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Blocked Tear Ducts: Dacryocystorhinostomy

Topic Overview

Dacryocystorhinostomy is a type of surgery sometimes used to treat blocked tear ducts in adults. It is rarely used in children.

This procedure creates a new passageway between the tear duct sac and the nasal cavity, bypassing the blocked tear duct. To do the procedure, the doctor needs to make a cut (incision) in the skin by the eye. A tube is inserted through the tear duct sac and into the nose through a hole in the bone. This tube is left in the nose and stitched in place.

Adults who have long-term tear duct blockage that is not caused by an infection often need to have dacryocystorhinostomy. If the person has a tear duct infection, surgery will be delayed until the infection has cleared.

Either local or general anesthesia can be used during this procedure.

Antibiotics applied to the eye or taken by mouth are used to prevent infection after surgery.

After about 3 days, you return to the doctor's office to check the placement of the tube and to have the stitches removed. The tube is left in place for at least 6 weeks.

The risks of dacryocystorhinostomy include:

  • Bleeding from the nose.
  • Infection or blockage of the tear ducts.
  • Tube displacement (the tube shifting out of place).

You will have a small scar where the surgery was done.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Christopher J. Rudnisky, MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology
Last Revised November 8, 2011

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