Minimally invasive video-assisted endoscopic vein harvesting

  • A. Kapsalis
  • K. Alexiou


Each year, surgery is performed in Germany on approx. 75000 patients with coronary artery disease (approx. 75% of all heart surgery). The material used for bypass surgery is arterial grafts and predominantly autologous veins, mainly the great saphenous vein which is taken in approximaly 95% of aorto-coronary bypass operations [4]. For conventional vein harvesting, the skin incision often runs along the entire length of have leg. Therefore, this skin incision is the longest incision made during any kind of surgical intervention on the human body. For several years, surgeons have tried to reduce the length of the skin incision applying different surgical techniques. They did not only have aesthetic aspects in mind: wound complications after saphenectomy are by no means rare in cardiac surgery [9]. The spectrum includes paresthesias, lymphatic edemas, hematomas, but also wound infections, skin necroses and in rare cases leg amputations [6, 9]. One of the minimally invasive techniques which has established itself beside the minimally invasive bridging technique is endoscopic video-assisted vein harvesting. It allows removal of the entire length of the great saphenous vein by a single incision of about 2 cm at the inside of the popliteal fossa. Beside the aesthetic benefit which is very important for the patient, a significant reduction in wound complications in the leg could be observed post-operatively [1, 2].


Medial Malleolus Great Saphenous Vein Autologous Vein Vein Harvesting Endoscopic Vein Harvesting 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Kapsalis
  • K. Alexiou

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