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Treatment: Femoral Artery Bypass Graft

This procedure is used to treat blocked or narrowed arteries in the leg, which can cause lower limb ischaemia. During the operation, the blocked artery is bypassed using a section of vein from the same leg or, less commonly, an artificial graft. The blocked artery is left in place, but, because blood can flow freely through the bypass, the blood supply to the limb is restored. The cut ends of the vein used for the graft are tied and remain in place, and blood is diverted up other veins in the leg. The operation is performed in hospital under general anaesthesia.

Site of incision

Before surgery

An obstruction in an artery in the leg prevents blood from reaching the lower leg. A small section of a vein from the same leg can be used to create a bypass around this blockage.

After surgery

A length of vein has been removed and attached above and below the blockage, forming a bypass channel. The vein is reversed so that its valves allow arterial blood flow.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

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