BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Laser-based repairing techniques offer several advantages respect to standard suturing in microsurgery. In this work we evaluate the applicability and feasibility of two innovative laser-based approaches for microvascular repair and anastomoses: (1) laser-assisted vascular repair (LAVR); (2) laser-assisted end-to-end vascular anastomosis (LAVA). All these procedures have been executed by the use of diode laser irradiation and chitosan-patches infused with Indocyanine Green (ICG).
STUDY DESIGN/MATERIALS AND METHODS: Experiments were performed on 30 rabbits. Twenty animals underwent LAVR and 10 end-to-end LAVA procedures. In the LAVR group, a 5-mm longitudinal cut was performed on the common carotid artery (CCA), then an ICG-infused chitosan patch was topically applied and laser-soldered over the arterial lesion. In the LAVA group the end-to-end anastomosis was executed on CCA by means of application of the three interrupted sutures and subsequent laser soldering of the ICG-infused patch. Animals underwent different follow-up periods (2, 7, 30, and 90 days). At the end of every follow-up, the animals were re-anesthetized and a microdoppler analysis was performed in order to check patency of the treated vessels. Then soldered segments were excised and subjected to histological and ultrastructural evaluations.
RESULTS: At the end of surgery no bleeding from the treated segment was observed; all the treated vessels were patent. At the end of follow-up periods, no signs of perivascular haemorrhage were found. An intraoperative microdoppler evaluation assessed the patency of all the treated vessels. Histology showed a good reorganization of the vascular wall structures and an early endothelial regeneration was observed by SEM.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrated the efficacy of laser tissue soldering by means of ICG-infused chitosan patches for the in vivo repairing of microvascular lesions and end-to-end anastomoses. This approach offers several advantages over conventional suturing methods and is technically easy to perform, minimizing the surgical trauma to vessels.