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Learning About Femoropopliteal Bypass Surgery for Peripheral Arterial Disease

A femoropopliteal bypass surgery

What is femoropopliteal bypass surgery?

A femoropopliteal (fem-pop) bypass is surgery to change the flow of your blood so it goes around blocked blood vessels.

To do this surgery, your doctor will use something called a graft. The graft can be a vein taken from another place in your leg. Or it can be a man-made blood vessel.

The doctor sews the graft onto your femoral and popliteal arteries. Then your blood goes through this new graft vessel instead of the blocked one.

How is the surgery done?

You may be asleep during the surgery. Or you may get medicine to numb your lower body and prevent pain.

The doctor will make a cut (incision) in your thigh. The doctor may make another cut in the inside of your calf just below the knee.

If one of your veins is being used for a graft, the doctor will make another cut in your leg to remove this vein.

The doctor then connects one end of the graft to the femoral artery in your thigh. The other end is connected to the popliteal artery above or below your knee.

After the graft is in place and the blood is flowing through it, the doctor will close the incisions with stitches or staples.

What can you expect after the surgery?

You will probably stay 2 to 4 days in the hospital.

You will have some pain from the incisions. This usually gets better after about 1 week.

Your leg may be swollen at first. This is normal. It may last 2 or 3 months.

You will need to take it easy for at least 2 to 6 weeks at home. It may take 6 to 12 weeks to fully recover.

You will probably need to take at least 2 to 6 weeks off from work. It depends on the type of work you do and how you feel.

You will have regular tests to check for problems with the graft.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Where can you learn more?

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