The scalp vein set, also referred to as the ‘butterfly set’ or ‘Winged infusion set’ is a device that has various uses in the field of plastic surgery. It is primarily used for a process called venepuncture. The device consists of a hypodermic needle, two bilateral flexible wings, a small flexible bore transparent tubing that is 25 to 35 cm long, and a connector (female leur).
The scalp vein set has diverse uses ranging from the irrigation of wounds to dye injection. These include:
• Saline infusion and removal from the tissue expander
This is one of the most common functions of the scalp vein set in plastic surgeries. This is because it can be connected to a syringe to infuse saline, without unnecessary repetitive punctures to the skin or port. Furthermore, the scalp vein set can also be of use in evacuating fluid from the tissue expander after removal from the body.
• Continuous suction drain and Penrose type tube drain in the wound margins
The butterfly set can be used as a continuous suction drain. In order to maintain negative suction, it needs to be connected to a 10 ml syringe and 22 cc syringe piston. Along with this, it can also function as a Penrose type tube drain for suture sites.
• Irrigation of wound
The device can be used for continuous irrigation of a wound when connected to saline infusion. Once an adequate number of irrigation holes have been made, a scalp vein set is placed into the wound.
Because the scalp vein set is soft, it can be used as a tourniquet particularly for the fingers, and penis. The device is fixed in position at the appropriate tension with the help of a haemostat.
• Instillation of dye in a sinus
Another use is the installation of dye (methylene blue) in a sinus or fistula to delineate the cavity or tract, as in a pilonidal sinus, presternal sinus. But, the hypodermic needle must be removed to avoid false tract formation in this case.
Apart from this, it can be used for venepuncture, its main function. It can also be used as a soft cover over cut K-wire used after fracture fixation of digits, as a replacement for the Roco Vac set for drainage, as an infant feeding tube, and as a replacement for venflon, for intravenous access.
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