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Vitrectomy

Pars Plana Vitrectomy, or vitrectomy is a surgical procedure in which the vitreous gel is removed from the eye.  This is done as part of a larger procedure for several purposes including: retinal detachment repair, removal of epiretinal membranes, clearing vitreous hemorrhage, repair of macular holes, removal of subluxed lens or lens material after cataract surgery, removal of foreign body, removal of floater, etc. After a vitrectomy, your surgeon may replace the vitreous with salt water, gas, or silicon oil.  You do not need the vitreous, and your body will naturally make salt water to replace the water, or gas your surgeon puts in. If gas is used, it will slowly (over 2 weeks, or 2 months depending on which gas is used) dissolve into your blood.  If silicon oil is used it will stay in the eye until it is removed surgically. When gas or oil is used, patients usually need to maintain a strict head position after surgery.  When saline is used positioning is usually not needed. 

What is the Vitreous?

The vitreous is a gel that fills the space between your lens and your retina. It is composed of 99% water and 1% protein.  It helps the eye form before you are born. You do not need your vitreous.  If it is removed by vitrectomy surgery, your body will make a salt water solution (aqueous) that replaces it.