Amnitrans Eyebank Rotterdam
Amnitrans EyeBank Rotterdam (AER) is a nonprofit tissue bank that delivers customized tissue products to corneal surgeons at home and abroad. AER’s primary activities are recovering tissue and preparing this material for use in lamellar surgical procedures. We have been doing this work since 2003, and we were the first tissue bank in the world to offer this service.
That’s no surprise, since every lamellar transplantation technique to date has been developed by our umbrella organization, NIIOS (Netherlands Institute for Innovative Ocular Surgery). Other organizations under the same roof are Melles Cornea Clinic, NIIOS R&D and NIIOS Academy. Thanks to this tight collaboration, we are able to provide services for the complete cornea transplant chain, from donor through tissue bank to patient. Nowadays AER is the most technically advanced tissue bank in Europe.
New Preparation Techniques
Working with NIIOS, AER has developed new preparation techniques for lamellar corneal transplantation procedures such as DSEK (Descemet stripping endothelial keratoplasty), (advanced) DMEK (Descemet membrane endothelial keratoplasty) and Bowman layer transplantation. For DMEK, AER makes use of the “no-touch” technique: the graft tissue does not come into contact with any instruments during preparation. That eliminates the risk of damaging the tissue to be transplanted.
Read more about Amnitrans EyeBank’s tissue products and services.
Expanding the Tissue Supply
The lamellar techniques developed by Amnitrans EyeBank and NIIOS have expanded the supply of graft tissue available to patients. For example, a cornea that is not suitable for a full transplant due to scarring on its front no longer has to be discarded. As long as sufficient vital endothelial cells are present in the cornea’s back layer, the tissue can be used for a posterior lamellar keratoplasty procedure such as DSEK or DMEK.
One donor cornea can sometimes be used for two patients: the front for a DALK (deep anterior lamellar keratoplasty) or Bowman layer transplantation, and the back for a posterior lamellar keratoplasty procedure such as DSEK or DMEK. Our hemi-DMEK technique has further expanded the tissue supply: using this procedure, the same donor pool can theoretically provide tissue for up to twice the number of transplants.