Background: The introduction of endoscopic harvest of saphenous vein grafts (SVGs) for coronary artery bypass procedures over the past few years has reduced the morbidity and enhanced patient satisfaction associated with this procedure. This report introduces the use of the endoscopic SVG harvest for extracranial-intracranial (EC-IC) bypass procedures.
Methods: Endoscopic SVG harvest has been performed in more than 4000 patients at Duke University Medical Center from 1998 to 2003. We have performed 4 such procedures for EC-IC bypass, including 3 for the treatment of large or giant cerebral aneurysms and 1 for symptomatic middle cerebral artery occlusion. A 2-cm transverse incision is made to harvest 25- to 30-cm segment of SVG using a VasoView graft harvest system (Guidant Cardiac and Vascular Surgery, Menlo Park, CA). Skin closure was performed using a 4-0 Vicryl subcuticular stitch.
Results: Endoscopic SVG harvest was possible in each of the 4 patients. No graft leaks were visualized microscopically with infusion pressure testing of the graft before graft anastomosis, and no postoperative graft harvest complications (infection, hematoma, dehiscence, etc) were encountered in either the immediate or long-term follow-up (mean, 14 months).
Conclusions: The use of endoscopic SVG harvest presents an attractive alternative to open SVG harvest for EC-IC bypass procedures. A high-quality long graft may be harvested with apparent decreased morbidity via this minimally invasive technique.