Patients with a blocked femoral artery may experience calf pain when walking.
A fem-pop bypass, also called popliteal femoral bypass surgery, is a surgical procedure performed for femoral artery disease when the main vein in the leg becomes blocked with a fatty substance. It involves grafting a vessel around the blockage to allow normal blood flow to the lower extremities. Surgeons use a piece of blood vessel taken from another area of the leg or a section of artificial material to redirect blood from the narrowed vein.
In a fem-pop bypass, a stent may be placed to keep an artery clear.
The surgery treats peripheral artery disease (PAD), a condition in which a fatty substance builds up in the femoral artery, which carries blood to the legs and feet. People with this condition can also experience blockages in the heart and brain because the fats that build up in the arteries can appear throughout the body. Fats harden and reduce the amount of blood flow to the affected area. If an artery in the heart or brain is affected, it can lead to a heart attack or stroke.
A fem-pop bypass can help prevent leg amputation in some people.
Fem-pop bypass procedures can be done under local anesthesia or general anesthesia, which means the patient can be awake or asleep during the operation. The surgeon makes an incision in the leg and grafts the bypass vein around the blocked artery. Blood is diverted by the graft to restore blood flow that carries oxygen and nutrients to the legs and feet.
A fem-pop bypass procedure may require general anesthesia.
Pain is often the first sign that a fem-pop bypass is needed. Patients with a blocked femoral artery often limp and feel pain in the buttocks, thigh, or calf when walking. Painful claudication usually appears during normal exercise or while walking.
Symptoms that surgery may be necessary include cold, pale feet due to decreased blood supply. The patient may experience pain during rest, which lessens when he moves to a sitting position. A sore or ulcer that doesn’t heal is another symptom that can cause complications such as infection or gangrene. In severe cases, amputation of the affected limb may be necessary.
A femoral artery blocked by fatty substances may require a fem-pop bypass procedure.
One procedure that may be effective in place of a fem-pop bypass is called an angioplasty. A hollow catheter is inserted into the blocked femoral artery and inflated with a balloon device. This expands the opening in the vein that is blocked by fatty tissue. A metal stent may be inserted into the artery to keep it clean.
Complications of the surgery include the risk of a heart attack or clot formation in the leg. Some patients experience swelling due to excess fluid in the extremities after the operation. It is also possible for blood vessels to be damaged during the grafting process of fem-pop heart bypass surgery.