Surgical Science, 2011, 2, 204-208
doi:10.4236/ss.2011.24045 Published Online June 2011 (
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. SS
Comparison of the Five Different Methods in Arterial
Diameter Measurement
Orhan Babuccu1, Bulent Tekerekoglu1, Huseyin Ozdemir2, Halit Besir2, Sadi Gundogdu2
1Zonguldak Karaelmas University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Plastic,
Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, Zonguldak, Turkey
2Zonguldak Karaelmas University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Radiology,
Zonguldak, Turkey
E-mail: orhanbabuccu@karaelma
Received January 21, 2011; revised May 6, 2011; accepted May 16, 2011.
Background/Aims: In this study, the different types of arterial diameter measurement methods were com-
pared with each other on rat model. Methods: The study was planned in three phases. In phase 1, all subjects
(n = 30) underwent high resolution B-mode ultrasound examination and external diameter of the right com-
mon carotid artery (RCCA) was measured. In phase 2, RCCA was explored. In phase 3, rats were put into
three groups. Group 1 was kept at –20˚C, group 2 was embedded in 4% formaldehyde solution. In group 3,
circulatory system was filled with %20 latex solution. In all groups, digital image of the RCCA was taken
after the processes mentioned above. Images were assessed by Image—Pro Plus software. Results: The
greatest average diameter was observed in the high resolution B-mode ultrasound (phase 1). In group 1 and 2,
direct measurement of the RCCA on living animal (phase 2) gave significantly wider diameter than those
obtained at phase 3 in the same groups. Direct (phase 2) and latex (phase 3) measurements were equal in
group 3. Conclusions: High resolution B-mode ultrasound gives larger, probably actual diameter of the artery.
Latex injection results might correspond those encountered during operation.
Keywords: Animal Model, Arterial Diameter, B-Mode Ultrasound
1. Introduction
When diameter of any artery is in concern, referring to
textbooks and literature mostly reveals different values
[1-3]. There could be several reasons to explain this in-
consistency, such as age and sex of the subjects, extern al
and internal factors influencing arterial diameter, viabil-
ity of the subject (cadaver or living person), and finally
measurement methods, which could be invasive or non
invasive [4,5]. In this study, with keeping characteristics
of the measured population (i.e. in this study rats’ weight,
age, and sex) constant, invasive procedures in both living
subject and cadaver were compared with non-invasive
method, which was high resolution B-mode ultrasound.
It is a common and practical method to evaluate arterial
diameter in vivo [6]. In this study accuracy high resolu-
tion B-mode ultrasound was compared with invasive
measurements in both living and dead form of the same
subject. As far as we concern, there is no other study
using this type of methodology.
2. Material and Methods
Thirty male Wistar rats, weighing 200 to 250 g, were
used. Animals were housed in plastic cages without re-
straint and fed standard rat chow, and given water ad
libitum. No food restriction was given before anesthesia.
All animals used in this study received human care under
the supervision of Animal Research Ethic Comity of
Zonguldak Karaelmas University, Faculty of Medicine.
2.1. Experimental Groups
Anesthesia was induced with intraperitoneal injection of
pentobarbital (40 mg/kg). Of the all thirty animals, ex-
ternal diameter of the right common carotid artery
(RCCA) was measured with transcutaneous high resolu-
tion B-mode ultrasound, while they were under anesthe-
sia (phase 1). Once this procedure had been completed,
the same artery was surgically explored under magnifi-
cation (OM-5 operating microscope, Tagaki Seiko Co.,
Ltd., Japan, with three magnification level: 4.6×, 7.7×,
12.3×) and picture of this region was taken as the animal
still alive but under anesthesia (phase 2). After high
resolution B-mode ultrasound examination and taking
picture of the artery, animals were divided in to three
groups randomly so that each group was consisted of ten
animals (phase 3). In group 1, animals were sacrified
with 100 mg/kg intraperitoneal pentobarbital and put in
to the freezer. In group 2, after euthanasia, animals were
fixed by immersion in 4% formaldehyde solution. Fi-
nally, following euthanasia, circulatory system of ani-
mals in group 3 were filled with 20 % latex solution (Ta -
ble 1).
