Background. Clinical and experimental cardiovascular surgery as well as other surgical disciplines may require visualization and manipulation of small anatomic structures. A high-definition optical system was developed for magnification and illumination as an alternative to surgical loupes or a traditional operating microscope. Materials and Methods. A video telescopic optical imaging system that provided a high-definition and magnification of the surgical field was used for visualization of small anatomic structures and as an aid to the performance of small vessel anastomoses in a series of 10 heterotopic heart transplants (HHTx) in rats. Results. The video telescopic optical system was easy to manipulate and comfortable to use, and provided high-definition images for magnification of anatomic structures while performing microvascular cardiac surgery in a small animal model of HHTx in rats. Fatigue and neck problems for the surgeon were reduced. Conclusions. The video telescopic imaging system provided high definition and magnification of the surgical field, and was used for visualization of small anatomic structures and as an aid to the performance of small vessel anastomoses. The system is an alternative to surgical loupes or a traditional operating microscope, and was used for the first time in microvascular cardiac surgery in a rat HHTx model. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.
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