Purpose: Releasable scleral flap sutures have been effectively used in trabeculectomy. The suggested time for suture removal is within the first two postoperative weeks. The authors wished to determine whether the use of intraoperative antifibrotics alters the time of suture removal and the results of surgery.
Methods: The charts of 324 patients (388 eyes) undergoing trabeculectomy and 141 patients (174 eyes) undergoing combined trabeculectomy with cataract extraction with a minimum follow-up of 12 months were retrospectively reviewed. All eyes received intraoperative antifibrotics; mitomycin C in 534 eyes and 5-fluorouracil in 29 eyes. Two releasable scleral flap sutures were used in all of the eyes.
Results: The removal time of at least one of the two releasable sutures was later than 21 days postoperatively in 89 eyes of 83 patients with trabeculectomy (22.9%) and in 58 eyes of 55 patients with combined surgery (33.3%). The suture removal was deferred in 39 eyes because of an early complication such as hypotony (intraocular pressure (IOP) ≤ 5 mm Hg), bleb leak, or shallow or flat anterior chamber. There was no complication in the other 108 eyes, but suture removal was delayed until the IOP was more than 10 mm Hg. Immediate IOP reduction was (mean ± standard deviation) 6.3 ± 2.8 mm Hg when suture removal was performed beyond 3 weeks. There was a decreased response as the postoperative time until suture removal increases (r = −0.57). No serious complication associated with late suture removal was noted during the follow-up period (mean ± standard deviation, 19.8 ± 10.1 months).
Conclusion: Intraoperative pharmacologic modulation of wound healing in trabeculectomy and combined trabeculectomy with cataract extraction extends the period that releasable suture removal is clinically effective. However the response decreases with a longer interval to releasable suture removal.