Orbital tumors can not only affect the eyes but also the surrounding ocular structures like the optic nerves, blood vessels, muscles in the eye orbit area etc. It is not necessary that orbital tumors can emerge from within the orbit only. They can originate in other body parts nearby the orbit and can metastasize and eventually become tumors of the orbit. Tumors that are formed within the brain cavity or the sinus cavity and which eventually penetrate in to the eye orbit are also known as orbital tumors. Some of the most common types of orbital tumors can be Lymphangiomas, Hemangiomas, Sarcomas, Dermoids, Metastatic lesions etc. Timely detection can mean complete cure of the orbital tumors. They can affect both adults and children. The procedure which is used to remove tumors from the eye orbit area is known as orbitotomy. The structure and anatomy of the eye is complex as well as delicate therefore it requires extreme precision and skill to do an orbitotomy. A small procedural lapse can be catastrophic and could lead the patient to lose his vision.

Delay in detection and treatment and in certain cases of extremely malignant tumors, the doctor may have to remove the affected eye to preserve the other eye and other body parts of the patient. The process by which an eye is removed is known as enucleation. The eye socket from which the eye is removed is fitted with a prosthetic eye which was traditionally known as the glass eye. But unlike the old glass eyes, the new age prosthetics look almost completely natural and when they are placed in the socket they are attached to the nerves and the muscles which help the prosthetic move in conjunction with the natural eye. This makes the patient look normal even after the enucleation. Restoration of the aesthetics of the orbital area requires the expertise of an oculoplastic surgeon in addition to an ophthalmic surgeon. Therefore, an orbital tumor surgery requires a team of expert surgeons and doctors.

How are orbital tumors removed?

Removing an orbital tumor can be a quite complex procedure in terms of the nature of the delicate optical anatomy that is involved. The blood vessels and other optical components that are situated in the eye extend to the brain area also. Therefore, when performing an orbital tumor surgery neurosurgeons are also generally present. The presence of two specialties is mandatory to ensure that not only the tumor is completely removed but all the other parts of the surrounding areas are also preserved. Several surgical approaches are possible when an orbital tumor is being removed; however, which approach or combination of approaches is used completely depends upon where the tumor is located. Today, mostly endoscopic methods are used for tumor removal so that the damage to other neurovascular components is minimized. The surgery can be complicated and time consuming. Once the surgery is done, the eye orbital area and the surrounding areas may need to be reconstructed. To restore the normal looks of the skin of the patient grafting may also be done following the reconstruction of the eye orbital area with the skin from the patient or by using other man- made materials like hydroxyapatite cement.

Symptoms of orbital tumors:-

If a person experiences any abnormality in the vision like blurry vision or double vision or any physical change in the eyes like protrusion or sunken in eyes, immediately he should consult an ophthalmologist. Also, if there is inexplicable and persistent fatigue in the eyes a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible. It is very important to remember that 9 out of 10 orbital tumors are completely curable if they are detected in time. Any abnormality should be taken very seriously and no delay should be there in consultation. If not detected and treated in time, some types of orbital tumors may metastasize and affect other healthy body parts as well.

What are the post- operative precautions?

Eyes are considered to be very delicate medically. Therefore, even after the orbital tumor surgery has been performed successfully, patients are kept under great care and observation. As the procedure for orbital tumor removal is considered to be a major surgical procedure, the patient is placed under special care. The patients generally begin to feel slightly normal after a period of about two weeks. The pain and the numbness in the eye area may begin to subside after 5- 6 days. Initially, the patient may have severe difficulties in the vision; however, the vision becomes better once the healing begins. The total recovery period involves careful movement of the head and neck and the patient is advised to refrain from any activity that may cause strain on the eyes. If precautions which have been advised by the doctors are taken properly, the patient can recover quickly.


About Dr. Debraj Shome

Debraj Shome-2
Debraj Shome, MD, DO, DNB, FRCS (Glasgow), FICO (USA), MNAMS, MBA (Healthcare Management, Vanderbilt University, USA), is Consultant Facial Plastic Surgeon, Oculoplastic Surgeon & Cosmetic Surgeon at Nova Specialty Surgery, Mumbai, India..Read more

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