Leg bypass graft

Cheltenham Vascular Unit


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Leg bypass
The arteries in your leg are the main blood supply that carries oxygen to your feet. One or more of these has become narrowed or blocked due to arterial disease (atherosclerosis). Arterial disease can be caused by a number of factors including smoking, high cholesterol, obesity, lack of exercise and family history. The narrowing and/or blockage of the arteries in the leg can cause pain, ulceration or gangrene. If the blood supply to your leg is not improved, there is a risk of that you may need an amputation.
The surgery
The aim of this operation is to bypass the narrowing or blockage so the blood flow to your leg is improved. This will be done using either one of your own leg veins or an artificial graft (tube). The operation will be performed using either a general and/ or epidural anaesthetic.
A general anaesthetic will mean that you are asleep for the whole operation.
An epidural anaesthetic is given by an injection into your back (after numbing the skin with local anaesthetic) and this will have the effect of numbing the lower part of your body for the duration of the operation. This can also be used with sedation so that you are sleepy or asleep throughout the operation.
The epidural may also be used to control pain after your operation
Risks and complications
As with any major surgery there is always a risk to heart and lungs because of the strain they are put under during the operation.

Risks include
Heart failure, infection of the graft, the wound or your chest and thrombosis (blood clot).
There is a small risk that the graft may become blocked or infected. If this happens, further surgery may be necessary and this includes the possibility of an amputation.
You may have areas of numbness or altered sensation around the wounds and in the area over the graft; this usually improves over a few weeks but can be permanent.
It is common to experience swelling of the leg after the operation. This is usually temporary but can take several months to fully recover.
In common with all major surgery there is a risk of you not surviving the operation. This will be discussed with you prior to surgery.

Futher information
The information contained on this website is intended as a guide only, it is not intended to substitute for medical consultation, diagnosis or treatment.
Please see your doctor with any questions regarding personal health or medical conditions