Standardizing Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty Graft Preparation Method in the Eye Bank—Experience of 527 Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty Tissues

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Purpose:To share the experience and provide a standardized protocol for Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK) graft preparation.Methods:A retrospective study based on 527 prestripped DMEK tissues that were prepared between 2014 and 2017. The experience of using different instruments and techniques has been described, and a standardized technique for preparing DMEK grafts has been identified. The tissues in general were prepared by superficially tapping the endothelial side with a Moria trephine (9.5 mm diameter). The plane of cleavage was identified using a cleavage hook, and the DMEK graft was deadhered from the trephined site throughout the circumference for ease of excising the graft. The DMEK graft was peeled using either one or multiple quadrant methods depending on the challenges faced during excision. The graft was finally marked with the letter “F” to identify the orientation during surgery. Data on endothelial cell loss (ECL) and challenging cases were observed, monitored, and recorded during this period.Results:Less than 1 percent trypan blue-positive cells with tissue wastage of <6% was observed during the study period. Our standardized stripping technique has resulted in an overall ECL of 4.6%. Marking Descemet membrane showed 0.5% cell mortality.Conclusions:Standardizing DMEK technique using specific tools and simple techniques would help new surgeons to decide the instruments and improve their tissue preparation skills also in challenging cases such as previous cataract incisions or horseshoe-shaped tears, further reducing ECL or tissue wastage.

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