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Femoropopliteal Bypass: Before Your Surgery

What is a femoropopliteal bypass?

A femoropopliteal bypass is a type of surgery. It is also called a fem-pop or leg artery bypass. This type of surgery redirects blood around a blocked blood vessel in your leg. So it may improve the blood flow in your leg. This can decrease leg pain, numbness, and cramping.

Your doctor will use something called a graft to make the blood go around (bypass) the blocked part of your blood vessel. The graft may be a vein taken from another place in your leg. Or it may be a man-made blood vessel.

You will probably be asleep during the surgery. But it also can be done while you are awake. If you are awake, you will get medicine to numb your leg and prevent pain. First, the doctor makes cuts in your thigh and sometimes in the side of the calf. These cuts are called incisions. If one of your veins is being used for the graft, the doctor will make other incisions in your leg. Then the doctor will attach one end of the graft to the femoral artery in your thigh. The other end will be attached to the popliteal artery above or below your knee. After the graft is in place and blood is flowing through it, the doctor uses stitches or staples to close the incisions. You will have scars, but they will fade with time.

You will probably spend 2 to 4 days in the hospital. For at least 2 to 6 weeks, you will need to take it easy at home. 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 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.

How do you prepare for 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

  • Be sure you have someone to take you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine will make it unsafe for you to drive or get home on your own.
  • Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • If you take aspirin or some other blood thinner, ask your doctor if you should stop taking it before your surgery. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do. These medicines increase the risk of bleeding.
  • Tell your doctor ALL the medicines and natural health products you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your surgery. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the surgery and how soon to do it.
  • Make sure your doctor and the hospital have a copy of your advance care plan. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets others know your health care wishes. It's a good thing to have before any type of surgery or procedure.

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

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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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.