Background: Buccal mucous membrane grafting was performed in 26 eyes of 20 patients with advanced ocular cicatricial pemphigoid. The disease causes abnormalities of the eyelid margin and conjunctiva, which results in mechanical damage to the cornea. The authors' short-term results showed that mucous membrane grafting was effective in reversing these abnormalities if the disease was first medically controlled by chemotherapy or was in remission.
Methods: At the end of 2 years of follow-up, the authors reviewed all records and photographs of these patients.
Results: Serious postoperative corneal complications developed in 16 eyes (61.5%), causing worsened visual acuity in 8. The postoperative complications were associated with severe keratoconjunctivitis sicca in 14 eyes (87.5%), progression of subepithelial conjunctival fibrosis and postoperative exacerbation of ocular cicatricial pemphigoid inflammatory activity in 8 eyes, and advanced ankyloblepharon in 7 eyes. The condition of one eye was unchanged. The beneficial effect of grafting was maintained in nine eyes.
Conclusions: The authors' observations indicate that mucous membrane grafting should not be performed when patients have severe keratoconjunctivitis sicca, very advanced ocular cicatricial pemphigoid, or active conjunctival inflammation uncontrolled by immunosuppression. The authors suggest complete control of inflammation before surgery and perioperative treatment with systemic prednisone while maintaining any ongoing immunosuppressive chemotherapy. The selection of alternative surgical approaches is discussed.