Minimally Invasive Vein Harvesting with the SaphLITE Retractor System: Is It Really Better?


  • Richard Feyrer
  • Timo Seitz
  • Thomas Strecker
  • Ariawan Purbojo
  • Theodor Fischlein
  • Michael Weyand
  • Frank Harig



Background. The value of newly developed techniques for saphenous vein harvesting remains controversial. Which technique offers the most benefits is still unknown. The aim of this study was to compare the conventional vein harvesting through a continuous skin incision method with 2 less invasive methods and evaluate surgical advantages and postoperative results.

Methods. In this prospective study, 110 patients scheduled for coronary artery bypass grafting were randomized into 3 groups: vein harvesting by standard continuous skin incisions (group I), conventional bridge technique (group II), and the SaphLITE retractor system (group III). Particular interest was paid to collecting intraoperative data and postoperative clinical results.

Results. The ratio of vein length to incision length was 0.89 for group I, 1.9 for group II, and 3.3 for group III. Dissection time per centimeter of vein harvested and time for wound closure were found to be 1.23 min and 0.77 min for group I, 0.89 min and 0.57 min for group II, and 0.96 min and 0.46 min for group III. No wound infection was seen in either group; conduit quality, postoperative pain, and mobilization were similar. Hematoma and edema formation were less frequent in groups I and II. The best cosmetic results were seen in the SaphLITE group.

Conclusions. Less invasive vein harvesting techniques, especially with use of the SaphLITE retractor system, yield favorable clinical results, particular with respect to cosmetic appearance. Compared to the conventional approach, the SaphLITE method is suitable for routine vein harvesting because it has fewer complications and is easy and fast to perform. Because the bridge technique does not require special instruments, it has economic advantages.


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How to Cite

Feyrer, R., Seitz, T., Strecker, T., Purbojo, A., Fischlein, T., Weyand, M., & Harig, F. (2005). Minimally Invasive Vein Harvesting with the SaphLITE Retractor System: Is It Really Better?. The Heart Surgery Forum, 9(1), E511-E514.