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Vascular Surgery

Peripheral Artery Bypass Surgery

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The peripheral arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to the body's limbs. Peripheral artery disease reduces blood flow to the limbs when one or more of the arteries are narrowed or blocked by an accumulation of plaque. This often causes the leg muscles to cramp during activity. In severe cases that go untreated, the result is gangrene.

Bypass surgery can treat blocked arteries in the leg or abdomen. The procedure creates a new route for blood to flow through, bypassing the blocked part of the artery. In most cases, the surgeon uses a healthy leg vein or a synthetic tube to create this pathway. The healthy vein or tube, called a graft, is attached to the blocked artery, providing an alternate route for the blood to travel through and enabling an adequate amount of it to reach the limbs.

Abdominal Bypass

In most cases, a synthetic graft, or tube, is used to bypass a blocked abdominal artery. The surgeon makes incisions that allow for stitching the graft into the artery above and below the blockage, creating a new passage for blood flow, and closes the incisions with stitches or staples. The surgery typically lasts from 3-5 hours.

Leg Bypass

A large leg vein is often used as the graft to bypass a blocked artery in the leg. The surgeon makes incisions that allow for stitching the graft into the artery above and below the blockage, creating a new passage for blood flow, and closes the incisions with stitches or staples. The surgery typically lasts from 2-4 hours.

For important information on risks of and preparation for the surgery, see Before Vascular Surgery.

For post-operative information, see After Vascular Surgery.

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