Descemet Membrane Endothelial Transfer: Ultimate Outcome

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Abstract

Purpose:

To evaluate the clinical outcome of 16 eyes undergoing Descemet membrane endothelial transfer (DMET).

Methods:

In this retrospective cohort study, a consecutive series of 16 eyes from 16 patients was evaluated after subtotal detachment of the Descemet graft after a Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty procedure (n = 8) or intended DMET (n = 8) for either Fuchs endothelial dystrophy (n = 10) or bullous keratopathy (BK; n = 6).

Results:

All 8 Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty procedures were complicated by subtotal detachment of the donor graft. The remaining 8 eyes that underwent a DMET procedure were uneventful and no postoperative complications occurred, except 1 eye with BK that experienced a postoperative wound leak. Throughout all postoperative time points, the partially attached status of all Descemet grafts was maintained. Although all eyes operated on for Fuchs endothelial dystrophy showed initial central corneal clearance, no eye operated for BK demonstrated any degree of corneal deturgescence. Ultimately, all 16 corneas decompensated and 15 of the 16 patients elected retransplantation, while 1 patient declined further surgery for health reasons. Retransplantation was performed on average 10.3 (±7.4) months (range, 3–31 mo) postoperatively.

Conclusions:

Ultimately, regardless of the etiology of endothelial dysfunction, DMET fails to provide satisfactory results in the long term; durable corneal clearance may therefore require the presence of a nearly completely attached Descemet graft.

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