Prior to performing bypass surgery, the heart surgeon determines what type of blood vessels are needed to create the bypass graft.
Heart surgeons may use the artery in your chest (mammary or thoracic artery), the artery in your arm (radial artery) or the veins in your legs (saphenous veins)
In the past, obtaining the saphenous vein or radial artery required a long incision. Endoscopic (minimally invasive or small incision) approaches now allow for a better overall patient experience after coronary artery bypass surgery. Because the incisions are tiny, endoscopic procedures cause little blood loss and the risk of infection is small. These techniques reduce patient discomfort, minimize scarring and shorten recovery time.
Cleveland Clinic physicians have been performing endoscopic saphenous vein harvesting for several years. The surgeon creates a small incision in the groin and one or two 1 inch-incisions in the leg, near the knee. Using special instruments, the surgeon delicately removes the saphenous vein and closes the incision.
Endoscopic Radial Artery Harvesting
In 2005, Cleveland Clinic surgeons expanded the minimally invasive approach to include harvesting of radial arteries. In this procedure, the surgeon makes a small incision near the wrist and one near the forearm. Similar to saphenous vein harvesting, the surgeon uses special instrumentation to remove the artery and then closes the incisions.
Cleveland Clinic heart surgeons use endoscopic techniques whenever possible. Your surgeon will discuss the best procedure to meet your needs.