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Venous Bypass Surgery

What Is Venous Bypass Surgery?

Venous bypass is surgery that improves the blood flow through your veins.

Your doctor will use a healthy vein to make a new path around the part of your vein that isn't working.

Your doctor may suggest vein bypass if you have:

  • A blood clot
  • Scar tissue
  • Any other type of blockage in your veins

Contact the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute

To request an appointment, contact the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute:


Conditions We Treat with Venous Bypass Surgery

Venous disease — or chronic venous disease — causes the valves in your veins not to work properly, preventing proper blood flow.

Your veins are responsible for carrying blood to your heart. When they get damaged, your heart will start to weaken.

For people with venous disease, blood often builds up in the legs. This puts pressure on the veins in your legs and causes other problems, such as pain and swelling.

Symptoms of Venous Disease

  • Swelling
  • Varicose veins
  • Ulcers
  • Skin discoloration
  • Itchiness
  • Tenderness
  • Heaviness
  • Tiredness
  • Aching

Vein bypass surgery also treats atherosclerosis and peripheral arterial disease.

What to Expect Before, During, and After Venous Bypass Surgery

Before your surgery

Make sure your doctor is aware of your past health problems and any medicine you're taking.

You may need some tests before venous bypass surgery, such as:

  • Blood tests
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Chest x-ray
  • Ultrasound

Your doctor will also tell you how best to prepare for the upcoming procedure.

During your surgery

You will be under general anesthesia during surgery, so you will be asleep and won't feel any pain.

To create the bypass, your surgeon will:

  • Find a healthy vein from somewhere in your body or use a graft.
  • Make a small cut in the blocked vein.
  • Sew the vein or graft from either side of the blockage to restore blood flow.

The procedure can take a few hours, based on the severity and location of your blockage. Once the bypass is complete, your surgeon will stitch you up for recovery.

After your surgery

After bypass surgery, you will need to stay in the hospital for 3 to 10 days. Your doctor will want to watch your condition and make sure you don't have any complications from the surgery.

Before you go home, your doctor may prescribe medicine to prevent future blood clots or physical therapy to help with your recovery.

Risks and Complications

As with any surgery, venous bypass carries some risks and complications.

After assessing your condition, your doctor will discuss possible risks based on:

  • Your age
  • The stage of venous disease
  • Your past health history

Make sure you ask questions if you have any concerns.

You may have an increased risk for post-op complications if you have:

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • DVT or other clotting disorder
  • A history of smoking

Complications can include:

  • Bleeding or blood clots
  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Minimal swelling

If you have any of these issues post-surgery, contact your doctor right away.