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Your aorta is a major artery that leaves your heart and allows oxygen and blood to flood freely throughout your body. About level with your naval (belly button) the aorta branches into two sections called iliac arteries. At both groin areas these arteries become your femoral arteries.

Over time, fatty deposits can build up on the wall of your aorta causing restricted flow and hardening of the arteries. Often patients complain of leg pain that increases when walking, cold feet or legs and ulcers on the feet and legs that do not heal.

An aortofemoral bypass is a procedure to insert artificial tubes (grafts) above the blocked artery and connect the ends of the graft to your femoral arteries. The graft looks like an upside down Y and allows blood to flow around the restriction into your lower limbs.

What happens during aortofemoral bypass?

This operation is performed under general anaesthetic and can take from 90 minutes to several hours.

Your surgeon will make an incision (cut) down your abdomen (stomach). They will also make smaller incisions in your groin areas. After clamping off the blood supply the top of the graft will be stitched to your aorta – just above the restricted area. They will thread the lower 2 ends of the graft through your groin areas and stitch these into place on your femoral arteries. The clamps will be removed and your surgeon will inspect all areas to ensure blood is freely flowing through the graft. You wounds will be closed with stitches or staples.

Immediately following your surgery you will be taken to a recovery area where we will monitor your blood pressure, heart rate and breathing. You may have a small tube in a vein in your hand or arm. A catheter (tube) may also be in place to help you pass urine.

You will need to rest in bed for about 2 days. After a few days the drip and catheter will be removed and you will be encouraged to begin eating and drinking normally and to begin moving around on your own.

You may need to stay in hospital 7-10 days. Be sure and arrange for someone to drive you home on your day of discharge.

Going home after aortofemoral bypass

Continue to take and pain relief medication as directed. If you are given blood thinning medication to prevent blood clots it is important that you finish the entire prescription. Wear any compression hose as instructed.

Follow any activity restrictions recommended by your surgeon. It can take 6 weeks or more before you begin to resume normal daily activities. Discuss any return to work with your surgeon.

As with any medical procedure there could be complications such as:

Specific complications of this procedure may include:

  • Blood clots in your lungs
  • Failure of the graft
  • Infection in the graft
  • Fluid build-up under your wounds
  • Nerve damage
  • Erectile dysfunction (men)
Find your nearest hospital that provides this treatment

Shenfield Road, Brentwood, CM15 8EH

01277 695695
Overall rating Good

Warren Road, Brighton, BN2 6DX

01273 624 488
Overall rating Good

78 Broyle Road, Chichester, PO19 6WB

01243 530600
Overall rating Good

Wonford Road, Exeter, EX2 4UG

01392 276 591
Overall rating Good

Stirling Road, Guildford, GU2 7RF

01483 555 800
Overall rating Good

Foxhall Road, Ipswich, IP4 5SW

01473 279100
Overall rating Good

2 Leighton Street, Leeds, LS1 3EB

0113 388 2111
Overall rating Outstanding

Scraptoft Lane, Leicester, LE5 1HY

0116 276 9401
Overall rating Good

Beech Road, Headington, Oxford, OX3 7RP

01865 307777
Overall rating Good

Longden Road, Shrewsbury, SY3 9DP

01743 282 500
Overall rating Good

Staplegrove Elm, Taunton, TA2 6AN

01823 286 991
Overall rating Good
Tunbridge Wells  

Kingswood Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN2 4UL

01892 531 111
Overall rating Good

The Chase, Old Milverton Lane, Leamington Spa, CV32 6RW

01926 427971
Overall rating Good

Winchester Road, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, SO53 2DW

02380 266 377
Overall rating Good

Wood Road, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton, WV6 8LE

01902 793 269
Overall rating Good

Haxby Road, York, YO31 8TA

01904 715 000
Overall rating Good

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