HF 7512

Post-Operative Positioning After Vitrectomy Surgery

Why do I need post-operative (post-op) head positioning?

During your surgery, we may use a gas bubble or silicone oil to help close a macular hole or seal a retinal tear from a retinal detachment. You need to position your head so the bubble presses against the hole or tear so it can seal. The bubble floats toward the ceiling.

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Your surgeon will ask you to place your head so that the bubble rises toward the retina in the back of your eye. If a macular hole is in the center of the retina, your nose will be pointed directly at the floor. A retinal detachment repair may mean you will be lying on your side or tilting your head.

Post-Op Positioning Chairs

Using a post-op positioning chair will let you be more comfortable and help you keep your head placed in the correct way. These are very helpful if you need to have your face down. Before your surgery we will tell you what you need to order. This device is available to rent. Some patients found using travel pillows helpful, you can search “vitrectomy pillow” online.

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Common Questions: 

How long do I have to sit in this position? After macular hole surgery, it is common to have to position face down for 1 week. Your surgeon will go over the needed time with you.

Can I take breaks during the day? You should stay in this position for 50 minutes of every hour. You should take 10-minute breaks to stretch your neck muscles, use the bathroom, shower, and eat.

Are there other ways to position? Some patients find it more comfortable to sit in a chair and lay their head on a pillow on a desk or table. You can also sit in a chair with your nose pointed at the floor without a positioning device. This may be more of a strain on your neck. Walking around the house with your nose pointed at the floor is okay for short walks.

How do I put my drops in? You will have to look up at the ceiling to put the drops in. This short break will not cause any damage.

Do I hurt my eye by not positioning? No, this will not hurt your eye, but your surgical repair may not work as well.

May I read or use my computer? You may read a book or use your computer placed below you.

Can I watch TV? You can watch TV with a mirror below you that is pointed towards the TV. This is safe and will help pass the time. The rented device has a mirror for watching TV.

How about sleeping? The device has a donut pillow that can be used in bed. This can be hard and not as comfortable to use. Lying on your side and turning your nose towards the mattress is a good position. Your doctor can show you how this is done.