Corneal Transplantation – DMEK & DSEK

Denver Cornea Transplant Specialist Dr. Paul Cutarelli performs Descemet Membrane Endothelial Kertoplasty (DMEK) & Descemet’s Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSEK) which is one of the newest and most promising techniques in corneal transplantation.

What is Descemet Membrane Endothelial Kertoplasty (DMEK)?

DMEK is the partial thickness corneal transplants which replaces primarily the endothelium, The innermost portion of the cornea rather than the full thickness of the cornea as seen in standard corneal transplants.

DMEK is the newest treatment option for decrease vision, swollen, cloudy corneas see in Fuch’s Dystrophy. We have found that DMEK has provided patients with the best chance to have the best possible vision with the reduced risk of rejection.

Advantages of DMEK

  • More anatomic results
  • Faster vision recovery
  • Lower rejection rates
  • Better visual results

What is Descemet’s Stripping Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSEK)?

  • A DSEK procedure is a partial-thickness corneal transplant that replaces only the inner endothelial layer.
  • The endothelium is removed with its underlying membrane and replaced with the healthy inner layer from a donor cornea. Where appropriate, this new technique is a significant improvement over the standard corneal transplantation operation.
Before and After DSEK Corneal Transplant Surgery

With an experienced eye surgeon such as Dr. Cutarelli the surgery itself takes less time and involves a smaller surgical incision. DSEK requires far fewer stitches, heals faster and more reliably, and the vision returns faster.

There are several advantages to the DSEK operation compared to standard corneal transplant surgery. Since only the thin inner layer of the cornea is replaced, over 90% of the patient’s own cornea remains behind contributing to greater structural integrity and may reduce the incidence of rejection. The smaller incision offers several benefits over traditional methods of corneal transplant such as Penetrating Keratoplasty (PKP). Because the procedure is less invasive, DSEK leaves the eye much stronger and less prone to injury than full-thickness transplants. Additionally, DSEK has a more rapid rate of visual recovery. Vision is typically restored in one to three months rather than one to two years.

Why Don’t All Eye Surgeons Offer DMEK or DSEK?

DMEK &DESK is a technically challenging surgery. Because of his extensive training and experience as a corneal specialist, Dr. Cutarelli is the surgeon to consider in the Englewood, Colorado area when contemplating DMEK or DSEK.