Background Reports on keratoplasty by residents are rare compared to those on cataract surgery. The aim of this study was to compare the results and surgery time of penetrating keratoplasty performed by residents and an experienced cornea surgeon. Methods The medical records and surgery videos of the first 5 penetrating keratoplasty procedures by 4 residents were reviewed and compared with those in 20 penetrating keratoplasty procedures by an experienced cornea surgeon. Patients underwent penetrating keratoplasty at the Department of Ophthalmology, Tokyo Dental College, Chiba, Japan. The main outcome measures are graft survival, best-corrected visual acuity, postoperative astigmatism, decreased rate of graft endothelial cell density, and details of surgery time. Results Graft survival, best-corrected visual acuity, and postoperative astigmatism were not significantly different between residents group and the experienced surgeon group. The average decrease of graft endothelial cell density owing to surgery in residents and the experienced surgeon were 19.0 ± 17.5 and 18.5 ± 12.1%, respectively (p = 0.27, Mann-Whitney U test). The average surgery time taken by residents was 66.9 ± 18.1 minutes, and that by the experienced surgeon it was 28.2 ± 7.9 minutes (p = 0.0071, Mann-Whitney U test). Residents required the most time for running suture technique. Conclusions The results of keratoplasty by residents were similar with those done by the experienced surgeon. Surgery time was the only statistically significant difference (p = 0.0071), which did not influence surgical results.
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