A simple method of performing the laser-assisted end-to-side microvascular anastomosis was devised. This technique was tested on 150 Sprague-Dawley rats in two separate series of experiments. In the first, end-to-side anastomoses were performed on the iliac artery under the normal tension due to the elastic recoil of severed vessels. Four stay sutures were placed 90 degrees apart, and the intervals were 'spot welded' with a low-wattage CO2 microsurgical laser unit. The patency rate (96 percent) was equivalent to that found in a control group utilizing the conventional all-suture method (92 percent), but there was a significantly higher aneurysm rate (44 versus 11 percent). In a second model, an arterial bypass with very low anastomotic tension was performed around an obstruction created in the carotid artery. This model resulted in turbulent flow but low anastomotic tension. Here the laser-anastomosis patency rate was 98 percent, versus 42 percent for the conventional all-suture method. The placement of fewer sutures in association with turbulent flow in this model may account for the improved patency rate. The avoidance of excessive tension at the anastomotic site reduced the incidence of aneurysms to a negligible level.
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