Autologous translocation of the choroid and retinal pigment epithelium in patients with geographic atrophy

Ophthalmology. 2007 Mar;114(3):551-60. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2006.08.016.


Purpose: To evaluate the functional and anatomical outcomes of autologous translocation of peripheral choroid and retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) in patients with geographic atrophy.

Design: Prospective nonrandomized study.

Participants: Twelve consecutive patients with geographic atrophy secondary to age-related macular degeneration presenting with recent loss of reading vision.

Methods: An autologous peripheral full-thickness graft of RPE, Bruch's membrane, and choroid was positioned under the macula in patients with geographic atrophy.

Main outcome measures: Functional tests included Early Treatment Diabetic Retinopathy Study distant vision, reading (Radner Test, measured as logarithm of the reading acuity determination [logRAD]), threshold static perimetry, and determination of the point of fixation. Fluorescein and indocyanine green angiography, autofluorescence, and optical coherence tomography served to evaluate the anatomical outcome in a 6-month follow-up (12 months in 7 patients).

Results: Preoperative visual acuity (VA) ranged from 20/800 to 20/40 (mean, 0.6+/-0.4 logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution), and reading vision from 1.1 to 0.5 logRAD (mean, 0.8+/-0.2). Three patients were unable to read. Six months after surgery, VA ranged from hand movements to 20/32, with an increase of > or =5 letters in 2 eyes. Two patients without reading ability preoperatively were able to read after surgery. Reading was possible in a total of 8 patients after 6 months (1.3-0.4 logRAD). In 7 patients who were observed for 1 year, VA remained stable (+/-1 line) in 5 eyes and decreased in 2 eyes between 6 months' and 1 year's follow-up. In all eyes but 2, revascularization was visible on indocyanine green angiography as early as 3 weeks after surgery. Autofluorescence of the RPE was independent of revascularization of the graft and persisted throughout follow-up. Four eyes had unstable fixation and/or extrafoveal fixation before surgery. Two of these eyes stabilized during follow-up. Areas overlying atrophic areas demonstrated low threshold sensitivities that persisted after translocation of a free graft with only limited recovery. Revisional surgery due to proliferative vitreoretinopathy was required in 5 eyes.

Conclusions: The translocation of a full-thickness graft usually results in a vascularized and functioning graft in patients with geographic atrophy, although is associated with a high risk of complications and visual loss. Longer follow-up is necessary to learn about the long-term survival and functionality of the graft.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Angiography
  • Atrophy
  • Bruch Membrane / transplantation
  • Choroid / blood supply
  • Choroid / transplantation*
  • Disease Progression
  • Fluorescence
  • Fundus Oculi
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration / complications
  • Macular Degeneration / pathology*
  • Macular Degeneration / surgery*
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye / blood supply
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye / physiopathology
  • Pigment Epithelium of Eye / transplantation*
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Postoperative Period
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reading
  • Transplantation, Autologous*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vision Disorders / etiology
  • Vision Disorders / physiopathology
  • Visual Acuity
  • Visual Field Tests
  • Vitreoretinopathy, Proliferative / etiology
  • Vitreoretinopathy, Proliferative / surgery