Real-time intraoperative ultrasound biomicroscopy for determining graft orientation during Descemet's membrane endothelial keratoplasty

Yoav Nahum, Orly Galor, Maya Atar, Irit Bahar, Eitan Livny*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To evaluate the intraoperative use of ultrasound biomicroscopy (UBM) during Descemet's membrane endothelial keratoplasty (DMEK) to determine graft's orientation. Methods: Prospective interventional study of eight eyes of seven patients who underwent DMEK. Following the identification of correct graft orientation using 'Blue cannula tip' sign during DMEK surgery, UBM was used to ascertain graft's orientation. The rate of successful DMEK graft orientation determined by the UBM was registered and verified postoperatively by anterior segment-optical coherence tomography (OCT). Intra- and postoperative complications, postoperative clearance of the cornea, corrected distance visual acuity and endothelial cell loss were also noted. Results: The study included five males and two females aged 54–82 years with corneal oedema due to Pseudophakic bullous keratopathy (n = 5), Fuchs’ endothelial dystrophy (n = 2). In all cases, the technique allowed proper determination of the graft's orientation. In one case, ‘blue cannula tip’ sign showed correct orientation while UBM identified an upside–down graft. The graft was inverted in the anterior chamber using fluid jets, and repeat ‘blue cannula tip’ sign and UBM examination both showed correct orientation. In all cases, postoperative anterior segment-OCT demonstrated correct graft orientation. Conclusions: Use of intraoperative UBM to determine graft orientation during DMEK correlated with proper graft orientation, as was verified postoperatively by anterior segment-OCT. The use of UBM can be particularly helpful in cases of poor graft visibility due to opaque corneal stroma, pigment or blood in the anterior chamber during surgery, or when the blue tint of the graft fades rapidly, which may preclude proper determination of graft's orientation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e96-e100
JournalActa Ophthalmologica
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Descemet's membrane endothelial keratoplasty
  • imaging
  • keratoplasty
  • ultrasound biomicroscopy


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