Purpose: To report postoperative complications of keratolimbal allograft (KLAL) transplantation in patients with bilateral total limbal stem cell deficiency.
Methods: In this retrospective observational case series, medical charts of 45 patients with at least 6 months of follow-up were reviewed. The main outcome measure was postoperative complications including graft-related issues (thickness, position, and alignment) and immunologic rejection.
Results: Sixty-six KLALs were performed on 45 eyes. The mean follow-up period was 26.1 ± 11.8 months (range, 6–48 months). Primary failure occurred in 5 eyes primarily as a result of ocular surface exposure and severe dry eyes. Graft-related complications included misalignment (4 eyes), buttonhole (4), inner-edge tear (4), inadvertent limbal trephination (2), and thick KLAL (2). Postoperatively, regional thinning of the graft was observed in 8 KLALs as a result of exposure, regional ischemia, and after epithelial rejection. Acute rejection was diagnosed 16 times in 8 eyes, whereas chronic rejection was observed in 24 eyes. At last follow-up, 12 cases (26.6%) had failed because of recurrent acute rejection (4), chronic rejection (5), refractory herpetic keratitis (1), exposure (1), and refractory papillomavirus keratitis (1).
Conclusions: KLAL may be complicated by several adverse events. The most important complications are immunologic rejections, chronic ocular surface exposure, and graft-related complications.