Peripheral Artery

Bypass Grafting


A Peripheral Artery Bypass is performed to help you if you have a Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) and have symptoms such as sore leg muscle pain while walking, sore feet, leg/feet sores that won’t heal, and gangrene. Typically, your primary care doctor will attempt other therapy first including balloon angioplasty and stenting. If both of these procedures are not suitable, then additional tests will be performed to see if a Peripheral Artery Bypass should be performed in place.

What to Expect

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Before even receiving an Artery Bypass Grafting your primary care physician, or the physicians at Missouri Heart Center, will assess if any alternatives can be performed. The most common alternatives for Artery Bypass Grafting include balloon angioplasty and stenting. If both procedures are deemed unsuitable for you, Missouri Heart Center will then begin tests to ensure that a Peripheral Artery Bypass can and should be performed in place.

After you have been cleared and are scheduled for your Artery Bypass Graft, your doctor will administer spinal anesthetic so that you will feel no pain during the operation. If necessary, your doctor will also perform a blood transfusion.


The most common type of surgical bypass is a fem-pop bypass. This bypass uses either a natural or synthetic graft to create an alternate path around the blocked area starting at the groin crease and ending at the calf, inner knee, or foot. To access the area your doctor will make an incision between four to eight inches at the beginning and end of the crease. The graft is then sewn to the artery at both ends with stitches to hold it into place. Your doctor will secure the incision point with stitches as well.


After your surgery, you will be hospitalized anywhere from two to seven days to monitor your recovery and healing. Often your bowels will slowly become active again after this procedure, therefore, solid foods are reintroduced slowly. You will be prescribed pain medication for any discomfort you may feel from the incision point or swelling caused by the surgery. We will often perform rehabilitation exercises with you to assist you in regaining your strength.

Once discharged, it is appropriate to have someone live alongside you for a few days to monitor for any abnormalities. We also suggest taking a few weeks of leave from work to help in your recuperation as well. In this recovery time, it is not advised that you drive, perform heavy work, or lift heavy weight for a period of time. How long this time is varies on the type of procedure and the severity of your prior condition. Note that you may often lose your appetite, have swelling in the legs or abdomen, and muscle pain while walking, which will improve gradually.


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How long does the surgery last?

Anywhere between one and a half to six hours.

Are there any follow up procedures?

Occasionally, additional procedures are needed to keep the bypass functioning properly.

What if I don’t have anyone to live alongside me for a few days after my discharge?

We can recommend many care or rehabilitation facilities to accommodate your needs.