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15 December 2017 : Original article  

The Evolution of Corneal Transplantation

Tobias Röck1ABCDEF, Johanna Landenberger1DEF, Matthias Bramkamp2CDEF, Karl Ulrich Bartz-Schmidt1ACDEF, Daniel Röck1ABCDEF

DOI: 10.12659/AOT.905498

Ann Transplant 2017; 22:749-754


BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to investigate the evolution of surgical methods in and leading indications for corneal transplantation from 2005 to 2016.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Data from the corneal graft waiting list and from all keratoplasties carried out between 2005 and 2016 at the University Eye Hospital Tübingen were retrospectively evaluated.

RESULTS: A total of 1259 keratoplasties were performed between 2005 and 2016 at the University Eye Hospital Tübingen. The most common surgical indications for corneal transplantation were Fuchs endothelial corneal dystrophy (45.5%) and keratoconus (14.2%). The mean rate of corneal transplantations almost doubled from 71 keratoplasties per year in the first 6-year period to 139 keratoplasties per year in the second 6-year period (P=0.005). The number of penetrating keratoplasties remained similar. The number of Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasties (DMEK) increased significantly from 2008 to 2016 (P<0.0001). One DMEK procedure was performed in 2008 (representing 1.4% of all transplantations), while 75 DMEK procedures were performed in 2016 (representing 60.5% of all transplantations) (P<0.0001). DMEK became the favored surgical method for endothelial disorders, exceeding penetrating keratoplasty in 2013.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study shows evolutionary changes in preferred corneal transplantation techniques and leading indications for keratoplasty from 2005 to 2016. Since its introduction a decade ago, DMEK is currently the golden standard in the management of corneal endothelial dysfunction.

Keywords: Corneal Transplantation, Descemet Membrane, Descemet Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty, Keratoplasty, Penetrating

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Annals of Transplantation eISSN: 2329-0358
Annals of Transplantation eISSN: 2329-0358