Purpose: To evaluate the impact of race and ethnicity, surgical technique, and level of surgeon training on recurrence rates after primary pterygium excision.
Methods: A retrospective review of patients who underwent primary pterygium excision at our academic institution was performed. The surgical technique-conjunctival autografting (CAG) or amniotic membrane grafting (AMG)-was chosen at the attending surgeon's discretion, and all surgeries were performed by surgeons in training. The primary outcome measure was pterygium recurrence, defined as regrowth of fibrovascular tissue onto a clear cornea in the region of previous pterygium removal.
Results: There was a significant difference in age at presentation between white (64.3 ± 11.4), Hispanic (50.0 ± 13.5), black (64.8 ± 14.5), and Asian (59.3 ± 9.2) patients (P < 0.001). Average time to recurrence was 4.4 ± 3.0 months and was similar between races (P = 0.98). There was a significant difference in recurrence rates between the white (13%), Hispanic (28%), black (33%), and Asian (0%) patients (P = 0.049). Over 12 months, a significant difference in cumulative proportion with recurrence after AMG versus CAG was observed in Hispanic (75% vs. 30%; P = 0.002) and black (100% vs. 42%; P = 0.001) patients. Sex, method of graft fixation (glue, suture, or both), and level of surgeon training showed no difference in pterygium recurrence (P > 0.05).
Conclusions: Hispanic and black patients are more likely to experience pterygium recurrence after AMG than CAG. White patients are less likely than Hispanic or black patients to experience recurrence regardless of the surgical technique. To reduce the likelihood of recurrence, surgeons may consider race and ethnicity when selecting their operative technique.