To evaluate the advantages, disadvantages, safety, complications, and surgical applicability of an erbium:YAG laser system for maneuvers in vitreoretinal surgery.A prospective, consecutive trial of 68 eyes in 66 patients undergoing vitreoretinal surgery in which an erbium:YAG laser with graduated output from 0.2 to 5.0 mJ per pulse, repetition rate of 2 to 30 Hz, and equipped with a flexible fiber optic and interchangeable 20-gauge intraocular fiber optic endoprobes was used to perform specific maneuvers, including transection, incision, and ablation of membranes, retinotomy, vessel coagulation, iridectomy, and lens tissue ablation. The patients were treated in five centers in contemporary vitreoretinal surgical settings for surgical indications, including proliferative diabetic retinopathy, proliferative vitreoretinopathy, epiretinal membrane, and retinopathy of prematurity.One hundred seventy-four maneuvers were performed with an overall surgical efficacy rating of excellent or good in 84% of maneuvers, ranging from a high of 100% for subretinal membrane transection to a low of 25% for coagulation of blood vessels. Complications included retinal break or photocoagulative injury in 5% of epiretinal membrane incisions, minor bleeding from transected retinal vessels during 29% of retinotomies, and intraocular lens damage during two posterior capsulotomies. The most significant limitation was the cautious pace used during maneuvers near the retinal surface.The erbium:YAG laser is capable of versatile new approaches offering precise tissue cutting and ablation in vitreoretinal surgical maneuvers with a high degree of safety. The main limitation encountered was the slow speed of certain critical maneuvers near the retina.
View details for Web of Science ID A1996VN52800021
View details for PubMedID 8874429