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Problems with the hydroxyapatite orbital implant: experience with 250 consecutive cases.
  1. C L Shields,
  2. J A Shields,
  3. P De Potter and
  4. A D Singh
  1. Oncology Service, Wills Eye Hospital, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107.


    The coral derived hydroxyapatite sphere is a popular, integrated orbital implant designed to provide improved motility of the ocular prosthesis following enucleation. Although the implant has rapidly become widely used by ophthalmologists, little information is available regarding the problems of this technique in a large series of cases. Experience with 250 consecutive cases of hydroxyapatite orbital implant use was reviewed and the problems of the implants and their management investigated specifically. The reasons for enucleation included uveal melanoma (157 cases), retinoblastoma (70 cases), blind painful eye (22 cases), and intraocular medulloepithelioma (one case). Earlier treatment to the eye was performed before enucleation in 47 cases and included repair of ruptured globe (17 cases), plaque radiotherapy (18 cases), external beam radiotherapy (six cases), and others (six cases). During a mean of 23 months' follow up (range 6-40 months), there have been no recognisable cases of orbital haemorrhage related to the implant, and no cases of implant extrusion or implant migration. There was one case of presumed orbital infection (culture negative) that resolved with intravenous antibiotics and the implant was retained within the orbit. Other problems included conjunctival thinning in eight cases managed by observation and prosthesis adjustment, and conjunctival erosion in four cases managed by combinations of scleral patch graft, conjunctival flap, and prosthesis adjustment. The conjunctival erosion was caused by a poorly fitting prosthesis in three cases and wound dehiscence in one case. The problem rate in eyes receiving prior radiotherapy or surgery was not increased. The hydroxyapatite integrated orbital implant is a well tolerated motility implant without the high rate of extrusion and infection seen with other motility implants. The prosthesis fit may contribute to the tolerance of the implant.

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