Femoral-Tibial Bypass Surgery: Before Your Surgery

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What is a femoral-tibial bypass?

 Grafted blood vessel around a blockage

Femoral-tibial bypass is a type of surgery. It redirects blood around blocked blood vessels in your lower leg or foot. It is often done if you have pain. Or it may be done if you have foot sores caused by circulation problems.

Your doctor will use something called a graft to make the blood go around (bypass) the blocked part of your blood vessel. Often the graft is a vein taken from another place in your leg. But sometimes it is a man-made blood vessel. The graft will carry blood from the femoral artery in your groin to the tibial artery in your lower leg or foot.

You will be asleep during the surgery. Or you will get medicine to numb your lower body and prevent pain. The doctor will make cuts in your skin above and below the blocked blood vessel. These cuts are called incisions. If one of your veins is being used for the graft, the doctor will make another incision in your leg to take out the vein.

Then the doctor will attach one end of the graft to the femoral artery and the other end to the tibial artery. After the graft is in place and blood is flowing through it, the doctor will use stitches or staples to close the incisions. You will have scars, but they will fade with time.

You may need to stay in the hospital for 3 to 5 days. It may take 6 to 12 weeks to fully recover.

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 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.

What happens before surgery?

Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.

Preparing for surgery

  • Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • Tell your doctors ALL the medicines and natural health products you take. Some of these can increase the risk of bleeding or interact with anesthesia.
  • If you take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if you should stop taking these medicines before your surgery. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Your doctor will tell you which medicines to take or stop before your surgery. You may need to stop taking certain medicines a week or more before surgery. So talk to your doctor as soon as you can.
  • If you have an advance care plan, let your doctor know. Bring a copy to the hospital. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets your doctor and loved ones know your health care wishes. Doctors advise that everyone prepare these papers before any type of surgery or procedure.

What happens on the day of surgery?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your surgery may be cancelled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, take them with only a sip of water.
  • Take a bath or shower before you come in for your surgery. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
  • Do not shave the surgical site yourself.
  • Take off all jewellery and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.

At the hospital or surgery centre

  • Bring a picture ID.
  • The area for surgery is often marked to make sure there are no errors.
  • You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. The anesthesia may make you sleep. Or it may just numb the area being worked on.

Going home

  • Be sure you have someone to drive you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine make it unsafe for you to drive.
  • You will be given more specific instructions about recovering from your surgery. They will cover things like diet, wound care, follow-up care, driving, and getting back to your normal routine.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare for your surgery.
  • You become ill before the surgery (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the surgery.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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