We aimed to evaluate patency rates following forearm arterial reconstruction and suggest improvements. Thirty-two vein grafted reconstructions (using saphenous and dorsal hand veins) were evaluated for patency and development of symptoms using clinical examination, Colour-Doppler Sonography and angiography. Overall patency was 59%, with no significant difference between saphenous and dorsal hand veins. Stasis, turbulence, decrease in blood velocity, change in flow pattern, stenosis in the anastomotic area or increase in compliance was detected in 10 patent grafts, but was not associated with symptoms. Six out of 13 non-patent grafted patients had severe or troublesome symptoms associated with accompanying nerve regeneration. To improve patency, careful microsurgical techniques, 'fit vein' and valveless grafts should be used. Dorsal hand veins are most appropriate for short defects. Potency should be evaluated soon after reconstruction.