Optimizing Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty using intraoperative optical coherence tomography

Philipp Steven*, Carolin Le Blanc, Kai Velten, Eva Lankenau, Marc Krug, Stefan Oelckers, Ludwig M. Heindl, Uta Gehlsen, Gereon Hüttmann, Claus Cursiefen

*Corresponding author for this work
117 Citations (Scopus)


IMPORTANCE Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK) is a challenging procedure for the surgeon, particularly because of deficient visibility of the delicate tissue due to the natural en face view through the operating microscope. A cross-sectional view would greatly enhance intraoperative overview and enable the surgeon to better control the procedure. OBJECTIVE To retrospectively analyze the use of intraoperative optical coherence tomography (iOCT) for improving the safety of DMEK. DESIGN Intraoperative OCT during DMEK was performed in 26 eyes of 26 patients. We retrospectively analyzed imaging and video data. SETTING Department of Ophthalmology, University of Cologne. PARTICIPANTS Seven men and 19 women aged 39 to 93 years with corneal endothelial dysfunction undergoing DMEK. EXPOSURE Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty. MAINOUTCOMES ANDMEASURES Visibility of surgical steps, overall duration of DMEK, overall time for complete intraoperative air filling of the anterior chamber, and correlation between donor age and Descemet rolling behavior. RESULTS Intraoperative OCT enables visualization of all steps of the DMEK procedure. Overall mean (SD) durationof the DMEK procedure was 25.7 (6.9) minutes when using iOCT. Overall mean (SD) complete intraoperative anterior chamber air-filling time was 236 (108) seconds in contrast to 60 to 90 minutes for standard air-filling time. Descemet membrane rolling behavior showed significant inverse correlation between donor age (range, 39-93 years) and the extent of rolling (R2 = 0.5 [P =.006]). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE Intraoperative OCT enhances the visibility of graft orientation and unfolding, thereby improving safety of the DMEK procedure. Overall, iOCT is a helpful device that may support surgeons in all steps of DMEK procedures.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJAMA ophthalmology
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)1135-1142
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 09.2013

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Biomedical Engineering


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