Patients with complex craniocerebral pathophysiologies such as giant cerebral aneurysms, skull base tumors, and/or carotid artery occlusive disease are candidates for a revascularization procedure to augment or preserve cerebral blood flow. However, the brain is susceptible to ischemia, and therefore the excimer laser–assisted nonocclusive anastomosis (ELANA) technique has been developed to overcome temporary occlusion. Harvesting autologous vessels of reasonable quality, which is necessary for this technique, may at times be problematic or impossible due to the underlying systemic vascular disease. The use of artificial vessels is therefore an alternative graft for revascularization. Note, however, that it is unknown to what degree these grafts are subject to occlusion using the ELANA anastomosis technique. Therefore, the authors studied the ELANA technique in combination with an expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) graft.
The experimental surgeries involved bypassing the abdominal aorta in the rabbit. Ten rabbits were subjected to operations representing 20 ePTFE graft–ELANA end-to-side anastomoses. Intraoperative blood flow, follow-up angiograms, and long-term histological characteristics were assessed 75, 125, and 180 days postoperatively. Angiography results proved long-term patency of ePTFE grafts in all animals at all time points studied. Data from the histological analysis showed minimal intimal reaction at the anastomosis site up to 180 days postoperatively. Endothelialization of the ePTFE graft was progressive over time.
The ELANA technique in combination with the ePTFE graft seems to have favorable attributes for end-to-side anastomoses and may be suitable for bypass procedures.