Tissue Loss, Processing Time, and Primary Graft Failure in Eye Bank-Prepared Descemet Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty Grafts Before and After Prestripped to Preloaded Graft Transition

Cornea. 2021 Jun 1;40(6):710-714. doi: 10.1097/ICO.0000000000002531.


Purpose: To examine tissue loss rates, processing time, and primary graft failure (PGF) of "prestripped-only" Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK) grafts at a single eye bank and how these parameters changed after the introduction of steps to preload tissue among experienced processors.

Methods: Tissue loss and processing time during DMEK graft preparation as well as PGF were analyzed retrospectively at a single eye bank between 2012 and 2018. Outcomes were assessed in consecutive grafts before and after the introduction of preloading to the eye bank's standard operating procedure.

Results: A total of 1326 grafts were analyzed, composed of the first 663 preloaded DMEK grafts and, for comparison, the 663 DMEK grafts processed immediately before starting the preloaded service. Mean processing time increased from 17.0 ± 3.9 minutes to 26.0 ± 5.4 minutes with the advent of preloading (P < 0.01). Initially, average processing time increased dramatically, with a maximum processing time of 51 minutes, before regressing to the average. No significant difference in the rate of tissue wastage was observed before versus after the implementation of preloaded DMEK (1.2% vs. 1.7%, P = 0.48). PGF occurred in 7 grafts before the preloaded service and 10 grafts after starting the service (1.6% vs. 2.3%, P = 0.47).

Conclusions: Preloading does not affect tissue wastage for experienced technicians or the PGF rate but increases processing time. Eye banks that are considering adding preloading to their standard operating procedure may need to account for longer processing times in their daily operations.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Corneal Dystrophies, Hereditary / physiopathology
  • Corneal Dystrophies, Hereditary / surgery*
  • Corneal Endothelial Cell Loss / physiopathology
  • Descemet Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty*
  • Endothelium, Corneal*
  • Eye Banks / methods*
  • Female
  • Graft Rejection / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue Donors
  • Tissue and Organ Harvesting / methods*
  • Tissue and Organ Procurement
  • Treatment Outcome