Vessel sealing has been well-established in surgical practice in recent years. Bipolar radiofrequency-induced thermofusion (BIRTH) of intestinal tissue might replace traditionally used staples or sutures in the near future. In this experimental study, the influence of compressive pressure, fusion temperature, and duration of heating on the quality of intestinal anastomosis was investigated to obtain the relevant major parameters for the in vivo use of this system. An experimental setup for a closed-loop temperature-controlled bipolar radiofrequency-induced thermofusion of porcine intestinal tissue was developed. Twenty-four colon samples were harvested from nine different Saalower-Kräuter pigs and then anastomosed altering compressive pressure on five different levels to explore its influence on anastomotic bursting pressure. The anastomotic bursting strength depends on the compressive pressure applied to the colonic fusion site. An optimal interval of compressive pressure (CP = 1.125 N/mm2) in respect of a high amount of burst pressure was detected. A correlation (r = 0.54, p = 0.015) of burst pressure to delta compression indicated that increasing colonic wall thickness probably strengthens the anastomotic fusion. This study is a first step to enlighten the major parameters of tissue fusion, though effects and interactions of various main parameters of bipolar radiofrequency-induced thermofusion of colonic tissue remain unclear. Further studies exploring the main effects and interactions of tissue and process parameters to the quality of the fusion site have to follow.
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