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What is endoscopic vein harvesting (EVH)?

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During coronary artery bypass graft surgery, a surgeon takes a segment of a healthy blood vessel (an artery or vein) from another part of the body and uses it to create a detour or bypass around the blocked portion of the coronary artery. That process is called graft harvesting. Traditionally, vein harvesting is accomplished through a lengthy surgical incision in the leg (see Figure 1).

regular vein harvesting

Figure 1 - Regular Vein Harvesting

But in recent times leading surgeons have been practicing a minimally invasive procedure called Endoscopic Vein Harvesting - EVH (see Figure 2).


endoscopic vein harvesting procedure

Figure 2 - Endoscopic Vein Harvesting

EVH requires one to three small incisions, each less than 1 inch in length. With this less invasive technique, the surgeon removes the vein with the aid of a special video camera, or endoscope.

The advantages of endoscopic vein harvesting go beyond faster recovery and avoiding a long leg scar. Patients undergoing EVH are less likely to experience events like wound complications, swelling, leg pain and infection. Obese persons, diabetics and patients suffering from peripheral vascular disease are at greater risk for leg wound complications.

Dr Alla Gopala Krishna Gokhale was the first successful doctor to perform heart transplantation surgery in the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. In Hyderabad, now he is practicing as Chief Cardiothoracic, Transplant and Minimally invasive procedure called Endoscopic Vein Harvesting.