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If a lengthy portion of an artery becomes narrowed – or if a vessel is severely blocked, bypass surgery may be recommended. The procedure is performed by a surgeon.
In bypass surgery, the surgeon makes a cut near the blocked artery, then attaches a new blood vessel (from another part of the body or a synthetic vessel) above and below the blockage. By providing a channel for the blood to bypass the blockage, the new vessel, called a graft, allows blood to continue to flow to the leg and foot. Once the vessel is attached, the surgeon closes the cut with sutures or staples.
Immediately after surgery, you will be monitored to ensure that blood is flowing to your legs and that your vital signs are good. You will be given medicine to control pain. After a few days when you are able to walk on your own, you will be released from the hospital.
After you leave the hospital, it is very important to take all the medications your doctor has prescribed and follow all instructions for caring for your incision. It is also vital that you make all your follow up visits to the doctor to ensure that blood is flowing properly to your legs.
If the Pain Returns
Arteries can become blocked again after they have been treated. A re-narrowing of the artery, called restenosis (REE-sten-o-sis), may cause you to experience leg or foot pain. If you feel pain after you have been treated, call your doctor. A second procedure may be needed to widen the artery again.