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Nomenclature to denote conventional phacoemulsification

Spencer, Martin MD, FRCSC

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Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery: December 2007 - Volume 33 - Issue 12 - p 2007
doi: 10.1016/j.jcrs.2007.09.011
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In their recent article comparing bimanual and conventional phacoemulsification, Kahraman et al.1 use unfortunate nomenclature to denote conventional phacoemulsification. It is described as “small-incision cataract surgery” or SICS. This compounds a preexisting misnomer as SICS has been used inappropriately to denote manual sutureless cataract surgery. In the latter case, the incision is usually at least 6.0 mm in length to accommodate egress of the nucleus and implantation of the poly(methyl methacrylate) intraocular lens. The technique was designated small-incision cataract surgery, or SICS, because the incision was smaller than the sutured incisions of manual extracapsular cataract surgery.

Incision size is therefore small or large in relation to arbitrary and changing benchmarks. Size should be abandoned as a descriptor of cataract surgical technique. In the article by Kahraman et al., MICS (microincision cataract surgery) would more accurately be described as biaxial (or, less accurately, bimanual) phacoemulsification. The procedure to which it is compared would better be described as conventional coaxial phacoemulsification.

When it comes to labeling cataract surgery techniques, size does not matter.


1. Kahraman G, Amon M, Franz C, et al. Intraindividual comparison of surgical trauma after bimanual microincision and conventional small-incision coaxial phacoemulsification. J Cataract Refract Surg. 2007;33:618-622.
© 2007 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.