Single needle revision of failing filtration blebs: A retrospective comparative case series with 5-fluorouracil and mitomycin C

Neal Palejwala, Parul Ichhpujani, Ghasem Fakhraie, Jonathan S. Myers, Marlene R. Moster, L. Jay Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


PURPOSE. To assess the success of needling in failed filtration blebs and the potential benefit of using either 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) or mitomycin C (MMC). METHODS. In this retrospective, comparative observational case series, 107 eyes that underwent needle revision with either 5-FU or MMC between July 2003 and May 2008 at Wills Eye Institute were selected. Exclusion criteria included follow-up less than 1 month and a history of glaucoma drainage device. Intraocular pressure (IOP) and number of glaucoma medications were recorded preoperatively and postoperatively. Success was defined as >20% decrease in IOP if glaucoma medications were resumed or <10% decrease in IOP if medications were not resumed post needling or fewer medications than pre needling. RESULTS. Sixty-five patients received 5-FU and 42 patients received MMC for needling. Mean IOP changed from 23.9 mmHg to 13.8 mmHg in the MMC group and from 23.3 mmHg to 13.02 mmHg in the 5-FU group (both p<0.001). Mean glaucoma medications changed from 1.7 to 0.7 in the MMC group and 2.0 to 0.8 in the 5-FU group (both p<0.001) at the end of follow-up. After a mean follow-up of 14.5 months, overall survival was 49.5%. Mean time to failure was 7.7 months. There was a moderately weak association between survival and the immediate postoperative IOP (r=0.262, p=0.01). In comparing MMC and 5-FU, there was no statistically significant difference in survival rate (p=0.267). CONCLUSIONS. Bleb needling may be a safe and effective means of prolonging bleb survival. The only factor associated with success was the immediate postoperative IOP. There was no apparent difference between the use of 5-FU and MMC in this population. A prospective study may provide further confirmation of this finding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1026-1034
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean journal of ophthalmology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2010


  • 5-Fluorouracil
  • Failed bleb
  • Mitomycin C
  • Needling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology


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