This study focuses on the histomorphologic damage produced by an acute elongation process, as well as on quantifying the alterations in arterial contractility following the application of this technique. Light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy studies were prepared from expanded and non- expanded pig superficial femoral arteries (SFA) harvested immediately following expansion, and again at 24- and 72-hr intervals. Histologically, the expanded vessels showed minor, patchy, endothelial slough, but no fragmentation of the internal or external elastic lamina. At 24 hr, the endothelium showed reactive changes, but no evidence of smooth-muscle necrosis of the tunica media was observed. At 72 hr, healing of the endothelium was evident by SEM. Similar specimens, also from the SFA, were harvested and placed in organ chambers immediately following expansion and 24 hr later, to measure contractility when exposed to alpha-adrenergic agonists. The vessels were exposed to the contractile agonists, phenylephrine and 5- hydroxytryptamine, which evoked similar concentration-dependent increases in tension in both the expanded group and the controls. From these observations, the authors conclude that acute intraoperative elongation of arteries results in only minor endothelial damage, without affecting the inherent contractility of the vessel wall.
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