Autogenous saphenous vein grafts are frequently used for revascularization procedures. Harvest of such veins is accompanied by a small but persistent morbidity. This is often a result of extensive dissection in the subcutaneous tissue during the search for the vein. Preoperative phlebography often assists in determining size and suitability of the vein1 but may not be helpful in localizing this vessel. This communication describes a technique using the portable Doppler ultrasound flow detector that we have found useful in mapping out the course of the saphenous vein.
The portable Doppler ultrasound flow detector is used with standard acoustic gel. Examination is per
Fig 1.—Finger tapping over presumed site of greater saphenous vein at ankle generates transmitted wave in distended vessel. This will result in audible Doppler signal only when probe is accurately positioned over proximal vein, ie, probe position (c), but not positions a or b.
Fig 2.—Finger tapping