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Surgeons team up to learn DMEK

Eversight is always looking for ways to drive improvements and advance patient outcomes by identifying better processes and cutting-edge techniques. In January, surgeons from across the Midwest gathered at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center for a wet lab, a hands-on training program to learn techniques for performing Descemetís Membrane Endothelial Keratoplasty (DMEK) presented by Dr. Shahzad Mian, ophthalmologist and medical director for Eversight Michigan, in collaboration with Eversight Michigan. DMEK surgery has proven to be an excellent solution for some patients whose corneal conditions affect only the innermost endothelial layer. The method, however, requires a special set of surgical skills, as it utilizes a tissue graft with only two of the corneaís five layers.

“This wet lab provided the opportunity for surgeons to learn and practice a highly technical procedure under the guidance of those surgeons most experienced in its use,” said Kyle Mavin, Eversight Director of Clinical Services. A full-thickness cornea transplant involves removing the entire diseased or damaged cornea and replacing it with healthy donor tissue. For patients whose conditions do not affect the outer corneal layers, DMEK allows the ophthalmologist to replace only the damaged tissue, which leaves the recipientís healthy tissue intact, and restoring vision sooner.

The day-long training event included presentations from Dr. Mian; Dr. Pankaj Gupta, University Hospitals Case Medical Center; Dr. Mark Greiner, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics; and Lauren Johnson, Manager of Tissue Processing Services for Eversight Michigan. Hassan Tausif, University of Toledo Medical School; Dr. Parag Majmudar, Chicago Cornea Consultants; Dr. Daniel Sand, Kellogg Eye Center; and Dr. David Verdier, Verdier Eye Center; helped facilitate the wet lab. Participants then received handson training in the operating room guided by the experienced DMEK surgeons.

Dr. Scott Wagenberg, a Cleveland Clinic ophthalmologist who performs a high volume of DMEK procedures, said he has seen significantly shorter recovery times and better quality of vision in his DMEK patients. “Patients who have had a traditional transplant in one eye and DMEK in the other achieved better vision in the eye that received the DMEK transplant,” he said.

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