Q:

Why would you need surgery on the main artery of your leg?

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Quick Answer

Vascular surgeons may perform surgery on the main artery of the leg to bypass a blocked section of the artery, according to VascularWeb. Doctors choose to perform surgery to treat conditions of severe peripheral arterial disease, such as open sores, disabling intermittent claudication, and serious tissue, bone or skin problems, as WebMD indicates.

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Arterial blockage occurs due to the accumulation of plaque in the blood pathway as individuals advance in age, as noted by VascularWeb. Plaque forms from calcium, cholesterol and fibrous material, causing the arteries to narrow before eventually obstructing the supply of oxygen to the body's tissues. Surgeons also perform arterial bypass to treat leg artery disease or the hardening of the leg arteries. Leg artery surgery involves the use of a graft, which could be an artificial blood vessel or one of the body's veins.

The type of surgery that a patient undergoes depends on the location of the damaged arterial section, as WebMD explains. Surgeons perform a femoropoplietal bypass if the affected section lies above the knee, while femoral-tibial bypass surgery addresses arterial problems in the lower leg or foot. Endarterectomy refers to surgery on the large femoral artery, and surgeons usually perform it around the groin and upper thigh regions.

Individuals with blocked leg arteries experience various symptoms. These include leg pain, heaviness or aches that worsen when resting or walking, as MedlinePlus details.

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