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Long term results of punctoplasty with canalicular triangular flap in punctal stenosis.

PURPOSE: The aim was to describe the punctoplasty technique with canalicular triangular flap, and present the long-term results of the technique in patients with inferior punctal stenosis.

METHODS: The files of the patients who were diagnosed with punctal stenosis grade 0, 1, and 2 and underwent a canalicular triangular flap were evaluated retrospectively. The study was approved by the local ethical committee of the University of Health Sciences, Prof. Dr. Cemil Tascioglu City Hospital, Istanbul. The demographic data, symptoms, prior interventions, punctal stenosis grading, associated eye pathologies, fluorescein clearance test, Munk score, and follow-up time were recorded. The puncta were evaluated biomicroscopically, and photographs were taken at each visit. The patients with at least 6 months of follow-up were included in the study. The loss of epiphora symptom, positive dye disappearance, and puncti ≥grade 3 opening were accepted as a success.

RESULTS: A hundred and nine inferior puncti of 64 patients with symptoms of epiphora and punctal stenosis diagnosis were included in the study. Thirteen eyes were excluded as they were diagnosed to have punctal atresia or canalicular stenosis of a variable degree beyond punctum. The rest 96 eyes of 55 patients-65 eyes of 36 females and 31 eyes of 19 males-were included in the study as having pure punctal stenosis. The mean age of the patients was 64.3 ± 9.01 years (40-88 years). Forty-one patients had bilateral and 14 patients had unilateral punctal stenosis. Sixty-six were grade 1, and 30 were grade 2. Epiphora was the most commonly reported symptom.The mean follow-up time was 21.17 ± 10.5 months (6-46 months). In 76 (79.1%) eyes of 96, Munk score was 0 and in 15 (15.6%) eyes, Munk score was 1. Anatomical success as having puncta larger than grade 2 was recorded in 97.9%, and functional success was recorded in 94.6% of anatomically successful eyes. No restenosis was recorded in any punctum.

CONCLUSION: Although the techniques of 1-snip, 2-snip, 3-snip, and 4-snip punctoplasty are performed with variable success rates in punctal stenosis patients, there is always a risk of restenosis due to the incision of the flap and unpredictability of the way the tissues will epithelize. In the canalicular triangular flap technique, the canalicular mucosal flap is preserved, and the continuity of the lacrimal mucosa with conjunctiva is provided, which utilizes appropriate re-epithelization of the wound edges, resulting in a wide punctal opening for the upper lacrimal system in the long term.

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