Face-Down Position After Retinal Surgery

 In Retina

Following a vitrectomy procedure for retinal detachment, most patients, are required to keep their face down for, at least, 4 hours. Many patients are advised face-down posturing after vitrectomy for other vitreoretinal diseases as well. For example patients are advised face-down posturing for 24 hours after macular hole surgery. The duration of face down varies from patient to patient and doctor to doctor. It can be uncomfortable and challenging, but it is crucial for a successful recovery.

Why do I need to maintain a face-down position after vitrectomy?

The purpose of face-down posturing is to prevent the gas or silicone oil, used to replace the vitreous gel during the surgery, from rising and interfering with the healing process. The gas or oil needs to stay in contact with the retinal surface to allow for the formation of a seal between the retina and the underlying tissue, which is necessary for successful healing.


Face Down Posturing


How long do I need to maintain a face-down position after vitrectomy?

The length of time you need to maintain a face-down position after vitrectomy depends on various factors, such as the type of surgery you had and your surgeon’s recommendations. Some patients may need to maintain this position for several days or even weeks. Your surgeon will provide specific instructions for your individual situation.

What are the risks of not maintaining a face-down position after vitrectomy?

Not maintaining a face-down position after vitrectomy can result in incomplete or failed healing, which can lead to various complications, such as retinal detachment, macular hole, or other vision-threatening conditions.

How can I make face-down posturing more comfortable?

Maintaining a face-down position for an extended period of time can be physically and mentally challenging. Here are some tips to help you make the process more comfortable:

  1. Use a comfortable chair: Choose a chair with a cushioned headrest that allows you to lean forward comfortably. You can also use a pillow to support your chest and avoid putting too much pressure on your neck.
  2. Use a massage cushion: You can use a massage cushion on your chair to reduce muscle tension and discomfort.
  3. Listen to music or audiobooks: Listening to music or audiobooks can help you pass the time and distract your mind from the discomfort.
  4. Use a face-down support system: There are various face-down support systems available that can help you maintain the required position comfortably. These support systems include adjustable mirrors, special face-down chairs, and foam supports.
  5. Involve your family or friends: Ask your family or friends to spend time with you during the posturing period. Their company can help you stay motivated and make the process less isolating.
  6. Plan your meals and hydration: Plan your meals and hydration carefully to avoid having to get up frequently. You can use straws or sipper cups to drink fluids without having to change your position.
  7. Take breaks: You can take short breaks from the face-down position every hour or so to stretch your legs and relieve any discomfort.
  8. Ask for help: Don’t hesitate to ask for help from your family, friends, or healthcare providers if you need assistance with daily activities or any discomfort.


Please consult your doctor for the duration of your face down positioning. Here are some useful tips to make this task easy.



Maintaining a face-down position after vitrectomy is crucial for successful healing. It can be challenging, but there are various ways to make the process more comfortable. Remember to follow your surgeon’s instructions carefully and ask for help if needed. With patience and perseverance, you can achieve successful healing and restore your vision.

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