High-burst-strength, feedback-controlled bipolar vessel sealing
Background: The inherent tedium of intracorporeal knot tying has stimulated greater interest in energy-based and mechanical alternatives for hemostasis.
Methods: Three hundred thirty-one arteries and veins were sealed by application of precisely controlled electrothermal energy and physical pressure, allowing for brief cooling in compression, in experimental animals and fresh abattoir vessels. These seals were compared for bursting strength with occlusions by ultrasonic and bipolar coagulation, surgical clips, and ligatures.
Results: Ultrasonic and bipolar occlusions were significantly less likely to have burst strengths greater than 400 mmHg as compared with seals, clips, and ligatures (p < 0.001). Seal competence could be visually assessed by its translucence.
Conclusions: Precise energy control with physical compression, including a brief cooldown, produces a distinctive, translucent seal of partially denatured protein that can typically be transected after a single application. These seals have bursting strengths comparable to those of clips and ligatures and resist dislodgement because they are intrinsic to the vessel wall structure.
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