Evaluation of interface quality in organ-cultured lamellar corneal transplants
Armin Wolf,1,* Burkhard von Jagow,2,* Daniel Kook,1 Elisabeth M Messmer,1 Carlo A Lackerbauer,1 Anselm Kampik,1 Thomas Kohnen,2 Martin Grueterich1
1Department of Ophthalmology, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, München, 2Department of Ophthalmology, Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
*These authors have contributed equally
Background: With increasing numbers of lamellar keratoplasties, eye banks are challenged to deliver precut lamellar donor tissue. In Europe, the most common technique of corneal storage is organ culture which requires a deswelling process before surgical processing. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of different deswelling times on the cutting plane quality after microkeratome-assisted lamellar dissection.
Methods: Eight paired donor corneas (16 specimens) not suitable for transplantation were organ cultured under standard conditions at the Eye Bank of the Ludwig-Maximilians Universität, Munich, Germany. Pairs of corneal buttons were analyzed during the deswelling process in dextrane-containing medium. While one cornea was cut at an early time point during the deswelling process and put back into deswelling medium thereafter, the partner cornea was completely deswollen and dissected after 72 hours. Specimens were then further processed for scanning electron microscopy. Surface quality was assessed both digitally using Scanning Probe Imaging Processing software, and manually by three blinded graders.
Results: The corneal buttons processed at the beginning of the deswelling process had a smoother surface when compared to the partner cornea that was cut at the end of the deswelling process. In our setting, no relevant difference was detectable between manual and automated microkeratome dissection.
Conclusion: For lamellar keratoplasty, organ-cultured corneas should be processed at an early stage during the deswelling process. We interpret the smoother dissection plane during early deswelling as a result of mechanical properties in a highly hydrated cornea.
Keywords: keratoplasty, deswelling, corneas, microkeratome
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