Pterygium: Can it come back once it's treated?

Can my pterygium come back after treatment?

Doctor Answers 3


Pterygium re-growth is one of the more frustrating aspects of this surgery Although many different methods are employed to prevent re-growth and the rate of recurrence has dropped significantly over the years, it still happens.

New York Ophthalmologist

Yes, it can come back

Absolutely, regrowth is a risk in pterygium surgery. There are certain techniques that can be used in order to minimize the risk of recurrence, especially in cases of re-operations. For example intraoperatively using an conjunctival autograph and/or a medication called Mitomycin C can help. Also your post surgical medical eyedrop regimen can be an important factor as well. 

Also sunglasses and UV protection are important for lowering your changes of recurrence. 

Good luck,

Omar Ozgur, MD 

Omar K. Ozgur, MD
Mission Viejo Oculoplastic Surgeon

Can the pterygium return after surgery?

That is the most important question to ask your eye surgeon with respect to their method of removal and while you are at it, ask how it is done, how many the surgeon has done, and whether he/she has published their results. Their answers should guide you in whether you continue with that surgeon or seek further advice.

The usual recurrence rate for a first time removal using the Gold Standard of conjunctival autograft is between 5 and 15%. However, simply scraping the pterygium off with no other agents used, such as mitomycin or radiotherapy, may result in recurrence rates of up to 80%.

P.E.R.F.E.C.T for PTERYGIUM® has the lowest reported rate of recurrence of 1 in 1000 patients. As well the cosmetic result has not been equalled.

Recurrence rates for a pterygium removal after previous removals is considerably worse. With many methods this may be as high as 20-30%.

With P.E.R.F.E.C.T for PTERYGIUM® the recurrence rate is higher than after a first time removal but still much better than other methods, at about 1 in 100.

Lawrence Hirst, MBBS, MD, MPH
Brisbane Ophthalmologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.