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Follow the beat for a healthier life. Read our blog post to learn when leg pain could warn of vascular problems, such as PAD.

Arterial Bypass Surgery​

Bypass surgery creates a new route for blood flow around a blockage in a blood vessel.

You may need this type of surgery if you have moderate to severe peripheral artery disease (PAD) and:

  • Haven't responded well to other PAD treatments like lifestyle changes.
  • You’re not a good candidate for angioplasty and stenting.

What to Expect During Arterial Bypass Surgery

A vascular surgeon performs arterial bypass surgery in the hospital.

You will receive general anesthesia so you won’t feel any pain during the surgery.

To create the bypass, your surgeon will:

  • Use either an accessory vein from your body or a synthetic graft if you don't have a suitable vein.
  • Make a small opening in the blocked artery.
  • Sew the graft from above the blockage to a normal blood vessel below the blockage, making a new route for blood flow.

Surgery may take anywhere between 2 and 6 hours, based on:

  • Your health condition.
  • The location of blockages.
  • The distance your surgeon needs to bypass.

After Arterial Bypass Surgery

Most people will spend 3 to 7 days in the hospital after surgery.

After arterial bypass surgery, you can expect the incision sites to:

  • Cause mild pain or discomfort. Your care team will give you pain medicine.
  • Swell.
  • Drain.

Your vascular surgeon will give you details on how to care for your incision site at home. He or she will also let you know when you can get back to your normal activities.

You’ll also need follow-up visits with your surgeon to check on the graft and make sure it's working properly.

Make an Appointment at the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute

To make an appointment with a UPMC vascular surgeon:

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For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

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Medical information made available on is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

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