Objective: To compare deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty (DALK) with penetrating keratoplasty (PK) in eyes with corneal diseases not involving the corneal endothelium (keratoconus, scars after infectious keratitis, stromal dystrophies, and trauma).
Design: Retrospective, comparative case series.
Participants: One hundred forty-two consecutive DALK (DALK group; big-bubble technique or manual lamellar dissection using a slitlamp) and 142 matched PK (PK group).
Methods: Three models were used to describe the postoperative outcomes of the endothelial cell density. A joint regression model was used to predict long-term graft survival. Visual acuity, ultrasound pachymetry, specular microscopy, and optical coherence tomography (OCT) findings were recorded.
Main outcome measures: Postoperative endothelial cell loss and long-term predicted graft survival.
Results: The average 5-year postoperative endothelial cell loss was -22.3% in the DALK group and -50.1% in the PK group (P<0.0001). The early- and late-phase annual rates of endothelial cell loss were -8.3% and -3.9% per year, respectively, in the DALK group and -15.2% and -7.8% per year in the PK group (P<0.001; biphasic linear model). The median predicted graft survival was 49.0 years in the DALK group and 17.3 years in the PK group (P<0.0001). The average visual acuity was lower in the manual dissection subgroup compared with the PK group (average difference, 1.0 to 1.8 line) and with the big-bubble subgroup (average difference, 2.2 to 2.5 lines). The average central corneal thickness at 12 months was 536 μm in the PK group, 523 μm in the big-bubble subgroup, and 562 μm in the manual dissection subgroup (P<0.001). The average thickness of the residual recipient stroma measured by OCT was 87±26 μm in the manual dissection subgroup. No correlation was found between this figure and logarithm of the minimal angle of resolution at any postoperative time point (P>0.05).
Conclusions: Long-term, model-predicted graft survival and endothelial densities are higher after DALK than after PK. The big-bubble technique gives better results than manual dissection and PK. Compared with PK, manual dissection provides higher survival of both the corneal endothelium and graft, but lower visual acuity.
Copyright © 2012 American Academy of Ophthalmology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.