Purpose: To report the results of ultrastructural analysis of the postoperative effects of ab interno trabeculectomy in a human eye. Setting: Department of Ophthalmology, Palmanova Hospital, Palmanova, Udine, Italy. Methods: A 60-year-old woman with cataract and glaucoma had enucleation for a choroidal melanoma 10 days after ab interno trabeculectomy combined with phacoemulsification. A second ab interno trabeculectomy was performed after enucleation to evaluate the outcomes of the previous trabeculectomy. Light and transmission electron microscopy analyses were performed on samples excised from areas (1) not subjected to a procedure (control samples), (2) that had ab interno trabeculectomy before enucleation, and (3) that had ab interno trabeculectomy immediately after enucleation. Results: Control samples showed normal trabecular features. Semithin sections of all ab interno trabeculectomy samples showed full-thickness removal of trabeculum segments, with Schlemm's canal lumen opening into the anterior chamber and apparent preservation of the adjacent structures. On ultrathin sections of samples that had ab interno trabeculectomy before enucleation, the endothelium lining the outer wall of Schlemm's canal and other angle components showed intact ultrastructural features. In trabecular beams that were not removed, the extracellular matrix appeared to have maintained its fine texture and was free of activated fibroblasts or leucocyte infiltrates. Conclusions: Observations confirm that ab interno trabeculectomy causes direct communication between Schlemm's canal lumen and the anterior chamber in vivo and immediately after enucleation during the early postoperative period. The absence of an evident inflammatory reaction in the examined case should be considered with caution because of possible tumor-induced immune suppression.
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