2.2. High Resolution B-Mode Ultrasound
Protocol (Groups 1, 2, and 3)
After right side of their neck was shaved, the rats under-
went an ultrasonographic examination with B-mode ul-
trasound (ATL 5000 HDI, Bothell, USA) with a
high-resolution, 5-12 MHz linear transducer. The exter-
nal diameter of the RCCA was measured over a distance
of about 1 cm proximal to the carotid artery bifurcation
on supine position. To obtain reliable values, three con-
secutive measurements were made and average value
were taken (Figure 1).
2.3. In vivo Measurement (Groups 1,2, and 3)
After ultrasound examination, animal was taken to op-
eration plate in supine position and then, right side of its
neck was incised down to reach RCCA. Keeping the
temperature constant (23 - 25˚C) and the surgical area
soaked with warm saline, animals were left to rest for ten
minutes to reduce probable vasoconstriction due to sur-
gical procedure. Eventually, the milimetric scale was put
under artery and digital images of common carotid artery
were taken with Nikon E995 digital camera, which was
mounted to the microscope (Figure 2).
2.4. Freezing (Group 1)
This group is supposed to correspond to fresh cadaver
studies. In a routine practice, it is almost impossible le-
gally to study an anatomy on the man, who died recently.
Generally, the corpus is kept in the freezer and thawed
before the dissection. For this reason, after in vivo meas-
urement (phase 2), the animal underwent euthanasia and
put in to freezer within the nylon bag. The corpus was
kept three days at –20˚C and at the end of this time, it
was thawed at the room temperature. Finally, RCCA
explored surgically and digital images were take under
magnification as it was described above.
2.5. Formaldehyde (Group 2)
This group standed for the measurements made on the
formalin fixed cadavers. At the end of the phase 2, the
rats in this group were sacrificed and its abdominal wall
was opened to explore abdominal aorta, which was can-
nulated with 24 gauge intravenous catheter. Subse-
quently, the blood in the circulatory system of rat taken
out by the help of syringe as much as possible, 3 - 4 cc
on average (phase 3). With the same catheter, 10 cc 10%
formaldehyde was infused into circulatory system and
aorta was tied to prevent oozing back. The animal was
hold sank in 4% formaldehyde for one week. After this
period, rat was taken out from solution, kept in the room
temperature for six hours for aeration. Finally, RCCA
explored surgically and digital images were taken as de-
scribe above.
2.6. Latex (Group 3)
Phase 1, and phase 2 were achieved as described previ-
ously. In this group, instead of formaldehyde, 10 cc 20%
latex solution was infused under constant pressure and
aorta was tied to prevent backward oozing. The animal
was kept 24 hours in the refrigerator at 4˚C to get latex
harden. The final step was digital imaging of the RCCA.
2.7. Measurement
RCCA diameter at the point that 1 cm proximal to the
bifurcation was gauged with Image Pro software (Image–
Pro Plus, 2000 version 4.5 for Windows) (Figure 3).
2.8. Statistical Methods
The correlation between measurements in groups was
evaluated with Friedman Test. Wilcoxon Signed Ranks
Test was used for further evaluation. For statistical sig-
nificance, alpha level was presumed as 0.05.
3. Results
The values from each subject were given in table (Table
2). Among four measurement methods, which were de-
scribed above, the greatest average diameter was ob-
served in the high resolution B-mode ultrasound exami-
nation in all groups (Group 1: 1.47 mm ± 0,09 SD;
Group 2: 1.38 mm ± 0.11 SD; and Group 3: 1.39 mm ±
0.11 SD) (p = 0.001). In group 1 and group 2, in vivo
average measurements (1.24 mm ± 0.13 SD and 1.17
mm ± 0.09 SD, respectively) were significantly greater
than those measured in frozen (1.09 mm ± 0.10 SD; p=
0.001) and formaldehyde trals (1.07 mm ± eated anim
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. SS
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. SS
Table 1. The design of the study groups is presented.
