What is Dacryocystorhinostomy?
Dacryocystorhinostomy, or DCR, is a surgical procedure used to bypass a blocked tear duct.
Normally, the tears that constantly bathe our eyes are drained through two tiny holes in the eyelid, where they run through a duct into the nose. This tear duct can become clogged or blocked, causing tears to back up and leading to watery eyes. Common causes of tear duct blockages include trauma, a facial tumor, and inflammation due to certain medical conditions, but usually the cause is not known. Clogged tear ducts are especially common in young children. If the blockage is permanent and located lower in the duct, near the nose, DCR may be performed to create a bypass and allow tears to drain freely again.
During DCR surgery, a small hole is made in the bone and tissue between the upper part of the tear duct and the nasal passage. Usually, a tiny plastic tube called a stent is placed into the opening to protect it and keep it open during healing. DCR may be performed through an open incision on the upper cheek near the nose, or it may be performed endoscopically using tiny instruments that are passed through the nostril. Open surgery is more common, and has a slightly higher success rate, although endoscopic surgery causes less pain and bleeding during recovery. DCR is able to correct the blockage and watering eyes in nearly 95% of cases.
The surgery itself takes only about half an hour. It is usually done under general anesthesia, which may require a short hospital stay while you recover. Small amounts of bleeding from the nose are not uncommon for the first 24 hours, and bruising and swelling are expected for the first two weeks. Don't be alarmed if your eye continues to water at first. Swelling in the area due to surgery can cause the eye to water, but this should go away as you heal.