Live corneal surgery on the big screen

Staff and students at St Paul’s Eye Unit were recently treated to a very up close view of cutting edge corneal surgery from Italy. Massimo Busin, Professor of Ophthalmology at Villa Igea Hospital in Forlì, was the surgeon, and the audience was given a high definition view down his microscope, relayed onto a hospital lecture theatre screen.

Professor Busin is an expert in lamellar keratoplasty and was operating on a patient with both Fuchs’ corneal dystrophy and cataracts. During the surgery he transplanted a corneal graft (Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty) and inserted a new lens, and the audience witnessed the full operation; from removing the patient’s lens and Descemet’s membrane, to cutting the graft to size and inserting the transplanted tissue.

In the second half of the session, Professor Busin performed a mushroom keratoplasty; a new microkeratome-assisted penetrating keratoplasty technique involving the transplantation of a two-piece mushroom-shaped graft. He reported that this results in better visual outcomes and graft survival rates compared to conventional penetrating keratoplasty.

The session was organised by St Paul’s corneal specialist Dr Vito Romano, who relayed audience questions to Professor Busin in real time, so the viewer almost felt involved in the surgery.  Questions for Professor Busin centred on the novel techniques used to manipulate the grafts into place, the advantages of his techniques over others and the syringes and forceps used by the surgeon.

The webcast provided a really interesting professional insight for senior staff and a great learning experience for the junior members and students. The session was made possible through the Cornea Web Academy.