Peripheral Vascular Surgery

Peripheral Vascular BypassWhat is peripheral vascular bypass?

Peripheral vascular bypass is a surgical procedure that is performed to relieve the symptoms of obstructed passages in the veins or arteries. The operation is done to improve blood flow in arteries that have hardened or become narrow because of plaque buildup.

People with PVD (peripheral vascular disease) can develop obstruction of arteries in various parts of the body (abdomen, legs, etc.). If left untreated, the condition can lead to more serious complications such as stroke and amputation of extremities. The surgery can help alleviate symptoms as well as prevent life-threatening health issues from developing.


PAD can be either hereditary or caused by lifestyle choices such as a poor diet and lack of exercise. Other factors that can increase the risk of the disease include;

  • Family History of Cardiovascular Disease
  • Inadequate Exercise
  • Obesity
  • Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Hypertension
  • High Cholesterol and Triglyceride Levels


As its name indicates, an artery is bypassed during peripheral vascular surgery. An alternative blood vessel will first have to be obtained in order to continue with the procedure. If possible, part of the saphenous vein can be removed and used in the procedure; otherwise, an artificial graft will have to be utilized. One end of the graft is then placed above the obstruction point, and the other part is inserted below the blockage.


Your doctor will perform a thorough physical exam which will include evaluation of the vascular system. Other tests will likely be ordered in order to make an accurate diagnosis. These tests may include; CT angiography, blood tests, angiography, doppler ultrasonography, and measurement of blood pressure and pulse.

Risks Associated with Vascular Surgery

Like with all surgical procedures, there are some risks involved. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks so that together you can decide if surgery is the best treatment option for you. Possible side effects of vascular surgery include:

  • Excessive Bleeding
  • Bad or Allergic Reaction to Drugs/Anesthesia
  • Blood Clot Formation
  • Accidental Injury to Nerves
  • Blood Pressure Alterations
  • Trouble Breathing
  • Improper Healing/Graft Failure

Post Surgical Care

Patients who undergo peripheral vascular surgery are usually hospitalized for up to a week. During this time, blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature levels are regularly checked. Walking is also encouraged to help maintain good circulation.

Pain medication and anticoagulants are typically sent home with the patient. Leg swelling should be expected after the procedure and may last for several months. Doctors highly recommend that the necessary life changes (diet, exercise regimen, etc.) are made to prevent the disease from reoccurring.