Pneumatic retinopexy was compared with scleral buckling in a multicenter (7 centers), randomized, controlled, clinical trial with 198 patients. Admission criteria included detachments with retinal break(s) no greater than 1 clock hour in size, within the superior two thirds of the fundus, without significant proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR). All patients were followed for at least 6 months. Scleral buckling was compared with pneumatic retinopexy with regard to single-operation reattachment (82 versus 73%), reattachment with one operation and postoperative laser/cryotherapy (84 versus 81 %), overall reattachment with reoperations (98 versus 99%), final visual acuity of 20/50 or better in eyes with preoperative detachment of the macula for 2 weeks or less (56 versus 80%), PVR (5 versus 3%), and new retinal breaks (13 versus 23%). Complications, including reoperations, as measured by the “score” system, were similar. The anatomic results of the two operations were not significantly different (P > 0.05), but pneumatic retinopexy had less morbidity and better postoperative visual acuity (P = 0.01). Pneumatic retinopexy is recommended for cases meeting the admission criteria.
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