Two clinical problems this editor has experienced in clinical practice are controlling ruptured arteries such as the aorta and positioning transplanted livers into place so that the cut ends of the common bile ducts align sufficiently to prevent leakage of spewing bile.
One commonly used method for placing stents and catheters in rupturing blood vessels is called the Seldinger technique. One commonly used technique for sewing in liver grafts is called the parachute method.
The following two techniques described below to control the leak without capping it (along with accompanying sketches) is a combination and adaptation of the principles used to solve the surgical dilemmas as described above.
These two possible solutions will avoid having to overcome the immense pressure at the leak site (estimated at 10,000 psi) and would avoid the crystal formation that has plagued the capping attempts. For further details, the editor can be contacted at insidesurgery then the at sign then dot then com.
1. A mile long steel wire or cable is dropped from the surface into or more likely next to the leaking riser pipe. Positioning the cable next to the riser pipe and onto the sea floor avoids having to overcome the pressure head coming from the leaking well, which is many thousands of psi. (see fig. technique 1 A and B below)
2. To prevent movement of the cable end on the sea floor it can be dropped with a weight on it and guided into place by the robotic submarine (fig. technique 2 B – sub not shown).
3. A long oil containment sleeve that will reach from surface to sea floor made of flexible material that is impervious to oil is manufactured with a weighted rim on one end that is large enough to easily fit over the riser pipe and is large enough in circumference to avoid the pressurized plume of oil.
4. This sleeve should be double-layered to lessen the risk of tears and can either be manufactured in one piece and spooled on the deck or field joined as it is being lowered down the guide cable.
5. The rim and the oil containment sleeve is then placed over the free end of the guide cable and parachuted down the cable (fig. technique 1 C.)
6. The rim of the oil containment sleeve will come to rest on the sea floor around the riser pipe and will contain the leaking oil and gas in the sleeve, where it will rise to the surface and can be collected (fig. technique 1 D.)
1. For more control of the oil containment sleeve as it drops to the sea floor, smaller sleeves can be sewn on the outside of the oil containment sleeve (fig. technique 2 A.)
2. Two weighted cable ends are dropped from the surface and positioned (fig. technique 2 B)
3. The oil containment sleeve is then threaded over the surface ends of the cables and dropped/lowered to the sea floor, with the rim coming to rest on the sea floor around the leaking riser pipe (fig. technique 2 C.)
4. The oil plume with its high pressure head is the captured by the oil containment sleeve and collected on the surface.