What is a surgical bypass for venous disease?

A surgical bypass reroutes blood flow around a blocked vein by creating a new pathway for blood flow using a graft.

Why is this procedure performed? Why do I need this procedure?

In healthy veins, there is continuous flow of blood from the limbs back toward the heart. Venous insufficiency can occur when forward flow through the veins is obstructed, as in the case of a blood clot. In some patients who have a blood clot, the clot dissolves over time and causes no problems.

In some people, however, scar tissue forms at the site of the clot and causes a blockage in the vein preventing blood flow through it. In some instances, surgery is necessary to bypass this blockage. Surgery is typically reserved for patients who have severe venous insufficiency demonstrated by a painful swollen leg with ulcerations or wounds.

Each patient is evaluated, and treatment will be individualized for the patient’s circumstances.

Where is the procedure performed and who performs this procedure?

A surgical bypass is performed in the hospital setting by a vascular surgeon.

What are the risks and potential complications of the procedure?

Your doctor will discuss the specific risks and potential benefits of the recommended procedure with you.

Bypass surgery usually has no complications, but there may be a risk of injury to the blood vessel, leg swelling, bleeding or wound complications. Your vascular surgeon will discuss the important risks and benefits with you.

Special precautions are taken to decrease these risks, and there may be other possible risks. When you meet with your doctor, please ask questions to make sure you understand the risks of the procedure and why the procedure is recommended.