An Artificial Cadaveric Leg Blood Flow System for Endoscopic Vein Harvesting Simulation
Despite being the most common training model for endoscopic vein harvesting, cadaveric legs are limited by their absence of blood flow, resulting in a faded vascular appearance. Because the saphenous vein and the surrounding tissue seem less distinguishable, dissection of the saphenous vein and bipolar coagulation of its branches becomes increasingly inefficient and difficult. An inexpensive artificial blood flow system was developed to overcome this limitation. A cadaveric leg was thawed to a soft and yielding degree, and the saphenous vein was dissected medial and proximal to the medial malleolus. An artificial blood solution was prepared by dissolving 4% protein powder, red dye, and a contrast agent—for x-ray visualization—in saline. The solution was perfused through the saphenous vein and artery. The open ends of the vessels were temporarily clamped after the perfusion had been completed. Blood flow within the vessels was confirmed via angiography and endoscopic visualization of the leg's vessels. A bleeding effect was observed when the saphenous vein was perforated or when a vascular branch was transected. Conversely, a tight seal indicated successful bipolar coagulation of a branch, providing an objective, quantifiable assessment parameter. The artificial blood flow system helps overcome the limitations of the cadaveric leg, creating a more realistic and inexpensive model for endoscopic vein harvesting simulation training.