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After Peripheral Artery Bypass Surgery

You had a procedure known as peripheral artery bypass surgery. Peripheral arteries deliver blood to your legs and feet. Over time, artery walls may thicken and build up with plaque (a fatlike substance). As plaque builds up in an artery, blood flow can be reduced or even blocked, causing peripheral artery disease. Surgery to bypass this blockage is called peripheral artery bypass surgery. A surgeon stitches a graft into the artery above and below the blockage. This creates a new path for blood flow.

Activity

  • Discuss with your doctor what you can and can’t do as you recover.

  • Don’t drive for at least 7 days after your surgery or while you are taking opioid pain medication (or if you are still having a lot of leg pain).

  • Expect to start walking soon after surgery. Walking helps reduce swelling and helps your incision heal. You can expect, however, to have some leg swelling after surgery.

  • Don’t stand or sit with your feet down for long. When you sit, raise your feet as high as you comfortably can.

Home care

  • Check your incision every day for signs of infection such as swelling, redness, warmth, or drainage.

  • Don’t bathe or soak in a tub or go swimming until your incisions are well healed (usually at least 2 weeks).However, you can shower to keep your incisions clean; just make sure you dry them well afterward.

  • Take your medications exactly as directed. Don’t skip doses.

  • Avoid skin burns by testing the temperature of shower water before you get in.

  • Wear slippers or shoes when walking. Don’t go barefoot or wear open-toed shoes.

  • Learn to take your pulse in your leg and your foot. Keep a record of your results. Ask your doctor or nurse which pulse changes might be a problem.

Follow-up

  • See your doctor to have your stitches or staples removed 10 to 14 days after your surgery.

 

When to call your doctor

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • Fever above 101°F (38.3°C)

  • Signs of infection (redness, swelling, or warmth at the incision site)

  • Drainage from your incision

  • Changes in color, temperature, feeling, or movement in either foot

  • Increasing pain or numbness in your foot or leg

  • Leg swelling that does not improve overnight

  • Chest pain or difficulty breathing

Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Online Medical Reviewer: Turley, Ray, BSN, MSN
Last Review Date: 3/24/2014
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