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Monday, August 29th 2011

Sutureless Vascular Anastamosis

During my intern year I did a non-clinical rotation focused on microsurgical skills in the lab. Much like the video above using the endoscopic tools trying to put together a “vascular” anastamosis.

It is a tough skill. And a tedious one. Imagine an external carotid to internal carotid bypass without the sewing; that might cut the operating time in half. A group at Stanford think they have proof of concept for a very neat non-suturing technique for putting blood vessels of all sizes together.

It isn’t what they use to put the vessels together. Apparently in the animal model they’re simply using Dermabond, used everyday as the final step in closing the skin by myself and thousands upon thousands of other surgeons. It’s essentially a surgical glue.

However keeping the vessel lumens patent and holding them together temporarily while you apply the Dermabond appeared to have been the challenge. The team at Stanford has a new use for a previous polymer which they place inside the vessels to hold them together, and then when heated breaks up harmlessly and reestablishes the lumen between the two vessels.

I’ll be honest, this is pitched as novel, I’m not sure if other research along the lines of this preceded this announcement by the scientists at Stanford, but if something simpler than the current suture techniques comes into clinical practice by the time I’m done with residency…well, that will be exciting for me.