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Early perfusion of a free RPE-choroid graft in patients with exudative macular degeneration can be imaged with spectral domain-OCT.

Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2011, vol. 52, issue 8

PURPOSE

To study early flow and revascularization in a free, autologous, retinal pigment epithelium (RPE)-choroid graft.

METHODS

This prospective cohort study used spectral domain-optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) after RPE-choroid graft surgery in 12 patients. This SD-OCT was combined with fluorescein angiography (FA) and indocyanine green angiography (ICGA) in 5 patients.

RESULTS

SD-OCT revealed that vessel diameter, number of vessels, and graft thickness increased in 10 of 12 patients, starting between 3 and 10 days after surgery. A subsequent decrease in thickness was found in all 10 patients, beginning as early as 8 days after surgery. Initially, the graft vessels were optically clearer than the underlying choroidal recipient vessels. Between 8 and 30 days after surgery, the optically clear vessels became gray, similar to the recipient choroid. FA and ICGA revealed perfusion in 4 of 5 patients between postoperative days 6 and 15. Between postoperative days 12 and 60, the entire choroidal structure of the graft was visible on ICGA. CONCLUSIONS; These data suggest that enlargement of vessel diameter, increase in the number of choroidal vessels, and graft thickening visualized by SD-OCT correspond with the ingrowth of afferent vessels, as demonstrated by ICGA. The subsequent establishment of efferent vessels results in flow, imaged as a change in color of the graft's vessels from optically clear to gray, graft thinning on SD-OCT, and complete revascularization on ICGA. SD-OCT, a noninvasive examination, can be used to demonstrate early graft perfusion in patients (trialregister.nl/trialreg/admin/rctview.asp number, NTR1768).

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