PURPOSE: To describe the safety and efficacy of rhegmatogenous retinal detachment (RRD) repair with external drainage of subretinal fluid using a 28-gauge External Drainage and Depression device (Vortex Surgical, Chesterfield, MO). METHODS: Retrospective review of patients who underwent primary rhegmatogenous retinal detachment repair with scleral buckle, pars plana vitrectomy, or scleral buckle/pars plana vitrectomy using the drainage device from August 2018 through March 2020, performed by four surgeons at two vitreoretinal practices. RESULTS: Eighty-three eyes of 83 patients were included. At presentation, 28% had proliferative vitreoretinopathy. Surgery included 65% scleral buckle/pars plana vitrectomy, 33% pars plana vitrectomy, and 2% scleral buckle. There were no cases of retinal incarceration and two subretinal hemorrhages at the drainage site (both < 2 DD), 2 cases of recurrent RD with proliferative vitreoretinopathy (1 had proliferative vitreoretinopathy at presentation), and 6 (10%) new epiretinal membranes (3 were mild). There were no other complications. Mean follow-up was 274 days. Single operation success rate for those with ≥ 6-month follow-up was 97% (57/59). CONCLUSION: External drainage of subretinal fluid during rhegmatogenous retinal detachment repair demonstrated a favorable safety profile with a high single operation success rate. Further study of the role of external drainage in rhegmatogenous retinal detachment repair is warranted.
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