Peripheral artery bypass is surgery to reroute the blood supply around a blocked artery in one of your legs. Fatty deposits can build up inside the arteries and block them.
A graft is used to replace or bypass the blocked part of the artery. The graft may be a plastic tube, or it may be a blood vessel taken from your body (usually the opposite leg) during the same surgery.
Peripheral artery bypass surgery can be done in one or more of the following:
During bypass surgery of any artery:
If you are having bypass surgery to treat your aorta and iliac artery or your aorta and both femoral arteries (aortobifemoral)
If you are having bypass surgery to treat your lower leg (femoral popliteal):
Symptoms of a blocked peripheral artery are pain, achiness, or heaviness in your leg that starts or gets worse when you walk.
You may not need bypass surgery if these problems happen only when you walk and then go away when you rest. You may not need this surgery if you can still do most of your everyday activities. Your doctor can try medicines and other treatments first.
Reasons for having arterial bypass surgery of the leg are:
Before having surgery, your doctor will do special tests to see the extent of the blockage.
Risks for any anesthesia are:
Risks for any surgery are:
Risks for this surgery are:
Your doctor will do a physical exam and many medical tests.
Always tell your doctor or nurse what medicines you are taking, even drugs, supplements, or herbs you bought without a prescription.
During the 2 weeks before your surgery:
Do NOT drink anything after midnight the night before your surgery, including water.
On the day of your surgery:
Right after surgery, you will go to the recovery room, where nurses will watch you closely. After that you will go either to the intensive care unit (ICU) or a regular hospital room.
When your doctor says it is okay, you will be allowed to get out of bed. You will slowly increase how far you can walk. When you are sitting in a chair, keep your legs raised on a stool or another chair.
Your doctor and nurse will check your pulses regularly after your surgery. The strength of your pulse will show how well your new bypass graft is working. While you are in the hospital, tell your nurse or doctor right away if the leg that had surgery feels cool, looks pale or pink, feels numb, or if you have any other new symptoms.
You will receive pain medicine if you need it.
Bypass surgery improves blood flow in the arteries for most people. You may not have symptoms anymore, even when you walk. If you still have symptoms, you should be able to walk much farther before they start.
If you have blockages in many arteries, your symptoms may not improve as much.
Aortobifemoral bypass; Femoropopliteal; Femoral popliteal; Aorta-bifemoral bypass; Axillo-bifemoral bypass; Ilio-bifemoral bypass; Femoral-femoral bypass; Distal leg bypass
Creager MA and Libby P. Peripheral arterial diseases. IN: Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, Libby P, eds Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 61.
Eisenhauer AC, White CJ, Biatt DL. Endovascular treatment of noncorononary obstructive vascular disease. IN: Bonow RO, Mann DL, Zipes DP, Libby P, eds. Braunwald's Heart Disease: A Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 63.
Updated by: John A. Daller, MD, PhD, Department of Surgery, Crozer-Chester Medical Center, Chester, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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