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2665 N DECATUR RD SUITE 730 | DECATUR, GA 30033

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LEG VEINS NEEDED FOR BYPASS SURGERY?

WHAT IF I NEED MY LEG VEINS LATER FOR BYPASS SURGERY?

 

Patients sometimes wonder if having varicose vein treatment is a smart move.  They think they might need those leg veins (great saphenous veins) if they need bypass surgery in the future.

This is a good question!  Because in the past there was concern among physicians to preserve this vein.  The great saphenous vein was  often used as a replacement for an artery in heart bypass surgery.     IMG_0497

Now, many cardiac surgeons prefer the radial artery from the forearm or the left internal mammary artery from inside the chest as a conduit for coronary arterial bypass procedures.

 Things have changed!  Doctors now believe there is no reason not to treat the great saphenous vein in the leg if needed.  If the vein is badly damaged, it will not work as a vein graft anyway.  Truth is, refluxing varicose veins (which have broken valves allowing the blood to flow back)  are unsuitable for use in these situations.  They are not healthy, functioning veins.

When  bypass surgery is needed,  heart surgeons  want the best veins possible for a good outcome that would last for many years to come.  And diseased veins would not be the best choice. There are several arteries that can be used as grafts for bypass surgery, but the most common is the left internal mammary artery (LIMA). The right internal mammary artery (RIMA) may also be used as a graft. These arteries are accessed thru the same chest incision used to access the heart. Occasionally, the radial (in the arm) or the gastroepiploic (near the stomach) arteries may be used, each accessed thru separate incisions.

Because we have many substitutes that can be used for the saphenous vein it makes it easy to recommend having the veins treated by thermal ablation.  In this way the patient’s symptoms and lifestyle can be improved without having to worry about needing this damaged and inferior vein for later bypass cardiac procedures.