Late occlusion of microvascular vein grafts in replantation

W. A. Morrison, G. M. Mitchell, M. J. Hickey

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Two cases are described in which patients presented 16 and 17 years, respectively, after complete or incomplete amputation/replantation of the arm. In case 1, the patient complained of coldness, pain, and tingling in the replanted arm in the previous 24 hours and noticed that his fingers had gone white. Arteriography and subsequent surgery revealed obliteration of the vein graft (inserted in the distal brachial artery) by neointimal thickening and atherosclerotic plaque, which was confirmed in a subsequent morphologic examination. In case 2, the patient presented with discomfort and a pulsatile swelling on the inner aspect of his upper arm. Arteriography and surgery revealed an aneurysm in the previously inserted vein graft in the brachial artery, with some atherosclerotic degeneration. Both vein grafts were successfully replaced with a fresh autologous vein graft and the patients remain well several years later. The 2 cases suggest that as part of replantation surgery of a limb, it is essential to maintain postoperative clinical monitoring for signs of graft degeneration in all patients with long-term vein graft insertion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1106-1111
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1998
Externally publishedYes

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