Bloodless Medicine and Surgery Techniques
Alternatives to blood transfusions have been made possible through advances in medical and surgical techniques and technology. Specialized techniques and equipment include:
Synthetic erythropoietin - a hormone used prior to surgery which stimulates the patients bone marrow to produce more red blood cells. This has the effect of boosting the patient's hemoglobin level before surgery.
Micro sampling - drawing very small amounts of blood for testing, rather than the larger quantities routinely drawn.
Volume expanders - fluids administered intravenously to dilute the blood. The diluted blood contains a lower concentration of red blood cells, thus the amount of red blood cells lost is reduced.
Cell saver system - used during surgery to collect, recirculate and readminister the patient's own blood, which would otherwise have been lost.
Intraoperative hypotension anesthesia - used during surgery to lower blood pressure, in order to minimize bleeding.
Electrocautery - uses electrocoagulation to stop vessels from bleeding during surgery.
Harmonic scalpel - uses ultrasonic energy to cut and coagulate simultaneously.
Skin monitor - used during surgery to track oxygen levels in the skin.
Electrosurgical coagulator - a sophisticated tool that limits internal bleeding by clotting the patient's blood during surgery.