Nanotechnology and vascular neurosurgery: An in vivo experimental study on microvessels repair using laser photoactivation of a nanostructured hyaluronan solder

G. Esposito, F. Rossi, P. Matteini, F. Ratto, G. Sabatino, A. Puca, A. Albanese, G. Rossi, E. Marchese, G. Maira, R. Pini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sealing tissues by laser in neurosurgical procedures may overcome problems related to the use of conventional suturing methods which can be associated with various degrees of vascular wall damage. Despite the significant experimental and clinical achievements of the past, a standardized clinical application of laser-welding technology has not yet been implemented. The main problem is related to the use of common organic chromophores. A substantial breakthrough in the laser welding of biological tissues may come from the advent of nanotechnologies. In this paper we describe an experimental study, to confirm the feasibility of an innovative laser-assisted vascular repair (LAVR) technique based on diode laser irradiation and subsequent photoactivation of a hyaluronan solder embedded with near infrared (NIR) absorbing gold nanorods (GNRs), and to analyze the induced closuring effect in a follow-up study performed in animal model. Twenty New Zealand rabbits underwent closure of a 3-mm longitudinal incision performed on the common carotid artery (CCA) by means of 810 nm diode laser irradiation, in conjunction with the topical application of an optimized GNR composite. Effective closure of the arterial wound was accomplished by using very low laser intensity (30 W/cm2). The average CCA occlusion time was as low as 50 sec. Animals underwent different follow-up periods (2, 8, 30 days). After follow-up, they were re-anesthetized, the patency of the treated vessels was tested (Doppler analysis) and then the irradiated vessels were excised and subjected to histological evaluations. Morphological examinations of the samples documented the integrity of the vascular wall. No host reaction to nanoparticles occurred. Collagen and elastic fibers returned to their normal architecture 30 days after treatment. A Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) examination and immuno-histochemical analysis demonstrated a full re-endothelization of the vessel walls. We thus confirmed that a laser-based approach is technically easy to perform, and provides several advantages, such as a simplification of the surgical procedure, a reduction in the operative time, and the suppression of bleeding. The use of GNRs improves the selectivity of welding and minimizes the surgical trauma to vessels, resulting in an optimal healing process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-456
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Regulators and Homeostatic Agents
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


  • Diode laser
  • Gold nanoparticles
  • Laser soldering
  • Microsurgery
  • Nanotechnology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Photothermal effect
  • Vessel repair

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Endocrinology
  • Physiology
  • Cancer Research


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