Videoscopic Basilic Vein Harvest for Creation of Transposed Brachiobasilic Arteriovenous Fistulae

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Due to the extensive dissection required during the standard transposed brachiobasilic arterial venous fistula (BB-AVF) procedure and the potential for postoperative complications, many surgeons are reluctant to construct BB-AVFs. Less invasive vein harvest has been performed for this procedure with good results, but this procedure remains rarely used.


We began to perform videoscopic-assisted BB-AVF creation in selected patients at our institution in 2006. Vein harvesting from the antecubital fossa to the level of the axilla is performed by an experienced surgical technician under the guidance of the dialysis access surgeon. Perioperative data and postoperative outcomes were retrospectively reviewed with institutional review board approval.


From 2006 to 2010, we performed videoscopic-assisted BB-AVF in 21 patients. Median age was 59 years and median body mass index was 30; women comprised 52% of the cohort. Previous vascular access procedures had been performed on 81% of patients. Of the 21 attempts with the video-assisted approach, only 1 required conversion to a standard open procedure. Of the remaining cases, there were no significant intraoperative or postoperative surgical complications with a median operative time of 159 minutes and maximum length of stay of 1 night. Maturation of the fistula sufficient for cannulation and use occurred in 80% of patients, with the median time to first access in patients who matured being 60 days. At 3 years follow-up, 47% of fistulas that matured were still functional, with 33% lost to death or successful renal transplantation.


Videoscopic-assisted transposition of the basilic vein is a reasonable option for BB-AVF placement. The procedure can be performed in an acceptable expeditious fashion with near elimination of infection, wound breakdown, lymph drainage, nerve injury, and satisfactory maturation (80%) and patency rates. Technicians experienced in lower extremity vein harvest can perform this procedure successfully under the supervision of an experienced access surgeon.

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