Epithelial Ingrowth and Glaucoma Drainage Implants

Paul A. Sidoti, Don S. Minckler, George Baerveldt, Paul P. Lee, Dale K. Heuer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background: The authors report four cases of conjunctival epithelial invasion into the fibrous capsule surrounding a Baerveldt glaucoma implant. All cases were associated with concurrent or recent prior scleral buckling surgery. Methods: Three patients had postoperative conjunctival wound leaks, one in the immediate postoperative period and the other two at 9 and 17 days postoperatively after release of the tube ligature. In the fourth patient, a fistulous tract developed over the implant after a first-stage insertion. Histopathologic confirmation of subconjunctival epithelialization was obtained in two of these patients. Results: Surgical revision was performed in all patients. Excision and debridement of all epithelium-lined subconjunctival tissues and extensive bipolar cautery were used in the three patients with wound leaks. Implant removal also was performed in one of these. Fistulectomy and bipolar cautery were used in the fourth patient. No recurrent wound leaks or other adverse sequelae were noted. Conclusions: Epithelial invasion of the subconjunctival space and inner bleb wall after implantation of glaucoma drainage devices can lead to breakdown of the conjunctival wound and persistent aqueous leak. Prior or concurrent scleral buckling surgery may predispose to this occurrence. Surgical revision involving epithelial debridement, cautery, and meticulous wound closure, with or without implant removal, has been used successfully in the management of this complication.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)872-875
Number of pages4
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes


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