• Varicose veins are generally deemed inappropriate graft material for arterial reconstructions despite their physiologic flow surface because of their large and irregular caliber. Size reduction by threading such veins in constricting tubes may create bypass grafts of suitable caliber as long as redundant wall material does not cause stenoses. Sixteen human varicose veins (mean±SD,13±3 mm diameter) obtained after stripping operations were inserted into Dacron mesh tubes of 6 mm internal diameter. Paraffin casts of the distended veins showed a size reduction of 6.9±2.6 mm. Wall material formed folds in only two veins. In both cases, diameter reduction was more than 10 mm. However, the folds did not result in significant stenoses. Mesh-constricted varicose veins were used as bypass material in 11 infrainguinal arterial reconstructions. All externally supported segments showed satisfactory size reduction without stenoses or folds. One graft occluded 2 months after surgery. Two patients had to undergo reoperation after 2 and 16 months, respectively. None of the complications could be attributed to the constriction of veins. The remaining grafts are patent and functional after a mean of 17 months (range, 6 to 42 months). Considerable size reduction by external wrapping of varicose veins is possible without adverse side effects. Such constricted veins were used successfully as bypass grafts for infrainguinal arterial reconstructions.
(Arch Surg. 1992;127:416-420)