Femoro-Popliteal Bypass Surgery

In this form of surgery the leg is re-vascularized by bypassing a blocked artery with bypass graft. The bypass can be prosthetic i.e. man-made or autogenous (native to your body). Generally autogenous grafts are preferred as they are less prone to infection and have a better patency rates.

The most common autogenous graft used is the long superficial vein in your leg (the Great Saphenous Vein). This is the same vein that most cardiac surgeons often harvest to do coronary bypass grafts. There is a deep venous system in your leg which means that the superficial system can be used in this way without there being any significant adverse effects on your leg. Although this is the most common conduit used other leg veins and even arm veins are just as food. In bypass grafting the artery above and below the occluded artery is exposed and the conduit is tunnelled between these two wounds and sewn into the artery (anastomosed) at each level. So that though this new route (bypass) blood can flow directly to the leg and foot.

If the aorta or pelvic arteries are diseased then a bypass from the aorta into the groins is called an aorto bifemoral bypass is performed. For this group almost always a prosthetic graft needs to be used.

Back to: Leg Cramps and Claudication.