Surgery For Pad Treatment

Treatment of PAD (peripheral artery disease) usually focuses on lifestyle changes. Some patients, however, have symptoms severe enough to warrant surgery for PAD. Treatment options include vascular bypass surgery and endarterectomy.

Prior to surgery an angiogram test detects the position of arterial blockages. During an angiogram, dye is injected into the patient’s blood vessels so arteries can be x-rayed.

PAD Bypass Surgery

Vascular bypass surgery is the most common surgery for PAD. Treatment is overseen by a vascular surgeon. PAD bypass surgery redirects blood flow around blockages.

During PAD bypass surgery the patient is under general anesthesia. A small incision is made in the artery below the blockage. The surgeon inserts a graft to direct blood around the blockage. The graft may be a harvested portion of the patient’s own blood vessels or a synthetic tube.

Vascular bypass surgery takes up to five hours, plus preoperative preparation and recovery time. Vascular surgery for PAD requires at least four to seven days of hospitalization after surgery. Physical therapy often accompanies surgical treatment of PAD.

Endarterectomy Surgery for PAD

Endarterectomy is considered when artery blockages occur in the groin or pelvic region. Endarterectomy is not generally used in the legs, as the arteries are too narrow.

During endarterectomy treatment of PAD the surgeon opens the artery lengthwise and widens the artery by physically removing blockages. Because healing produces arterial scar tissue, the artery is widened with a patch before closing the wound.

Like PAD bypass surgery, endarterectomy requires general anesthesia. Surgery usually takes two to three hours, with extra time for preparation and recovery. Patients can expect at least one or two days of hospitalization following an endarterectomy.

Complications Associated with Surgery for PAD

Surgical treatment of PAD rarely causes complications, but patients should be aware that any surgery carries the risk of infection or healing complications. Mild leg swelling is the most common complication of PAD surgery, but damaged blood vessels can also occur.

Treatment of PAD after Surgery

Surgical treatment of PAD increases blood flow to affected limbs but does not cure the condition. Unless the patient makes healthy lifestyle changes, atherosclerosis will continue to narrow arteries and cause plaque blockages.


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