

If you take any medications or supplements that can thin your blood or cause problems with anesthesia, like ginkgo biloba or St. John's Wort, take a break from those before surgery, too. Dr. Douglas can advise you on any questions you might have about supplements or medications that you currently take.

Also take time to prepare the supplies you need at home following surgery, including ensuring you have ice or cold compresses close to hand to help with postoperative pain and swelling. We may give you a prescription for antibiotics, pain medication, or corticosteroids to support you during your recovery.

To learn more about how Dr. Douglas can help you with customized orbital decompression treatment, contact our office today to schedule an appointment.

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