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What is peripheral vascular bypass?

A peripheral vascular bypass is the surgical creation of a new route for blood to flow around narrowed or blocked arteries outside the heart. It is a treatment for peripheral artery disease (PAD). Peripheral vascular bypass involves taking healthy veins from other places in your body to replace the diseased blood vessel. Your doctor may also replace the diseased vessel with a synthetic (artificial) vessel. The newly created blood vessel is called a graft.

Peripheral vascular bypass is a common but major surgery with serious risks and potential complications. You may have less invasive treatment options. Consider getting a second opinion about all your treatment choices before having a peripheral vascular bypass. 

Types of peripheral vascular bypass

The types of peripheral vascular bypass procedures include:

  • Aortic bypass is the bypass of a blocked section of your aorta. Your aorta is the main artery leaving your heart. It passes down through your abdomen (belly).

  • Axillary artery bypass is the bypass of the artery in your underarm.

  • Femoral artery bypass is the bypass of the artery in your thigh.

  • Iliac artery bypass is the bypass of the artery in your pelvis.

  • Popliteal artery bypass is the bypass of the artery in your knee.

  • Tibial artery bypass is the bypass of the artery in your lower leg. 

Other procedures that may be performed

Your doctor may perform other procedures in addition to a peripheral vascular bypass. These include:

  • Angiography, which is a procedure that allows your doctor to take a picture or image (called an arteriogram) of your artery

  • Doppler ultrasound, which produces images of the flow of blood through your artery

Medical Reviewers: Daphne E. Hemmings, MD, MPH Last Review Date: Jul 14, 2013

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Medical References

  1. Peripheral Arterial Bypass Surgery. MetroHealth. http://www.metrohealth.org/body.cfm?id=1450.
  2. Peripheral Artery Bypass Surgery. Heart Healthy Women. http://www.hearthealthywomen.org/treatment-and-recovery/pvd-treatment-and-recovery/peripheral-artery....
  3. Pile, JC. Evaluating postoperative fever: A focused approach. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2006;73 (Suppl 1):S62. http://ccjm.org/content/73/Suppl_1/S62.full.pdf.
  4. Surgical Bypass. Society for Vascular Surgery. http://www.vascularweb.org/vascularhealth/Pages/surgical-bypass.aspx.

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