Muscle and Fat Involvement in relation to Dysthyroid Optic Neuropathy
Purpose. We wanted to investigate the relative significance of fat and muscle enlargement in the development of dysthyroid optic neuropathy (DON) in Graves' orbitopathy (GO). Methods. Preoperative coronal CT scans of 13 patients with and without DON who subsequently underwent orbital decompression were retrospectively analyzed. Thirteen patients imaged for unilateral orbital fractures served as controls. Results. The retrobulbar muscle volume was 2.1 ± 0.5 cm(3) (mean ± SD) in controls, 4.3 ± 1.5 cm(3) in GO without DON, and 4.7 ± 1.7 cm(3) in GO with DON. The retrobulbar fat volume was 5.4 ± 1.6 cm(3) in controls, 8.7 ± 8.0 cm(3) in GO without DON, and 9.4 ± 3.1 cm(3) in GO with DON. The muscle and fat volumes were higher in patients with GO than in controls (P < 0.001), but the volumes in orbits with and without DON were not significantly different. The volume of the optic nerve were similar in the 3 groups. The number of apical, coronal 2 mm thick slices with no fat was 2.9 ± 0.9 in normal orbits, it was 4.1 ± 1.0 in GO orbits without DON and 5.3 ± 0.8 in GO orbits with DON (P = 0.007). Conclusion. Apical muscle enlargement may be more important than orbital fat enlargement in the development of DON. However, the fact that apical crowding and muscle enlargement also occur in orbits without DON suggests that other factors also play a role in the development of DON.