The Oculoplastics Centre | Adult and Paediatric Lid, Lacrimal and Orbit Surgery Sydney

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Orbit Tumours

The orbit (eye socket) is a shaped like an ice cream cone, with eyeball at the front and the orbit walls being made of bone. The orbit has a small volume of about 30ml, of which 7ml is the eyeball. Other important structures that are situated in the orbit include the muscles controlling eye movement, the optic nerve, fat to cushion the eye and large arteries and veins.

The orbit itself is also surrounded by important structures such as the brain and sinuses behind the nose. Occasionally Dr Wilcsek will organise to operate as a combined procedure with either a neurosurgical or ENT colleague.

Many tumours that occur in the orbit are benign (don’t break off and spread to other parts of the body), however they may grow and press on vital structures such as the optic nerve and eye and slowly cause loss of vision.

Who is suitable for Orbit Tumor surgery?

There are benign growths of the orbit that often have characteristic appearances on imaging (CT or MRI scans), if the orbital tumour is thought to be benign, is not growing on serial scans and not causing any symptoms or visual disturbance then it may be reasonable just to monitor the mass and not operate. This is especially a prudent option when the mass is in a technically difficult spot to reach surgically.

What does the treatment involve?

The type of surgery required depends on position of the tumour within the orbit and in relation to the optic nerve and eyeball.

If the tumour is behind the eye in order to remove it without stretching the optic nerve which is attached to the back of the eyeball, part of the bone of the orbit rim is removed to gain access to the tumour. Usually Dr Wilcsek is able to place the skin incision in the crease of the upper eyelid and so scars left are minimal. At the end of the procedure the bone is secured back in place.

Structures neighbouring the orbit include the brain and sinuses, and so occasionally Dr Wilcsek will organise to operate as a combined procedure with either a neurosurgical or ENT colleague.

How will I look immediately after surgery?

This will depend on the surgery required. Occasionally a small drain from the wound is required necessitating 1-3 days in hospital until the drain can be removed.

Swelling and bruising can last 1-2 weeks.

What is the recovery time?

Most patients will take 1 week off work. Physical activity in the first week should be minimal and then building up to a normal level over the following two weeks.

What are the risks?

Orbit surgery carries risk of loss of vision, double vision or change in the eyelid position. The relative risk will depend on the position of the tumour within the orbit.

Most cases are performed under general anaesthesia which carry separate risks.

All risks will be fully discussed at your consultation.

Is there anyone who shouldn't have this surgery?

Given that the procedure can be performed either under a general or local anaesthetic with sedation, if indicated there is no one that cannot have this surgery.