The authors have adopted a set pattern of colour coded vascular sloops that they use to identify and isolate vital structures in the head and neck. This simple and cost-effective technique aids vascular control and has applications in elective head and neck surgery, as well as in controlling haemorrhage secondary to trauma.
It is common practice amongst head and neck surgeons to use vascular sloops to isolate vessels as an aid to their dissection as well as to control them when unexpected haemorrhage occurs.
Taking inspiration from the world of sailing, where it is standard procedure to colour code rigging, to improve safety via universal colour recognition, the authors have adopted this approach and have a set pattern of coloured vascular sloops that they use to isolate vital structures in the head and neck ( Fig. 1 ).