A leg bypass surgery may be necessary if fatty deposits have clogged a blood vessel, impeding blood flow through the leg. During this surgery, doctors will create a new pathway for blood to travel.

More than 200 million people in the United States have peripheral artery disease (PAD). This is a disease where obstructed arteries block blood flow to your body’s extremities. It more commonly affects lower extremities like your legs, and symptoms can range from very mild to severe depending on the extent of the arteries involved.

If you have significantly blocked blood flow in your legs from PAD, you may need leg bypass surgery to treat it. It’s important to let a doctor or healthcare professional know if you’re having trouble walking or feeling pain in your legs, so they can determine if the cause is PAD and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

During a leg bypass surgery, a surgeon will create a new pathway around the narrow or clogged blood vessel that’s impeding the flow of blood through your legs.

This procedure is also sometimes called peripheral artery bypass or peripheral vascular bypass.

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3095687-Leg Bypass Surgery-What You Should Know

Leg bypass surgery is typically needed when someone has severe PAD that prevents them from performing everyday tasks and that doesn’t improve with other forms of treatment.

While many conditions can lead to PAD, it’s frequently due to fatty deposits that have built up and are blocking blood flow through a blood vessel.

Signs that blood flow through your legs isn’t circulating as well as expected can include leg pain, trouble walking, and wounds that won’t heal. A doctor will likely suggest medications and other lifestyle changes first before recommending a leg bypass surgery.

There’s a risk of serious complications like a heart attack, blood clots, and even death with a leg bypass surgery.

It’s important to weigh the benefits and risks of this surgery as well as other treatment options with a doctor before undergoing it.

Before having a leg bypass surgery, you’ll need to undergo testing to determine the location and extent of any blockage.

During surgery, a graft will be placed that either replaces or bypasses the blood vessel that’s blocked. This graft can be made of synthetic tubing or a blood vessel transplanted from another part of your body.

In order to place the graft, a doctor will make an incision over the blocked blood vessel and clamp both ends of it. The graft will then be sewn into place and the surgeon will check for good blood flow before sewing up the incision.

Risks of leg bypass surgery can include:

There’s also a chance that a bypass surgery won’t be successful, and a second bypass surgery or leg amputation will be necessary.

Individuals may be at a higher risk of complications if they smoke, are obese, or have other health conditions.

You may spend time in the intensive care unit (ICU) after a leg bypass surgery depending on where the affected blood vessels are in your body, how the surgery goes, and the set-up of the hospital.

The surgeon can explain what the recovery process will look like in the specific hospital where you are having you’re surgery.

You’ll likely spend several days in the hospital following a leg bypass surgery. Your pulse will be checked frequently during this time to determine how well the bypass is working. You’ll also slowly increase the distance you walk during this time.

Long incisions may be required for a leg bypass surgery, and it’s important to follow any instructions given to you at the hospital to care for these wounds.

For the best possible recovery, it’s important to avoid smoking before and after surgery. You’ll also need to take aspirin and any cholesterol-lowering medications a doctor may recommend.

Once you have recovered from surgery, you should notice a decrease in pain, faster healing of foot wounds, and an improvement in your ability to walk.

Leg bypass surgery may be necessary if you have a blocked blood vessel that’s preventing effective blood flow through your legs. During this procedure, a doctor will use a graft to create a path around the affected area for blood to flow.

Before undergoing a surgical procedure like leg bypass surgery, you’ll want to discuss any concerns you may have with a surgeon. They can provide information about the surgery and recovery process.