A new advance in heart by-pass surgery could make your recovery faster and much more comfortable.
Traditionally, surgeons remove a length of vein from the leg and move it to the heart where it can be used as a bridge to by-pass an artery which is blocked. In the worst case scenario, the leg could leave a very large scar after by-pass surgery. But a new tool in what's called Endovascular Vein Harvesting means the length of vein can be cut from inside the leg leaving just a small scar and much less pain.
Dr. Andrew Hansen, a cardiac surgeon, described the procedure on Thursday on HealthWise at 5.
"What we're doing now is instead of making a long incision up the leg to get the vein, we make a little nick at the knee, thread this camera in the center, and once the camera's in the center, it lights up the vein like a fantastic voyage and the vein floats within the area of this tunnel. Once you get in and dissect the vein out, you take scissors. It cuts the vein inside the leg," he explains.
Amazingly, the vein is pulled from this tiny hole and then prepared for the coronary by-pass. Patients have much less pain and recover faster than traditional by-pass surgery. Dr. Hansen says the only patients who are not good candidates for this are those who need emergency surgery, rather than one that is planned in advance.