The CO2 laser can weld vessels together and vaporize plaque. This study evaluates its use as an intraluminal reparative tool. In 17 dogs, a 1-cm circumferential intimectomy with a 1-mm distal intimal flap was performed in both carotids. In each dog, one carotid (CON, control) underwent suture flap repair. On the contralateral side (LR, laser repair), the flap was tacked with 20 250-mW 1-sec pulses and the denuded medium was g-lased for 90 sec (250 mW continuous). Animals were randomized into five groups and sacrificed on the day of surgery (Group I, n = 3), at 3 days (Group II, n = 3), at 1 week (Group III, n = 4), at 2 weeks (Group IV, n = 4), or at 4 weeks (Group V, n = 3). Vessel patencies were 88.2 and 82.4% for CON and LR, respectively. Flap repair appeared similar. No aneurysms were noted. Histology revealed a relative absence of platelet adherence to the g-lased surfaces in Groups I and II when compared to that of mechanical methods (CON). The ratio of the thickness of the regenerated surface to the total wall thickness demonstrated hyperplasia in LR vessels (0.54 ± 0.12) when compared to that in CON (0.30 ± 0.15) at 2 and 4 weeks (ANOVA, P < 0.001). Coverage with endothelial-like cells appeared complete at 4 weeks in both methods. The CO2 laser can effectively repair intimal flaps. However, our results demonstrate a significant increase in medial hyperplasia following g-lasing even in the face of minimal early platelet adherence. This may prove detrimental to the long-term patency of intraluminal CO2 laser-treated vessels.
ASJC Scopus subject areas