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