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School of Medicine
A wide variety of patient blood conservation methods and techniques are available through our program. These bloodless approaches are not experimental. They are FDA-approved and have been shown to significantly improve health outcomes.
Following is an overview of the techniques we use most often. Not every technique is appropriate for every patient. Careful decisions are made in partnership with you, based on your beliefs, preferences and healthcare needs. Above all, your wishes are respected. Our team will be happy to discuss any of these approaches with you in more detail.
As we plan your procedure, we will select the least invasive approach appropriate for your condition to minimize damage to tissues and reduce the amount of blood loss.
- The amount of blood drawn for testing before and after surgery will be minimized through micro-sampling, eliminating wasted blood.
- Medications, vitamins and nutritional supplements that increase the blood’s ability to carry oxygen may be an option for some patients. These drugs and supplements, when taken before surgery, can increase the number of red blood cells, which help your body handle blood loss more effectively.
- A technique called hemodilution allows us to dilute the blood before surgery so that when blood is lost, the impact on the body is lessened.
Our goal during surgery is to prevent or minimize bleeding, and to recover any blood that is lost so that it can be put back into the patient’s bloodstream.
- Special anesthesia techniques can minimize bleeding by safely lowering blood pressure.
- A harmonic scalpel, which cuts tissues while clotting the blood almost immediately, can substantially reduce blood loss.
- Advanced hemostatics (products that stop bleeding) can be used before, during, and after surgery.
- Electrocautery or the argon beam coagulator can quickly seal off bleeding vessels.
- An Intraoperative cell salvage machine, a device that collects lost blood, washes it, and allows us to return it back to the patient, can be used to maintain healthy blood volume without transfusions.
- A new device, called a noninvasive continuous hemoglobin monitor, can be used to measure hemoglobin levels without requiring a blood sample. This technology reduces or eliminates the need to send blood samples to the lab, conserving the patient’s blood.
Blood loss does not necessarily stop when surgery ends. Our techniques for minimizing blood loss after surgery, for improving your body’s ability to replace lost bloodand for increasing oxygen levels in the blood, can be an important part of treatment.
- Certain medications can be used to stimulate the body’s ability to produce red blood cells after surgery.
- Microsampling techniques can substantially reduce the amount of blood lost due to routine blood testing after surgery. In some cases, this method of blood conservation reduces blood loss from testing by 90 percent.
If necessary, the continuous, noninvasive hemoglobin monitor described above can be used after surgery to provide a constant display of hemoglobin levels and to reduce the need for sending blood to the lab.