Top of the page
A femoral endarterectomy (say "FEM-uh-rull en-dar-tuh-REK-tuh-mee") is done to remove fatty buildup (plaque) from the femoral artery. This is a large blood vessel in the leg. When plaque builds up in the artery, it can make it hard for blood to flow in your leg. After surgery, blood may flow better in your leg. You may feel less leg pain. And you may have less numbness and cramping.
You will probably be asleep during the surgery. But it might be done while you are awake. If this is the case, you will get medicine to numb your leg and prevent pain.
The doctor will make a cut (incision) in your groin or upper thigh. The cut is made over the blocked part of the artery. The doctor will then make a cut in the artery and will take out the plaque.
Next, the doctor may sew a man-made patch over the cut in your artery. But sometimes a piece of blood vessel from another part of the leg is sewn over the cut. This will make the artery wider. It also helps keep it from getting narrow again. Then the doctor will use stitches to close the cut in your skin. It will leave a scar. But the scar will fade with time.
You will probably spend 1 or 2 days in the hospital. You will need to take it easy for 1 to 4 weeks at home. It may take 6 to 8 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 or nurse call line 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.
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter R010 in the search box to learn more about "Femoral Endarterectomy: Before Your Surgery".
Current as of: July 22, 2018
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
©2006-2019 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.