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44 PTFE prostheses (Gore-Tex®; ID 1 mm) were implanted into rats' femoral veins by means of the sleeve anastomotic technique and were evaluated at regular intervals from 1 h up till 24 weeks after implantation by means of light and electron microscopy to study in detail their healing process.
All prostheses, except one at 1 week and one at 24 weeks after implantation, were patent at the time of removal. Upon implantation, the luminal surface of the prostheses became covered with a thin clot layer. From 1 week onwards, endothelial cells originating from the anastomotic sides grew in across the anastomoses. In addition, small capillarylike orifices were present at the anastomotic sites, from which endothelial cells also seemed to originate. At 2 weeks, in several areas in the mid-region of the prostheses, the fronts of regenerating endothelial cells had reached each other, and about 80% of the luminal surface was covered by endothelium and at 3 weeks, the prostheses were completely covered by an endothelial layer.
These results demonstrate that PTFE microvenous prostheses heal exclusively by means of rapid ingrowth of endothelial cells originating from both sides at the anastomoses.
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Accepted: September 7, 1992
Received: July 28, 1992
© 1993 The British Association of Plastic Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.