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Peripheral Bypass Surgery

Peripheral artery bypass surgery is a procedure to treat severe peripheral artery disease (PAD). Peripheral artery bypass restores blood flow to the legs by using a graft to reroute blood around a blockage in your artery.

Types of Peripheral Bypass Surgery

Depending on where your artery is blocked, there are two different types of peripheral bypasses your surgeon may decide on:

  • Distal bypass is used for the lower part of the leg. The graft may be your vein or both your vein and synthetic material
  • Femoral popliteal bypass is used for the upper part of the leg. The graft may be either your own vein or synthetic material

During the surgery, a graft is stitched into the artery above and below the blockage. This creates a new passage for blood flow. The blocked section of the artery is usually not removed. After the graft is in place, the incisions in the skin are closed with stitches or staples.

At St. Joseph's Heart & Vascular Institute, our expert cardiac surgeons develop personalized treatment plan for every patient.  

Peripheral Bypass Surgery: Grafts

The bypass is done with a graft, a special tube that reroutes blood around a blockage. The grafts carry blood from the femoral artery in your thigh to an artery further down your leg.

There are two types of grafts:

  • Blood vessel grafts often come from your own leg. They are removed and prepared at the time of the bypass. In some cases, a leg vein is left in place and connected to the artery (an in situ procedure).
  • Manmade (synthetic) grafts are materials easily accepted by the body. These grafts work best on arteries at or above the knee.

Risks and Complications of Peripheral Bypass Surgery

Some risks and complications of peripheral arterial bypass surgery are:

  • Bleeding or blood clots
  • Heart attack or stroke
  • Breathing problems
  • Infection
  • Need for second bypass or surgery to remove dead tissue (amputation)
  • Nerve damage and numbness
  • Complications from anesthesia