For vascular anastomosis, use of topical photosensitizing dye enhances selective delivery of laser energy to target tissue, thus reducing the amount of collateral thermal injury and threshold power required for welding. For fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)—stained rabbit aorta in vitro, the threshold for tissue blanching was 15 seconds of 100 mW exposure of cw argon ion laser compared with 15 seconds at 300 mW for unstained tissue. The threshold power density needed for argon laser welding of abdominal aortotomies in rabbits in vivo was 3.8 W/cm2 with FITC and 7.6 W/cm2 without the dye. However, bursting pressures for the two groups (164 mm Hg with FITC, 147 mm Hg without FITC) were not significantly different. Histology revealed decreased collateral thermal damage in FITC‐enhanced welds. Use of photosensitizing dyes for tissue welding is feasible and may allow arterial welding with lower power laser systems and cause less thermal trauma by lowering threshold power levels.
- argon ion laser
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