Purpose To describe a novel corneal surgical technique combining Deep Anterior Lamellar Keratoplasty (DALK) with grafting of allogeneic limbal stem cells (limbo-DALK) as treatment for eyes with corneal stromal pathology and limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD).
Methods This is a series of six Limbo-DALKs in five eyes of five patients. One patient received a second limbo-DALK after graft failure following the first procedure. Two of the donor corneae were HLA matched. Clinical records of included patients were reviewed retrospectively. All patients had been diagnosed with LSCD due to various pathologies. Analysed data included demographic data, diagnoses and clinical history, graft visualization and thickness measurements by anterior segment OCT, visual acuity and epithelial status. Follow-up visits were 6 weeks and 3, 6, 9, 12 and 18 months postoperatively with final suture removal at 18 months and further follow-up examinations twice yearly thereafter.
Results Two grafts showed total epithelial closure after 2 days, two after 14 days. In one eye, full closure of corneal epithelium did not occur after the first limbo-DALK, but could be achieved one month after second limbo-DALK. No endothelial graft rejection was seen.
Conclusion Based on data from this pilot series, limbo-DALK seems to be a novel viable surgical approach for eyes with severe LSCD and stromal corneal pathology.
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