WellSpan Home

Blocked Tear Ducts: Balloon Dacryocystoplasty

Topic Overview

A blocked tear duct, which causes tears to build up, sometimes requires surgical treatment. Balloon dacryocystoplasty is a type of surgery used to open a blocked tear duct without making an incision in the nose or face. This surgery is not often done in children who are younger than 1 year.

During surgery, a thin guide wire is inserted through the hole in the corner of the eye through which tears drain (puncta). The wire, which has a tiny, deflated balloon attached, is threaded through to the obstructed area. The balloon is gently inflated with a liquid. The pressure of the balloon opens up and expands the blocked duct. The balloon is then deflated and removed along with the wire.

For adults, a local anesthesia is used for a balloon dacryocystoplasty, which is usually done in a doctor's office. Most people can go home right after the procedure is completed. The pain is often described as similar to having an injection.

Young children are usually given general anesthesia for this procedure.

To prevent infection, antibiotic eyedrops or antibiotics taken by mouth are often used for several days before and after surgery. Sometimes medicines (corticosteroids) are given after surgery to decrease tear duct swelling.

Balloon dacryocystoplasty leaves no facial scars and has less risk of complications than dacryocystorhinostomy. It is sometimes used if a person:

  • Cannot tolerate general anesthesia.
  • Wants to avoid a surgical scar on his or her face.
  • Has tear ducts that remain blocked after dacryocystorhinostomy surgery.

Risks include:

  • A higher recurrence rate of tear duct blockage than if external dacryocystorhinostomy is used.
  • A false passageway being created by the guide wire.
  • Complications from the local anesthesia.

Related Information

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical ReviewerChristopher J. Rudnisky, MD, MPH, FRCSC - Ophthalmology

Current as ofMay 4, 2017


Are you sure you would like to cancel?

All information will be lost.

Yes No ×

About the provider search

This search will provide you with WellSpan Medical Group and Northern Lancaster County (Ephrata) Medical Group primary care physicians and specialists. If we don’t have a WellSpan Medical Group physician to meet your criteria, the search will expand to include community physicians who partner with WellSpan Medical Group physicians through the WellSpan Provider Network or provide care to patients on the Medical Staffs of WellSpan’s Hospitals.

×

Schedule Your Next Appointment Online with MyWellSpan

Use your MyWellSpan patient portal any time to view available appointments, and pick the date and time that best suits your schedule.

Go to MyWellSpan

New to this practice?

If you don't have a WellSpan primary care provider and would like to schedule a new patient appointment with a provider who is accepting patients, just log into your MyWellSpan account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to see the offices that are accepting new patients in relation to your zip code. If you are not enrolled in MyWellSpan, go to https://my.wellspan.org, call 1-866-638-1842 or speak with a member of the staff at a participating facility to sign up. New patient scheduling not available at all practices/programs.

Already a patient at this practice?

If you already have a relationship with a WellSpan practice, simply log into your account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to schedule an appointment with any provider or practice that already counts you as a patient. Online scheduling varies by practice/program.

×