Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Am J Surg. 1998 May;175(5):391-5.

Operative outcomes of minimally invasive saphenous vein harvest.

Author information

Department of Surgery, Oregon Health Sciences University, Legacy Health System, Portland, USA.



The longest incision used in surgery is the standard incision for harvesting the greater saphenous vein for arterial grafting. This long incision is associated with significant pain and morbidity. We present a comparative study between two relatively less invasive techniques: the standard bridge technique (BT) and the endoscopic saphenous vein harvest (ESVH).


This is a prospective, nonrandomized, case-matched study of contemporaneous minimally invasive saphenous vein harvest in patients undergoing multiple vessel coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). Data points include operative time, total wound length, length of vein harvested, intraoperative complications, conversions to open, injury to the graft, postoperative complications and hospital length of stay. Follow-up continued for 8 weeks postdischarge.


Within a 10-month period (July 1996 to May 1997), 60 saphenous vein harvests were performed, with 29 by BT and 31 by ESVH. Patient demographics were well matched, except for a larger number of patients with peripheral vascular disease in the ESVH group. ESVH only required 2.3 incisions versus 5 for the BT (P = 0.000001), whereas ESVH produced on average longer veins of 53.9 cm versus 47.7 cm for BT (P = 0.05). Harvest times were comparable in the two groups. However, mean vein preparation times, incision closure times, and total vein operative times for the BT were, respectively, 18.5 minutes, 35.1 minutes, and 94 minutes versus significantly less times of 11.3 minutes (P = 0.009), 10.6 minutes (P = 0.000001), and 73 minutes (P = 0.0001), respectively, for ESVH. The early, minor wound complication rate was 32% for the ESVH group versus 3% for the BT group (P = 0.0048). However, excluding small wound hematomas, the wound complication rate in the ESVH group fell to 13%. Graft quality was acceptable in both groups.


ESVH was demonstrated to be a useful procedure to harvest saphenous veins for CABG surgery. The ESVH technique allowed the harvesting of a longer vein, via shorter and fewer incisions and in less time. However, for maximum operating room efficiency with the new technology, staff education is essential. There was a greater incidence of minor wound complications in the ESVH group; however, the majority of these ESVH complications were small wound hematomas, which did not occur as surgeon experience with the technique increased.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center