Canthal cutdown for emergent treatment of orbital compartment syndrome

This article evaluates the use of a “canthal cutdown” technique in orbital compartment syndrome in a cadaveric model. Twelve cadaver orbits were used to simulate orbital compartment syndrome using a blood analog solution. Two pressure probes, in different orbital locations, were used to monitor orbital pressure. Pressure was monitored during successive procedures: canthotomy, cantholysis, and canthal cutdown. Orbits were then re-injected with solution, simulating an active orbital hemorrhage, and pressure measurements were recorded over a 10-minute duration. No statistically significant difference was found between the two orbital pressure monitoring devices at each measurement point (p = 0.99). Significant pressure reductions, for both probes, were observed after canthal cutdown compared to initial measurement after injection of 20 mL blood analog (p < 0.001 and p = 0.005). When comparing the orbital pressure following canthotomy and inferior cantholysis versus canthal cutdown, the cutdown procedure provided an additional 74% in orbital pressure reduction (p =0.01). After re-injection of 10 mL of solution and 10 minutes of egress, pressure returned to baseline (probe 1: baseline 7 mm Hg vs. post-cutdown at 10 minutes 7 mm Hg; p = 0.83; and probe 2: 5 mm Hg vs. 5 mm Hg; p = 0.83). The canthal cutdown technique provides further reduction in orbital pressure versus canthotomy and cantholysis alone. The technique may be effective for treatment of static orbital compartment syndrome and temporizing treatment of compartment syndrome from active orbital hemorrhages.