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    Enhancing retinal surgery with 27-gauge instrumentation

    Advantages include less hypotony, reduced bleeding with fewer iatrogenic breaks


    The use of 27-gauge technology has several other advantages, including the ability to perform blunt dissection, access tight tissue planes, shave membranes, peel tissues, reduce traction on the retina, and aspirate with the vitrectomy probe.

    “New approaches like blunt dissection and membrane shaving are possible, and the benefits are really appreciated when cases are more difficult,” Dr. Berrocal said. “There are reduced iatrogenic breaks, more delicate maneuvers, reduced trauma to the retina, reduced ancillary instrumentation, and improved efficiency.”

    She has seen particular benefits with smaller instrumentation used in patients with diabetes complications.

    “In some cases that may seem inoperable like this severe diabetic detachment, it’s possible to successfully tackle these pathologies in a safer manner,” she said.

    Other advantages Dr. Berrocal has found with 27-gauge instrumentation include:

    • > the ability to peel tissue in a controlled fashion,
    • > aspiration that is not so forceful that it yanks tissue,
    • > the ability to shave membranes from vessels, and
    • > use of the vitrectomy probe to delicately aspirate, shave and excise tissue. 



    1. Guthoff R, Riederle H, Meinhardt B, Goebel W. Subclinical choroidal detachment at sclerotomy sites after 23-gauge vitrectomy: Analysis by anterior segment optical coherence tomography. Ophthalmologica. 2010;224:301-307.

    2. Khan MA, Shahlaee A, Toussaint B, et al. Outcomes of 27-gauge microincision vitrectomy surgery for posterior segment disease. Am J Ophthalmol. 2016;161:36-43.



    Maria H. Berrocal, MD

    E: [email protected]

    This article was adapted from Dr. Berrocal’s presentation at Retina Subspecialty Day during the 2016 meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. She did not indicate any financial interest in the subject matter.

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