J Korean Soc Plast Reconstr Surg.  2010 Jul;37(4):391-395.

Microsurgical Training using Preserved Saphenous Vein

  • 1Department of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, Good Moonhwa Hospital, Busan, Korea. sominhwang@ hanmail.net


Given that the critical nature of the microvascular anastomosis to what is often a long and difficult reconstructive operation, trainees need to have a high level of microsurgical competence before being allowed to perform microsurgery on patients. Some artificial substitutes and dead or live animal models have been used to improve manual dexterity under the operating microscope. Yet, most surgeons are not equipped with such models, so search for easy available and appropriate microsurgical practice model have been an issue. Umbilical artery, placental vessels and gastroepiploic arteries have been previously suggested as a microsurgical training model, which involves other surgical departments. The purpose of this article is to introduce that saphenous vein specimen obtained from varicose vein surgery is useful and has many advantages as training model for the practice of microvascular anastomosis.
The conventional technique using perforation/inversion method with a metallic stripper is widely performed for varicose vein patients. The stripper is inserted through disconnected safeno-femoral junction and retrieved at the knee or the medial side of ankle. The length of saphenous vein specimens removed is about that of one's leg and inversed from inside out. Obtained saphenous vein specimens are re-inversed and cleansed with normal saline, to be readily available for microsurgical practice. Preserved in a squeezed wet saline gauze and refrigerated, frozen or glycerated specimens were investigated into their comparative quality for microsurgical practice.
Varicose vein surgery remains one of the common operations performed in the field of plastic surgery. Convenient informed consent regarding the vessel donation can be easily signed. The diameter of the obtained saphenous vein is as variable as 1.5 to 6mm, which is already stripped, and is in sufficient length corresponding to that of patient's leg. Vessels specimens were available for microsurgical practice within 1 week period when preserved with squeezed wet saline gauze, and the preservation period could be extended monthly by freezing it.
Saphenous vein obtained from varicose vein patients provide with variable size of vessel lumen with sufficient length. The practice can be cost effective and does not require microsurgical laboratory. Additionally there is no need of involving other surgical departments in acquiring vessel specimens. Furthermore, simple preservation method of refrigerating for a week or freezing with squeezed wet saline gauze for a month period, allow the saphenous vein obtained after varicose vein surgery as an excellent model for the microsurgical practice.


Microsurgical practice; Saphenous vein; Varicose vein

MeSH Terms

Gastroepiploic Artery
Informed Consent
Mental Competency
Models, Animal
Saphenous Vein
Surgery, Plastic
Umbilical Arteries
Varicose Veins
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