Experienced DSAEK Surgeon's Transition to DMEK: Outcomes Comparing the Last 100 DSAEK Surgeries With the First 100 DMEK Surgeries Exclusively Using Previously Published Techniques

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Abstract

Purpose:

To compare outcomes of Descemet stripping automated endothelial keratoplasty (DSAEK) and Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK) when an experienced DSAEK surgeon transitions to DMEK while following 2 published endothelial keratoplasty surgical techniques.

Methods:

This is a retrospective review of 200 eyes of 132 patients with Fuchs corneal dystrophy that underwent endothelial keratoplasty performed by one surgeon. Published, standardized techniques were followed for both DSAEK and DMEK. Postoperative complications were recorded. Best spectacle-corrected visual acuity (BSCVA), intraocular pressure, and central endothelial cell loss (ECL) were evaluated at 6 months postoperatively.

Results:

There were no intraoperative complications. One DSAEK and 5 DMEK grafts developed graft detachment requiring rebubbling (P = 0.097). No iatrogenic primary graft failures occurred in the DSAEK group compared with one in the DMEK group. No pupil block episodes occurred in the DSAEK group compared with one in the DMEK group. Posterior synechiae formation occurred 15 times in the DMEK group and did not occur in the DSAEK group (P < 0.001). At 6 months, BSCVA was better in the DMEK group than in the DSAEK group (20/24; logMAR = 0.0844–20/32; logMAR = 0.2063) (P < 0.001). More eyes reached 20/20 or better BSCVA in the DMEK group compared with DSAEK (54.5%–13%) (P < 0.011). At 6 months, ECL was higher in the DMEK group than in the DSAEK group (31.9%–19.9%) (P < 0.001).

Conclusions:

Complications can be minimized and excellent outcomes can be achieved, without a steep learning curve, when an experienced DSAEK surgeon transitions to DMEK following a standardized technique. Six-month vision outcomes are better in the DMEK group; however, the rate of a newly described complication, posterior synechiae formation, and 6-month ECL are higher in the DMEK group than in the DSAEK group.

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