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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Lateral canthotomy and cantholysis: emergency management of orbital compartment syndrome.

  • Author(s): Rowh, Adam D
  • Ufberg, Jacob W
  • Chan, Theodore C
  • Vilke, Gary M
  • Harrigan, Richard A
  • et al.

Orbital compartment syndrome is a sight-threatening emergency. Vision may be preserved when timely intervention is performed.To present a case of orbital compartment syndrome caused by traumatic retrobulbar hemorrhage and the procedure of lateral canthotomy and cantholysis, reviewed with photographic illustration.Lateral canthotomy and cantholysis are readily performed at the bedside with simple instruments. The procedure may prevent irreversible blindness in cases of acute orbital compartment syndrome.Emergency physicians should be familiar with lateral canthotomy and cantholysis in the management of orbital compartment syndrome to minimize the chance of irreversible visual loss.

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