Controlled subretinal injection pressure prevents damage in pigs

3 Citations (Scopus)


INTRODUCTION: Administration of retinal gene and stem cell therapy in patients with retinal degenerative diseases is in many cases dependent on a subretinal approach. It has been indicated that manual subretinal injection is associated with outer retinal damage, which may be explained by a high flow rate in the injection cannula. In the present porcine study, we evaluated flow-related retinal damage after controlled subretinal injection at different flow rates.

METHODS: The flow rate through a 41G cannula was estimated at different injection pressures (6-48 pounds per square inch [PSI]) in an in vitro setup. A linear correlation between the flow rate and injection pressure was found from 6 to 32 PSI. In full anesthesia, 12 pigs were vitrectomized and received a controlled subretinal injection of 300 μL balanced saline solution at injection pressures of 14, 24, and 32 PSI (four in each group). Prior to surgery and 2 and 4 weeks after surgery, the eyes were examined by multifocal electroretinogram (mfERG) and fundus photographs. At the end of follow-up, the eyes were enucleated for histology.

RESULTS: The in vitro flow study determined that the flow in a 41G cannula shifts from laminar to turbulent at 32 PSI and that the manual injection flow is turbulent. In the porcine study, we showed a significant difference in retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) damage between the three pressure groups (p = 0.0096). There was no significant difference in damage to the outer retina (p = 0.1526), but the high-pressure group (32 PSI) had the most outer retinal damage. The middle-pressure group (24 PSI) showed minimum retinal damage. There was no significant change in the mfERG ratios during follow-up.

DISCUSSION/CONCLUSION: This study indicates that an injection pressure at approximately 24 PSI might be safe for subretinal delivery. Retinal damage at low injection pressures may be explained by mechanical damage to the RPE due to prolonged needle time in the subretinal space, while retinal damage at high pressures can be related to high flow in the injection cannula. Controlled subretinal injection pressure of 24 PSI showed minimum mechanical- and flow-related damage to the porcine retina.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)285-294
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Animals
  • Electroretinography
  • Humans
  • Injections
  • Retina/pathology
  • Retinal Degeneration/etiology
  • Retinal Pigment Epithelium/pathology
  • Swine
  • Retinal pathology
  • Pig
  • Multifocal electroretinogram
  • Subretinal surgery
  • Gene therapy


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