Arterial Bypass Surgery

Arterial bypass surgery creates a new route for blood to flow around a blockage inside your blood vessels. You may need this procedure to treat critical limb ischemia (severe blockage in the arteries of your legs), also called CLI.

How to Prepare for Arterial Bypass Surgery

To prepare for arterial bypass surgery, you should:

  • Arrange blood tests and imaging tests
  • Ask your doctor about stopping medications if necessary
  • Avoid eating and drinking eight hours before the procedure
  • Schedule someone to drive you home after the procedure

What to Expect During Arterial Bypass Surgery

Arterial bypass surgery usually takes two to six hours. You will have this procedure in a hospital.  

First, you will receive an intravenous (IV) line in the arm for fluids and medicines. Next, you will receive general anesthesia (medicine to help you sleep and not feel pain) through the IV. You will be asleep during the procedure.

A surgeon uses one of your own veins, synthetic vein (graft) or a vein from a cadaver (cryovein) to reroute your blood flow around the blockage. If they select to use one of your healthy veins, the doctor will remove it through a small cut. Next, they will make a cut near the top and at the bottom of the blocked artery and stitch your healthy vein (or the synthetic vein or cryovein) to go around the blockage. We use deep stiches to close the wound and then staples or stitches to close the cuts on the skin. We then move you to a recovery room.

What Happens After Arterial Bypass Surgery

After your surgery, you will be admitted to our ICU and we will monitor your heart rate and blood pressure. Once your doctor releases you, you can have someone drive you home. Follow your doctor's instructions for returning to normal activities.