Low-dose intraoperative mitomycin C as chemoadjuvant for pterygium surgery

Cornea. 2001 Jan;20(1):24-9. doi: 10.1097/00003226-200101000-00004.


Purpose: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of low-dose intraoperative mitomycin C (MMC) during bare sclera procedure and to compare the rates of pterygium recurrence between recurrent pterygium patients treated with adjuvant MMC and those reconstructed with a conjunctival autograft.

Methods: We studied the recurrence of pterygium, 12-month pterygium-free survival rates, final appearance, and postoperative complications in 96 eyes of 92 patients who received either intraoperative 0.02% MMC for 30 seconds or conjunctival autografting after pterygium excision. Patients were divided into three groups: group 1 included 38 eyes with primary pterygium undergone intraoperative MMC; group 2, 26 eyes with recurrent pterygium treated with intraoperative MMC; and group 3, 32 eyes with recurrent pterygium treated with pterygium excision and conjunctival autografting.

Results: Pterygium recurred in 3 (7.9%) of 38 eyes in group 1, 5 (19.2%) of 26 eyes in group 2, and 2 (6.3%) of 32 eyes in group 3. Despite the higher recurrence rate in group 2 compared with that of group 3, the difference between the two was not statistically significant (p = 0.22). The cumulative probabilities of success were 91.6+/-4.6%, 80.8+/-7.7%, and 92.3+/-5.4% at 12 months for groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively. Final appearance of the pterygium excision area was satisfactory in nearly two-thirds of the MMC-treated patients, 71.1% and 65.4% for groups I and 2, compared to 75.1% of patients who had undergone conjunctival autografting. No patients experienced severe complications during a mean postoperative follow-up of 27.3+/-4.1 months, 29.9+/-3.9 months, and 40.9+/-19.1 months for groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively.

Conclusions: A single intraoperative application of 0.02% MMC for 30 seconds after pterygium excision is associated with minimal complication and effectively reduces the recurrence rates after excision of primary or recurrent pterygium. In comparison with conjunctival autografting, low-dose application of MMC after bare sclera procedure is less efficacious in preventing recurrence of pterygium, but simpler and produces a similar proportion of patients with satisfactory final appearance.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alkylating Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Chemotherapy, Adjuvant
  • Conjunctiva / transplantation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Care / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mitomycin / administration & dosage*
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Prognosis
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pterygium / drug therapy
  • Pterygium / surgery*
  • Safety
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Transplantation, Autologous


  • Alkylating Agents
  • Ophthalmic Solutions
  • Mitomycin