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External DCR

What does the treatment involve?

Surgery is under a local anaesthetic with sedation to make it a comfortable experience. The procedure takes about 45 minutes. A fine silicone stent is placed in the tear duct and is removed in the rooms 2-4 weeks postoperatively. Very fine dissolving stitches are placed in the skin incision and will be removed if they are still present at the postoperative visit.

How will I look immediately after surgery?

Mild to moderate bruising associated with the skin incision on the side of the nose is not uncommon, however will settle within 1-2 weeks.

What is the recovery time?

Cold packs for 2 days to improve postoperative swelling is advised as well as taking it easy for the first week (no bending, straining or lifting more than 5kg), over the next week activity is increased to a normal level at week three.

What are the risks?

Any operation carries risk and this will be discussed at your consultation with your specialist.

How long do the results of the surgery last?

The success rate for endoscopic and external DCR is approximately 95%, however tear drainage is a very complex physiological process and tearing may be the result of a number of separate issues. Therefore, careful patient selection is essential.

Patients have follow-up for three months to ensure that the new tear pathway matures well. After this period, it is very unlikely for the tearing to recur.

Is there anyone who shouldn't have this surgery?

Many patients are on blood thinners such as aspirin. As the nose has a very rich blood supply, blood thinners are best stopped 7-10 days preoperatively. Depending on your general health this is sometimes not possible and your specialist would then seek advice from your family physician or cardiologist. Surgery whilst on some of the blood thinners is still possible although carries a greater risk of complications.

Specialists covering this condition:

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