Tube Shunt Surgery
When the risk is high that a trabeculectomy will fail, an aqueous shunt surgery may be recommended. With this outpatient procedure, a flexible glaucoma drainage device is implanted in the eye to divert aqueous humor (the fluid inside the eye) from the inside of the eye to an external reservoir small tube or valve placed in the eye through a tiny incision. The tube shunt is made of silicone or polypropylene, a material that won’t break down in the body. These can be valved (Ahmed) or non-valved (Molteno or Baerveldt). The entire implant is covered with the eye’s own external covering.
Who is a Candidate for a Tube Shunt Procedure?
Traditionally, tube shunts were used to control eye pressure in patients in whom a trabeculectomy had previously failed, or in patients who have had previous surgeries or trauma that caused scarring of the conjunctiva. Tube shunts have also been successful in controlling eye pressure in other types of glaucoma, such as glaucoma associated with uveitis or inflammation, neovascular glaucoma (associated with diabetes or other vascular eye diseases), pediatric glaucoma, traumatic glaucoma, and others.