Penetrating or lamellar corneal transplantation

Book an appointment. Tell us what date and time you prefer
Less than
ejection risk
More than
corneal transplantations per year
raft survival rate
Penetrating or lamellar corneal transplantation

What does it involve?

Corneal transplantation (keratoplasty) can be penetrating, when it involves replacing the entire cornea, or lamellar or selective, when only the affected layers are replaced.

Therefore, depending on the location of the damage, different lamellar transplantation types are possible:

  • Endothelial corneal transplantation (DMEK): when the lesion is produced on the endothelium or innermost layer.
  • Anterior corneal transplantation: when the lesion is produced in the stroma, which represents 95% of the total thickness of the cornea.

Where the epithelium, the outermost layer, is affected, a corneal stem cell transplantation is required.

When is it carried out?

Keratoplasty is performed to maintain the transparency and regularity of the cornea and is especially recommended for patients who, due to diseases such as keratoconus or due to an accident, have damaged the entire thickness of the cornea or any of its layers. In this latter case, the IMO specialists generally recommend lamellar techniques, which are less invasive than penetrating keratoplasty.

70% of all corneal transplants performed at the Institute are selective, as they are less aggressive surgeries that cut down on recover time, improve the prognosis and reduce any short and long-term complications and the risk of rejection.

Prior examination

A full ophthalmological examination and pre-operative tests must be performed.

During surgery

The surgery takes 30 to 40 minutes and is performed under local anaesthesia and sedation.

After surgery

Strenuous activity should be avoided for three weeks after surgery.


Those associated with any surgery. Despite being much lower than in the transplantation of any other tissue and having been reduced greatly thanks to selective techniques, the risk of rejection exists throughout the patient's entire lifetime.

You may be interested in