Question: What is mini-invasive vein harvesting for bypass surgery?
Answer: These days, when we take vein to do bypass surgery, we are able to do it through a minimally invasive incision in the majority of our patients. It depends on which center you're in, and you should ask your surgeon about it.
But, for instance, we never really open the leg anymore for that. What we do is, we make a small incision, it's usually about an inch, down at the knee, and then they use some scopes and they direct the scope up and then down along the vein.
They can see the branches and they divide the branches. And then they're able to tease the vein out of this tunnel that is created.
The old days, and you may see some patients with this, they might have an incision all the way from down at their ankle all the way up near their groin.
So now instead of a two or three foot long incision, it's been replaced with about a one inch incision. So it's really been a dramatic change.
It's also had an impact on the patient's recovery. It used to be those old leg incisions hurt. This one doesn't bother patients nearly as much.
The old leg incision, especially in patients with diabetes, we would worry about getting infected. It's very rare to get a leg infection these days.