Wound complications of the in situ saphenous vein bypass technique

Thomas Reifsnyder, Dennis Bandyk, Gary Seabrook, Edward Kinney, Jonathan B. Towne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Wound complications after in situ saphenous vein bypass occur frequently, lengthen hospitalization, and threaten graft viability. From May 1981 to March 1991, 117 consecutive male patients underwent 126 in situ operations: 45 (36%) femoropopliteal, 75 (59%) femorotibial, and 6 (5%) grafts to the dorsal pedal artery for gangrene or ulcer (n = 69), rest pain (n = 54), or claudication (n = 3). Wound complications developed in 55 grafts (44%): erythema developed in 11, but they healed primarily, 19 had skin edge necrosis or localized lymph leaks, 12 had necrosis or infection into the subcutaneous tissue without danger to the graft, and invasive infections that threatened the graft developed in 13. Risk factors for a subsequent wound infection included the development of a lymph leak (p ≤ 0.05) and early postoperative graft revision for thrombosis, wound hematoma, retained valve or arteriovenous fistula (p ≤ 0.05). The mean time to appearance of a graft-threatening wound infection was 31 days, and 10 of 13 were located in the distal limb. Twelve of the 13 deep infections required operative debridement, and seven required a flap or split thickness skin graft for coverage. Gram-negative as well as gram-positive infections responded equally well. No grafts were lost, and no deaths occurred. Despite the high incidence of wound complications, an aggressive therapy regimen permitted universal graft salvage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)843-850
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of vascular surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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