Purpose: To introduce autologous tragal perichondrium transplantation as a novel surgical modality for the management of intractable symptomatic bullous keratopathy. Methods: In three eyes of three patients with painful bullous keratopathy, autologous tragal perichondria were transplanted on the corneal surface with the human amniotic membrane transplanted above. We included an additional three eyes of three patients with painful bullous keratopathy who received amniotic membrane transplantation only to serve as controls. Clinical symptom outcomes were assessed using a visual analogue scale at postsurgical months 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9. In addition, transplanted tragal perichondrium and amniotic membrane complex tissue button obtained from one patient who underwent penetrating keratoplasty was evaluated by immunohistochemical analysis of CD34, vimentin, and alcian blue staining. Results: All three patients who underwent autologous tragal perichondrium and human amniotic membrane cotransplantation showed improvements in pain and tearing. However, all three patients in the control group experienced aggravation of tearing and no further improvement of pain 3 months after surgery. In addition, one patient in the control group developed premature degradation of the amniotic membrane. Histopathologic and immunohistochemical analysis showed intact surface epithelization and positive CD34, vimentin and alcian blue staining of transplanted tragal perichondria. Conclusions: The tragal perichondrium has a high mechanical structural force and high potency due to wellorganized epithelization and the presence of mesenchymal stem cells. Autologous tragal perichondrium transplantation may be an effective modality for the management of painful bullous keratopathy.
Materials and Methods
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