Bypass Surgery to Treat Peripheral Artery Disease: What to Expect

Blog Post
By South Valley Vascular
December 27, 2021

Arteries are one of the essential parts of the vascular system in the body. These blood pathways pump blood to your muscles and other tissues transferring nutrients and oxygen. As we live our lives, how we live our lives and understanding vascular complications in the body can protect our heart and muscle health. Many patients may have to see a doctor for peripheral artery disease treatment.

What is Peripheral Artery Disease?

According to Mayo Clinic, “Peripheral artery disease (also called peripheral arterial disease) is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to your limbs.” This disease can occur from atherosclerosis forming in the arteries. Atherosclerosis is an abnormality involving fatty deposits obstructing proper blood flow to the heart.

Some risk factors of PAD stem from lifestyle choices, including smoking. Others include high blood pressure, getting older, and diabetes. Regarding patients who suffer from PAD, research shows that this disease is more prevalent among men and people over 40. Moreover, it impacts over six million Americans, with the majority being ethnic minorities.

One of the best ways to take care of your vascular health is to abstain from smoking. A study stated that as the content inside cigarettes is smoked, it damages cells in the body, increasing the risk of developing atherosclerosis in the arteries. Doctors also recommend moving around and staying active to keep your arteries healthy.

What is Bypass Surgery?

According to WebMD, “Heart bypass surgery is when a surgeon takes blood vessels from another part of your body to go around, or bypass, a blocked artery. The result is that more blood and oxygen can flow to your heart again.” This surgery aims to combat the plaque that builds up in the arteries due to PAD. Consult with your doctor if you feel that you may need this operation.

Another type of bypass surgery is lower extremity bypass, and its purpose is to allow blood flow to circulate through the legs of the patient properly. It is worth noting that this surgery is well-suited for people who could not go through angioplasty, a procedure done through a tube placed in the artery to target PAD. Other forms of treatment for PAD are laser atherectomy, stenting, and endarterectomy. 


Heart bypass surgery is typically done in the hospital and could take as little as three hours to complete. The first steps during the operation are for the surgeon to open your chest or create small incisions instead. The latter procedure is through minimally invasive surgery, where the patient will have a much faster recovery rate.

A breathing tube to help you breathe will be placed in your mouth as an anesthetic throughout the bypass surgery. If the surgeon performs an on-pump coronary bypass surgery, a cardiopulmonary bypass machine will keep your oxygen pumping throughout your body.

In addition to minimally invasive or on-pump surgery, another way to operate on the heart is off-pump surgery. You are not connected to a cardiopulmonary bypass machine during this type of operation. Instead, equipment will sustain the heart during the procedure.

Overall, a patient should recover from heart surgery between six to 12 weeks. During the first few days, you’ll be in the intensive care unit. After a week of outpatient recovery exercises and methods, you will likely be sent home. It is especially crucial to take great care of yourself during this process to allow your body to recover from surgery.

For more blogs on vascular health or to schedule an appointment, BASS South Valley Vascular is available to help your needs. To find a clinic near your area, you can check out our regional clinic locations on our website.