Purpse To describe the incidence and features of intraoperative retinal breaks caused by induction of posterior hyaloid face (PHF) separation during 23-gauge pars plana vitrectomy (PPV).MethodsA prospective, consecutive, single surgeon, observational study of patients undergoing 23-gauge transconjunctival sutureless vitrectomy for macular pathology or floaters, was carried out between 2009 and 2011 at Calderdale Royal Hospital, UK. PHF separations were categorised as either suction induced or requiring membrane blue (DORC Limited) with suction (adherent). The outcome measure was dichotomised into retinal break or tear and no retinal break or tear. Forced entry and parsimonious multiple logistic regression analyses were conducted, using statistical software, to test for significance of association of the set of recorded factors and covariates with the dichotomised outcome measure.ResultsData were collected and analysed from 137 patients. The incidence of iatrogenic retinal breaks associated with PHF separation during 23-gauge PPV was 18.2%. Under both forced entry and parsimonious multiple logistic regression models, the odds of a retinal break or tear reduce by about 3-4% for each increasing year of age. Findings also showed some substantive association in the forced entry model, with the odds of a retinal break or tear for adherent cases being around 3.8 times those for suction-only cases.ConclusionsMechanical detachment of the PHF represents an important risk factor in the formation of retinal breaks. Particular care should be taken to examine intraoperatively for iatrogenic breaks in order to prevent missed breaks and subsequent rhegmatogenous retinal detachments.