TissueTuck Technique Prevents Most Pterygium Recurrence

A pterygium surgery technique may be able to prevent most cases of recurrence.

TissueTuck, a surgical technique that employs a cryopreserved amniotic membrane can effectively reduce likely pterygium recurrence, according to a paper presentation offered at the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery meeting in San Diego, CA, May 5 to 8, 2023. The research was presented by the surgeon who developed the technique.1

The research evaluated records of 44 eyes of 42 patients (mean age, 60.5±10.9 years old) with recurrent pterygium that were treated with a cryopreserved amniotic membrane using the TissueTuck technique. The study was presented by Neel Desai, MD, of the Eye Institute of West Florida, who pioneered the technique. Most patients, (84.1%) had single-headed  recurrent pterygium, the other 15.9% had double-headed recurrent pterygium. The study assessed the patients’ baseline characteristics, best corrected visual acuity (BCVA), and rate of recurrence.

The mean postoperative follow-up period was 24.6±18.3 months. Patients who underwent TissueTuck experienced a significant improvement in BCVA from 0.16 logMAR at baseline to 0.10 logMAR at last postoperative follow-up (P = 0.01), according to the report.

Only 1 eye (2.3%) in the study experienced pterygium recurrence.

Pterygium — sometimes called “surfer’s eye” — is a noncancerous growth that develops with overexposure to wind, debris such as sand or dust, and ultraviolet light. Although surgical options can successfully remove the growth, its recurrence rate is high, by some estimates up to 89%. 

Risk for recurrence is increased in patients who have dry eye disease, Black race, are men, or are younger than age 40.2 Additionally, excessive suturing, insufficient conjunctival graft size, thick conjunctival graft with remained Tenon tissue, and postoperative graft retraction are themselves recurrence risk factors.3 Conventional surgical methods relocate parts of the conjunctiva and create 2 surgical wounds,  causing additional inflammation, scarring, discomfort, and recovery time for patients, according to Dr Desai. His practice’s website suggests that TissueTuck better seals the gap from which pterygium recurrence can originate and reconstructs the fold, preventing pyogenic granulomas, scar tissue, muscle restriction, blurry vision, and pterygium recurrence. This approach diminishes inflammation and surgical trauma.4

Left untreated, the epithelial and fibrovascular tissue of the pterygium can invade the cornea and lead to impaired vision, induced astigmatism, and recurrent inflammation.3


  1. Desai N, Adams BS. Outcomes of the Tissuetuck Surgical Technique for Recurrent Pterygium. Poster presented at: American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS) 2023 annual meeting; May 5-8, 2023. Paper 89982.
  2. Fernandes M, Sangwan VS, Bansal AK, et al. Outcome of pterygium surgery: analysis over 14 years. Eye. 2005;19(11):1182–1190. doi:10.1038/sj.eye.6701728
  3. Ghiasian L, Samavat B, Hadi Y, Arbab M, Abolfathzadeh N. Recurrent pterygium: A review. J Curr Ophthalmol. 2021;33(4):367-378. doi:10.4103/joco.joco_153_20
  4. Tissue tuck technique provides alternative method of pterygium removal – Neel Desai, MD. The Eye Institute Of West Florida. https://www.eyespecialist.com/2020/07/08/tissue-tuck-technique-provides-alternative-method-of-pterygium-removal-neel-desai-md. Updated May 11th, 2021. Accessed May 10, 2023.