Q:

When is femoral bypass surgery of the arteries in a leg performed?

A:

Quick Answer

Doctors perform femoral bypass surgery when the femoral artery in the leg is blocked due to plaques or atherosclerosis, explains Johns Hopkins Medicine. Leg pain, non-healing wounds, infections and gangrene may be symptoms of a blocked femoral artery. Surgery may be necessary if symptoms are not improving with the use of medication.

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Full Answer

The femoral artery is the largest artery in the leg, so when it is narrowed or blocked, blood flow to the rest of the leg is compromised, says Johns Hopkins Medicine. The surgeon may take a portion of a vein from another part of the leg or use an artificial vein replacement. One end of the vein or artificial graft is sewn to the femoral artery above the blockage, while the other end is attached below the blockage. This allows blood to flow freely around the blocked portion of the artery.

Patients receive either general or epidural anesthesia and often stay in the hospital two to four days. There may be some pain at the site of the bypass, but it usually goes away in about a week, according to WebMD. Swelling in the leg may persist for two to three months. Doctors often recommended two to six weeks off of work, with full recovery in six to twelve weeks.

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