Doppler In vivo imagingFreezing Formaldehyde Latex
Group I (n = 10) + + + - -
Group II (n = 10) + + - + -
Group III (n = 10) + + - - +
Phase 1,
Phase 2, Phase 3.
Figure 3. The measurements were done at five different
levels on the image by Image Pro software (Image – Pro
Plus, 2000 version 4.5 for Windows), and average value was
taken as a diameter.
Figure 1. The image of the RCCA obtained by B-mode ul-
trasound. The external diameter was me asur ed.
Figure 4. The average values obtained from each groups
were presented in diagram.
Figure 2. The picture was taken while subject was still alive
(phase 2). After imaging, all subjects were euthanized, and
phase 3 was started.
are numerous. They may be indirect as in the radiologi-
cal methods such as MR [7], CT [8] or ultrasound [9,10],
or direct, using digital or manual calipers [11] during
operation. In a cadaver, the arterial diameter can be ei-
ther measured directly [12,13] or after filling the arterial
system with either of silicone [14], latex [15,16], or ox-
ide-gelatin [15,1 7].
0.08 SD; p = 0.001) , re spectively. In group 3, the average
diameter measured in vivo and after latex fixation was
the same, which was 1.27 mm ± 0.07 SD (Table 2, Fig-
ure 4).
4. Discussion In this study, we tried to compare different methods in
the same artery, i.e. high resolution B-mode ultrasound,
In vivo measurement techniques of the arterial diameter
Table 2. The raw data obtained from each subject is presented.
Subjects Doppler (mm) In vivo (mm) Frozen (mm)
FR 1 1.15 1.60 0.90
FR 2 1.34 1.60 1.06
FR 3 1.04 1.40 1.05
FR 4 1.29 1.50 1.12
FR 5 1.45 1.70 1.24
FR 6 1.39 1.70 1.26
FR 7 1.13 1.60 1.08
FR 8 1.12 1.50 1.03
FR 9 1.27 1.60 1.17
FR 10 1.22 1.50 1.07
Average 1.47 mm ± 0.09 SD 1.24 mm ± 0.13 SD 1.09 mm ± 0.10 SD
Formaldehyde (mm )
F1 1.18 1.50 1.07
F2 1.12 1.60 1.02
F3 1.12 1.60 1.00
F4 1.20 1.70 1.09
F5 1.25 1.60 1.15
F6 1.36 1.60 1.27
F7 1.19 1.80 1.06
F8 1.10 1.40 0.99
F9 1.08 1.50 1.02
F10 1.09 1.50 1.02
Average 1.38 mm ± 0.11 SD 1.17 mm ± 0.09 SD 1.07 mm ± 0.08 SD
Latex (mm)
L1 1.27 1.40 1.30
L2 1.31 1.40 1.26
L3 1.33 1.60 1.31
L4 1.36 1.60 1.39
L5 1.14 1.40 1.15
L6 1.19 1.40 1.18
L7 1.24 1.60 1.23
L8 1.30 1.50 1.29
L9 1.24 1.60 1.22
L10 1.38 1.70 1.37
Average 1.39 mm ± 0.11 SD 1.27 mm ± 0.07 SD 1.27 mm ± 0.07 SD
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. SS
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. SS
direct in vivo measurement, and cadaver study of the
right common carotid artery of the same rat. Among
three different methods applied to the same artery, the
widest diameter was found in high resolution B-mode
ultrasound examination in all groups (Table 2, Figure 4).
It was probably actual diameter of the given artery in
living subject. In group 1 and 2, the values obtained dur-
ing phase 2 (in vivo measurement) were significantly
grater than those obtained from frozen and formalin
fixed cadavers. In contrast, the average diameter directly
measured on living subject and that measured on latex
filled artery within the same subject were equal. In fact,
this is not unexpected, since latex can sup port vessel wall
as blood pressure does.
5. Conclusions
1) Unless filled immediately with latex or silicon, vascu-
lar diameter values measured in cadaver will be lesser
than in vivo values.
2) In living person, high resolution B-mode ultrasound
is practical way to measure arterial diameter. On the
other hand, the results probably will always be greater
than those written classical textbooks.
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