6 Big Questions Answered About Peripheral Artery Bypass Surgery

Peripheral artery bypass surgery is a medical procedure to improve blood flow to the legs and feet. The surgery is performed by placing a graft, or artificial blood vessel, around a blocked or narrowed artery. This article will answer some of the most frequently asked questions about this procedure.

When is peripheral artery bypass surgery necessary?

Peripheral artery bypass surgery is usually necessary when there is a blockage in the arteries that supply blood to the legs, also known as peripheral artery disease (PAD). According to Modern Vascular Albuquerque, NM, the surgery is typically performed when other treatments, such as lifestyle changes and medications have not successfully treated the blockage.

Bypass surgery creates a new pathway for blood to flow around a blocked or narrowed artery. The surgery is usually done using a section of vein from another part of the body. The surgeon will make an incision in the leg and then attach the vein to the artery above and below the blockage. After the surgery, the patient will need to stay in the hospital for a few days. They will likely need to take blood thinners and avoid strenuous activity for several weeks.

What are the benefits of peripheral artery bypass surgery?

There are many benefits to peripheral artery bypass surgery. This surgery can improve blood flow to the legs and feet, decrease pain, and improve quality of life. Additionally, this surgery can also prevent or delay the need for amputation.

What are the risks of peripheral artery bypass surgery?

Peripheral artery bypass surgery risks include bleeding, infection, blood clots, and damage to the nerves or blood vessels. Patients are usually given medications to help thin the blood and reduce blood pressure before and after surgery to limit these risks. The procedure is usually about 90% to 95% successful, provided the patient follows pre- and post-surgery instructions.

How long does it take to recover from peripheral artery bypass surgery?

People take about 6-8 weeks to recover from peripheral artery bypass surgery fully. Patients can help the healing process in several ways:

  • Walk short routes a few times daily, increasing the distance incrementally.

  • Rest with the leg elevated to prevent swelling.

  • Do not drive until the doctor says it’s safe.

  • Wear loose clothes to avoid irritating the healing incision.

  • Avoid soaking the incision area while showering. Avoid baths until the doctor says it’s okay.

What are the leading causes of peripheral artery disease?

There are many possible causes of PAD, but the most common cause is atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a condition in which plaque builds up inside your arteries. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, and other substances found in the blood. Over time, plaque can harden and narrow your arteries. This can reduce or block blood flow to your limbs.

Other causes of PAD include diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. A family history of heart disease and age over 50 can also be contributing factors. Additionally, smoking increases the risk of developing PAD and other diseases in the heart and lungs.

Does bypass surgery cure peripheral artery disease?

Bypass surgery does not cure the cause of peripheral artery disease. Even after bypass surgery, patients may need additional treatments over the years, especially if they neglect to take care of themselves. Modern Vascular Albuquerque recommends lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking and eating a healthy diet to prevent PAD progression. Patients should also exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight.

A peripheral artery bypass is expected to last for 5 to 10 years. However, some patients may need further treatment within a few years of the surgery. The need for other treatment will depend on the individual patient’s health and the severity of their arterial disease.

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