Laser welding of microvessels provides several advantages over conventional suturing techniques: surgical times
reduction, vascular healing process improvement, tissue damage reduction. We present the first application of
biopolymeric patches in an in vivo laser assisted procedure for vessel repair. The study was performed in 20 New
Zealand rabbits. After anesthesia, a 3-cm segment of the right common carotid artery was exposed and clamped
proximally and distally. A linear lesion 3 mm in length was carried out. We used a diode laser emitting at 810 nm and
equipped with a 300 μm diameter optical fiber. To close the cut, ICG-loaded chitosan films were prepared: chitosan is
characterized by biodegradability, biocompatibility, antimicrobial, haemostatic and wound healing-promoting activity.
ICG is an organic chromophore commonly used in the laser welding procedures to mediate the photothermal conversion
at the basis of the welding effect. The membranes were used to wrap the whole length of the cut, and then they were
welded in the correct position by delivering single laser spots to induce local patch/tissue adhesion. The result is an
immediate closure of the wound, with no bleeding at clamps release. The animals were observed during follow-up and
sacrificed after 2, 7, 30 and 90 days. All the repaired vessels were patent, no bleeding signs were documented. The
carotid samples underwent histological examinations. The advantages of the proposed technique are: simplification of
the surgical procedure and shortening of the operative time; good strength of the vessel repair; decreased foreign-body
reaction, reduced inflammatory response and improved vascular healing process.