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Sclerotherapy treatment of orbital lymphatic malformations: a large single-centre experience
  1. Alex M Barnacle1,
  2. Maria Theodorou2,
  3. Sarah J Maling2,
  4. Yassir Abou-Rayyah2
  1. 1Department of Radiology, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, London, UK
  2. 2Department of Ophthalmology, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Alex M Barnacle, Department of Radiology, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, London WC1N 3JH, UK; Alex.Barnacle{at}


Background Percutaneous sclerotherapy is an alternative to surgery for the treatment of orbital lymphatic malformations (LMs). We present a large series of patients undergoing sclerotherapy for macrocystic LMs with detailed visual acuity (VA) outcome data.

Methods Data were collected prospectively in all patients with macrocystic orbital LMs undergoing sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy was performed under general anaesthesia, instilling sodium tetradecyl sulfate under imaging control. Procedures were repeated at 2-week to 6-week intervals, depending on clinical response. Patients underwent ophthalmological assessment, ultrasound and/or MRI before and after treatment. Primary outcome measure: change in maximal radiological diameter of the LM. Secondary outcome measure: change in VA after treatment.

Results 29 patients underwent 71 procedures (1–8 procedures per patient) over 6.7 years. Mean age=7.31 years. 11 patients (37.9%) had undergone previous treatment, including excision biopsy, drainage and decompression. All patients presented with proptosis and/or pseudoptosis. 23 patients (79.3%) had decreased VA at presentation. Average follow-up was 21.8 months (range 3–75 months). All patients achieved a reduction in maximal lesion diameter of ≥50%, with complete radiological resolution in 51.7% (n=15). VA improved in 18/23 patients (78.2%). Average logMAR before treatment=0.43 (SD ±0.47); average after treatment=0.25 (SD ±0.32); p<0.01. There was one complication (1.4%): one patient required a lateral canthotomy for an intralesional haematoma 2 h after sclerotherapy.

Conclusions Sclerotherapy is a safe and highly effective treatment for orbital LMs with excellent VA outcomes. It should be considered as the first-line treatment for this condition.

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