Femoral-Tibial Bypass Surgery: Before Your Surgery

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Grafted blood vessel around a blockage

What is femoral-tibial bypass surgery?

Femoral-tibial bypass is a type of surgery. It redirects blood around blocked blood vessels in your lower leg or foot. It is often done if you have pain. Or it may be done if you have foot sores caused by circulation problems.

Your doctor will use something called a graft to make the blood go around (bypass) the blocked part of your blood vessel. Often the graft is a vein taken from another place in your leg. But sometimes it is a man-made blood vessel. The graft will carry blood from the femoral artery in your groin to the tibial artery in your lower leg or foot.

You will be asleep during the surgery. Or you will get medicine to numb your lower body and prevent pain. The doctor will make cuts in your skin above and below the blocked blood vessel. These cuts are called incisions. If one of your veins is being used for the graft, the doctor will make another incision in your leg to take out the vein.

Then the doctor will attach one end of the graft to the femoral artery and the other end to the tibial artery. After the graft is in place and blood is flowing through it, the doctor will use stitches or staples to close the incisions. You will have scars, but they will fade with time.

You may need to stay in the hospital for 3 to 5 days. It may take 6 to 12 weeks to fully recover.

How do you prepare for surgery?

Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.

Preparing for surgery

 
  • Be sure you have someone to take you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine will make it unsafe for you to drive or get home on your own.
  • Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • If you take a medicine that prevents blood clots, your doctor may tell you to stop taking it before your surgery. Or your doctor may tell you to keep taking it. (These medicines include aspirin and other blood thinners.) Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Tell your doctor ALL the medicines, vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your surgery. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the surgery and how soon to do it.
  • Make sure your doctor and the hospital have a copy of your advance directive. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets others know your health care wishes. It's a good thing to have before any type of surgery or procedure.

What happens on the day of surgery?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your surgery may be canceled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, take them with only a sip of water.
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    Take a bath or shower before you come in for your surgery. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
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    Do not shave the surgical site yourself.
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    Take off all jewelry and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.

At the hospital or surgery center

  • Bring a picture ID.
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    The area for surgery is often marked to make sure there are no errors.
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    You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. The anesthesia may make you sleep. Or it may just numb the area being worked on.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare for your surgery.
  • You become ill before the surgery (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the surgery.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.