Another type of surgery that can be done for some retinal detachments is called pneumatic retinopexy. Pneumatic retinopexy is performed on an outpatient basis using local anesthesia.
Cryotherapy or laser treatment is performed to seal the retinal tear. Instead of placing a scleral buckle on the outside of the eye using a needle, the surgeon injects a gas bubble inside the vitreous cavity of the eye. The patient is instructed to keep his or her head in a specific position so that the gas bubble pushes the detached retina against the back wall of the eye to seal the retinal tear. The patient is asked to remain in this position for a period of time until the retinal tear is sealed against the back wall of the eye. Your surgeon will tell you how long special positioning is necessary.
The gas bubble in the vitreous cavity of the eye expands for several days and takes two to six weeks to disappear. During the time, airplane travel or travel to a high altitude must be avoided because high altitudes can result in an expansion of gas and an increase in pressure that can damage the eye. Your surgeon will tell you when it is safe to travel.