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A Technique to Rescue Keratoprosthesis Melts

Feng, Matthew T. MD; Burkhart, Zachary N. MD; McKee, Yuri MD; Price, Francis W. Jr MD

doi: 10.1097/ICO.0b013e31829e1fc0

Purpose: To describe a technique to completely replace the donor corneal carrier of an existing type 1 Boston keratoprosthesis (KPro) that preserves the hardware intact.

Methods: Two eyes with sterile corneal melts around the KPro stem underwent a complete exchange of the donor corneal carrier. Donor corneas were prepared in the usual fashion for KPro and were then left uncovered to dehydrate. Meanwhile, the melted corneas were excised in a manner similar to that for failed penetrating grafts and uncollared from the KPro. The new donors were then sufficiently thinned to slide between the back and front plates; however, to clear the 5.0-mm KPro front plate flange, the central 3.0-mm opening in the replacement donor corneas was first enlarged by means of 2 paired sub-1.0-mm radial relaxing incisions placed 180 degrees apart. Once positioned, the new donor carriers were rehydrated to seal the space between the back and front plates.

Results: The full-thickness corneal carrier was successfully replaced in both cases. In 1 case, scarring of the back plate holes caused the plate to behave like an intact Descemet membrane during deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty.

Conclusions: When an otherwise functional KPro is jeopardized because of disorders of the donor corneal carrier, it can be advantageous to selectively replace the carrier and thus salvage the original KPro. We describe such a rescue technique, which permits the exchange of the corneal carrier without disassembling the KPro.

Supplemental Digital Content is Available in the Text.

Price Vision Group, Indianapolis, IN.

Reprints: Francis W. Price, Jr, Price Vision Group, 9002 N Meridian St, Ste 100, Indianapolis, IN 46260 (e-mail:

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s Web site (

Received December 31, 2012

Accepted May 29, 2013

Copyright © 2013 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.