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MNTK Eye Microsurgery in Saint Petersburg: the highest number of ReLEx® SMILE surgeries for the last 4 years

In 2017–2020 eye surgeons at the Saint Petersburg branch of MNTK Eye Microsurgery performed over 16 thousand ReLEx® SMILE laser vision correction procedures. They demonstrated the highest growth in the number of surgeries among the clinics of Russia and the CIS countries over the last 4 years and performed over 4,000 surgeries, which is the largest number of procedures in one clinic in a year.

ZEISS VisuMax® femtosecond laser was installed in MNTK Eye Microsurgery in Saint Petersburg in 2013 and they were the third among MNTK Eye Microsurgery branches and the fifth clinic in Russia to have this kind of laser. Today MNTK Eye Microsurgery offers all state-of-the-art laser vision correction techniques: almost 85 % of surgeries are performed with ReLEx® SMILE technique using ZEISS VisuMax® femtosecond laser.

Aleksey Valerievich Titov

Aleksey Valerievich Titov, board-certified ophthalmologist, Head of Refractive Surgery and Corneal Pathology department at MNTK Eye Microsurgery Saint Petersburg branch:

«We did not experience any particular difficulties when mastering the technology, as our doctors had vast experience in refractory surgery. It took some time to select optimal energy parameters of the femtosecond laser and make it an ideal tool for the procedure.

Actually, it took more effort to prove to patients that the new method, along with the previous laser vision correction generations, is safe and predictable and the fact there is no need to create a flap removes many associated constraints.»

In Refractive Surgery and Corneal Pathology department at MNTK Eye Microsurgery Saint Petersburg branch, specialists apply best practices and techniques in refractive surgery to cure patients with various cornea diseases.

Aleksey Valerievich Titov:
«A surgeon who is not interested in scientific analysis of the results is an „artisan“. When mastering ReLEx® SMILE technique and in our further practice we saw our goal in making this surgery procedure even better, predictable in terms of results, safe and comfortable for patients.»

Specialists of MNTK Eye Microsurgery (Saint Petersburg) use ZEISS VisuMax® femtosecond laser not only in refraction correction but also in further handling of the lenticular material obtained upon ReLEx® SMILE procedure. Particularly, to perform surgeries to treat disorders of cornea, for example, various types of keratoplasty and formation of intracorneal tunnels to implant corneal rings and segments. Application of lenticular material is now one of the promising types of cornea disorder treatments. The Saint Petersburg branch of MNTK Eye Microsurgery has an Eye Bank (cornea storage) allowing them to work with lenticular material, accumulate and use it in scientific research.

Aleksey Valerievich Titov:

«After a ReLEx® SMILE surgery we have a piece of a healthy cornea which in many cases is discarded now. In our center, we keep it in order to use later to treat various diseases.

Many severe forms of cornea disorders, for example, keratoconus or pellucid marginal corneal degeneration, require cornea transplantation. Lenticular material allows us to perform surgeries preserving the patient’s own cornea and thus eliminating the risk related to graft rejection.»

Having used the ReLEx® SMILE technology for over 8 years, the Saint Petersburg branch of MNTK Eye Microsurgery became a leader in Europe, Russia and the former Soviet countries in terms of the number of ReLEx® SMILE surgeries performed.

Aleksey Valerievich Titov:
«Professional success for me is this glint of happiness in the eyes of patients who can, thanks to our work, see the world in all its beauty and do not need glasses or contact lenses. Also, it is the opportunity to work with state-of-the-art equipment and use technologies that restore vision in patients who might have already lost their hope.»

ReLEx® SMILE is a femtosecond laser vision correction technology owned by Carl Zeiss Meditec company. It was developed in 2007 by a team of eye practitioners lead by Walter Secundo and Markus Bloom. SMILE® surgery is performed with ZEISS VisuMax® femtosecond laser and allows correction of myopia and astigmatism in a fast manner, with no pain and minimal surgical intervention.

Aleksey Valerievich Titov

By now it has been proved to be fully safe and effective. By March 2021, over 4 million laser vision correction procedures were performed globally using the ReLEx® SMILE technique. In the last two years the number of SMILE® surgeries has doubled: from 2 to 4 million. Russia ranks third overall (after China and South Korea) in the number of surgeries.

Aleksey Valerievich Titov:
«The way I see it, there are no obstacles today for the surgeons in mastering and implementing the ReLEx® SMILE technology in their practice. In our experience, this surgery is quite simple to master and perform for doctors, and for patients it is predictable, stable in its results, painless and well-tolerated.»