Arterial endarterectomy (removal of the atherosclerotic plaque) and/or a bypass (blood flow rerouting using your own veins or a prosthetic conduit) are among the most commonly performed surgical procedures for peripheral artery disease.
While the patient is under general anesthesia, a small incision is made usually at the groin or medial to the knee area at the location of the blockage.
The surgeon isolates and opens the diseased artery to remove the atherosclerotic plaque. Then, the artery is sewn back together to allow improved blood flow to the leg.
When the blockage is extensive, it can be bypassed. Typically patients who undergo this procedure have a supervised hospital stay for 2-5 days after surgery.
While the operation can result in some post-operative leg pain, most of this can be relieved with standard pain medications.
As with any operation, endarterectomy or leg bypass have a risk of bleeding or failure (blood clot formation – thrombosis) that may lead to worse leg ischemia.
You will want to discuss them thoroughly with your vascular surgeon.