Yesterday’s feature health article, over at the New York Times, was about an experimental neurosurgical procedure, conducted at Roosevelt Hospital in Manhattan on a young patient with a brain aneurysm. The technique, called ELANA (Excimer Laser Assisted Non-occlusive Anastomosis), was pioneered by Dr. Cornelius Tulleken from the Netherlands. According to the NYT, this laser surgery for aneurysms could reduce the risk of stroke from 15 percent to 12 percent. It is essentially an intracranial vascular bypass procedure that utilizes a laser to create a bypass around the aneurysm. Similarly, the technique could be used to create a bypass around a “tumor, atherosclerosis or any other occlusion of a blood vessel.”
Here’s how Elana bv, a spinoff company of the University Medical Center in Utrecht that makes equipment for this surgery, describes the technique:
The main blood vessel is not occluded with clips. No holes are made just yet. The donor vessels are sutured to the main vessel together with a metal ring.
A hollow catheter conducting laser light is slid in the donor vessel. By means of a vacuum pump the hollow catheter sucks the wall of the main blood vessel against the catheter. With laser light the catheter cuts a round hole in the wall of the main vessel. The metal ring ensure that the catheter sits in place and doesn’t shoot through.
The catheter is retracted from the donor vessel where blood will instantly start flowing. The donor vessel (not the main vessel) is concluded temporarily with a clip. The cut out tissue of the blood vessel wall is sucked against the catheter tip. This procedure is also applied on the right donor vessel.
The donor vessels are sutured together.
The clips are now removed from the donor vessels and the blood flows through. The aneurysm can now be taken out of the blood circulation.
Elana bv company website…