Upon removing the vitreous jelly during a vitrectomy, the surgeon inserts silicone oil to close the macular hole. It sometimes takes up to 12 weeks for the hole in the macula to close. Surgeons use silicone oil as an alternative to the gas bubble procedure used for macular hole repair.
Surgeons typically use the silicone oil treatment for patients who cannot, or who refuse to, maintain a face-down position for the one to two weeks that are required for the gas-bubble procedure. The gas bubble dissolves on its own, which makes it the preferred surgery, whereas a second surgery is required to remove the silicone oil after the hole in the macula closes.