A peripheral artery bypass is performed to reroute the blood supply around a blocked leg artery. Peripheral arteries can become blocked by a buildup of fatty material (atherosclerosis). Peripheral artery bypass surgery to treat a blockage can be done in one or more of the following arteries:

  • Aorta - the main artery that comes from the heart
  • Iliac artery - in the hip
  • Femoral artery - in the thigh
  • Popliteal artery - behind the knee
  • Tibial and peroneal artery - in the lower leg
  • Axillary artery - from the armpit

During bypass surgery on any artery, the surgeon will make an incision over the blocked area and move skin, muscle and other tissue aside. Clamps will be placed on the artery at each end of the blocked section. The surgeon will then use a graft to replace the blocked part of the artery. It may be made from another blood vessel taken from the body during the surgery. It may also be composed of man-made material.

After the graft is sewn in place, the surgeon will make sure the blood flow to the lower leg is good. The incision will then be closed.

Risks may include

  • Allergic reactions to medicines
  • Breathing problems
  • Blood clots in the legs that may travel to the lungs
  • Breathing problems
  • Heart attack or stroke
  • Infection, including in the lungs, urinary tract and belly
  • Damage to nearby organs in the body
  • Infection in the incision
  • An incision that opens
  • A second bypass surgery or a leg amputation
  • Damage to a nerve that causes pain or numbness in a leg
  • Sexual problems caused by damage to a nerve during aortofemoral or aortoiliac bypass surgery

Texas Health is committed to providing quality care to heart and vascular patients throughout North Texas and beyond. While various technologies and services are discussed here, not all of our hospitals offer every treatment and diagnostic technology highlighted. Call 1-877-THR-WELL to learn more about heart and vascular services at a Texas Health hospital near you.

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