Bypass Surgery


Blocked arteries in the legs can cause pain with walking (“claudication”) which settles with rest, ulcers and gangrene, and if severe enough lead to amputation.

The blockage is once again usually caused by atherosclerosis. Open bypass surgery is undertaken if the minimally invasive option (interventional procedure) is unsuitable, inappropriate, or fails in any way.

Bypass surgery requires an anaesthetic (general or regional), a hospital stay of usually 5-7 days, and recovery of 1-2 months. It is preferable to use the patient’s own veins as the bypass conduit as it provide longer term patency and less risk of infection.

Synthetic graft material is sometimes used if the veins are unsuitable or unavailable.

The uncommon risks of bypass surgery, common to all major operations, includes heart attack, stroke, death, wound infection and bleeding. Specific risks include graft failure or occlusion, graft infection and amputation.