This study demonstrates the feasibility of acute extraluminal expansion to elongate arteries intraoperatively in order to overcome defects too large to be repaired primarily. Twenty Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into two groups: an expander-elongation group and a nonexpanded control group of 10 rats each. Arterial resections were performed ranging from 6 to 22 mm. A miniaturized tissue expander was used to stretch vessels in three consecutive cycles over a 15- to 20-minute period (expander-elongation group). Defects twice as long as those which could be overcome by mobilization alone (nonexpanded control group) could be closed following the application of this technique without thrombosis. Initial laboratory findings and the application of this method in a clinical case are presented.
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