Vertical Chop Technique for Efficient Surgery

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The vertical chop technique is a favorite of mine, particularly when there is sufficient nuclear density to allow the chop to propagate fully. Within just about a second or two of placing the phaco probe in the eye, the nucleus can be split into two halves. The cataract can then be rotated and sub-chopped, or a hemi-nucleus can be pulled out of the capsular bag for further chopping.

To employ this technique it is important that you avoid using choppers which have ball-tips or olive-tips. These devices, which purportedly have these large dull tips in the name of safety, will prevent the instrument from penetrating the nucleus. You want a chopper with a tapered tip or even a semi-sharp one which will allow it to penetrate the nucleus. The nucleus is then impaled with the phaco probe and the instruments are brought apart in order to split the nucleus, much like the action of splitting firewood. The chopping instrument which I use, is also wide enough to provide traction for separating nuclear halves.

Because both the phaco probe and the chopper are kept centrally, within the confines of the capsulorhexis, this technique is relatively easy to learn, even for beginners.

Click below to watch and learn the technique of vertical chop:

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