A new method for mechanical anastomosis of small vessels—the Unilink device—has been tested in 23 rabbits. A total of 81 arterial and venous anastomoses were performed. One of the arterial anastomoses were throm-botized, while the remaining 80 anastomoses were fully patent at 2 or 16 weeks. The repair process at the anastomotic site was very rapid both in arteries and veins. The endothelialization was complete at 2 weeks, but a marked atrophy of the media was noted in the arterial anastomoses. The same phenomenon was observed in the venous anastomosis, but to a much lesser degree. Thrombus formation was extremely rare, and the atrophy of the media did not seem to affect the patency rate. The experiment has confirmed that the Unilink method provides a very safe, fast, and simple way to perform micro-vascular anastomoses.
©1987American Society of Plastic Surgeons