Up Close: A device to connect veins

The device that is used to connect two veins is shown in close-up. (photos by William Mueller)

The device that is used to connect two veins is shown above in close-up and below. (photos by William Mueller)

Microvascular surgery involves transplanting tissue from one part of the body to another, which requires tiny blood vessels to be reconnected.

The device that is used to connect two veins. (photos by William Mueller)Surgeons such as Jesse Ryan, MD, an assistant professor in the Upstate department of otolaryngology – head and neck surgery — need to make sure the blood vessels are connected properly and flowing after an operation.

Jesse Ryan, MD

Jesse Ryan, MD

A flow coupler (made by Synovis MCA) is a tiny implant that can be used to reconnect small veins during microvascular surgery. The implant both connects two veins together and monitors blood flow through the vein using a tiny ultrasonic Doppler probe. A small box that sits at the patient’s bedside alerts nurses if a problem develops with blood flow in the small vein during recovery. This may allow a problem, such as a blood clot, to be detected quickly so that the surgery can be salvaged. The Doppler wire is removed after a few days of close monitoring.

Ryan says “the flow coupler is an innovative technology that has helped us take better care of our patients by giving us a tool to monitor the transplanted tissue more closely following a large cancer surgery.”

Cover of spring 2020 issue of Cancer Care magazine

This article is from the spring 2020 issue of Cancer Care magazine.

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