Traditional microsurgery involves the use of bulky and expensive stereo microscopes that have limited portability. Recent advances in video technology have enabled the exploration of alternative visualization methods. The purpose of this study was to evaluate standard laparoscopic equipment for microvascular anastomoses. Eight surgeons completed anastomoses on rat femoral and synthetic vessels using stereo microsurgery and video microsurgery, visualization systems. All surgeons had previous experience with stereo microsurgery and none had ever used video microsurgery. Data were collected on overall anastomosis and individual suture times. A sample of completed anastomoses was placed in a video database and evaluated by use of a quality rating scale (8 to 10, excellent; 6 to 7, adequate; less than 6, poor). All surgeons subjectively evaluated the video microsurgery system. A total of 48 anastomoses were completed. The average total anastomosis time for the stereo microsurgery was 1018.9 ± 463.2 seconds versus 1738.9 ± 460.1 seconds for the video microsurgery. The average individual suture placement time was 114.6 ± 60.6 seconds for the stereo microsurgery versus 211.7 ± 128.4 seconds for the video microsurgery (p < 0.05). Twenty-five of the anastomoses underwent quality review. The overall score of the stereo microsurgery group was 8.1 ± 1.7, and the video microsurgery group had an overall score of 7.3 ± 1.6. Survey results revealed that 75 percent of the participants thought that the video microsurgery would be useful for human operations and would improve surgeon comfort, but 87.5 percent would not use the present video microsurgery system over stereo microsurgery in their practice. Although significant differences exist in overall anastomosis and individual suture completion times, no difference was found in the overall quality. Video microsurgery could become a useful tool on the basis of surgeon ergonomics; however, optical parameters require further refinement.
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