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Vascular Center


Lower Extremity Bypass Surgery

Lower extremity bypass surgery is done to reroute blood flow around a blocked blood vessel by creating a new pathway for blood to flow using a graft.  The graft may be made using a portion of one of your veins or a man-made synthetic tube.  You need this procedure because you're not getting enough blood to your legs and feet because your arteries become too narrow or blocked from plaque inside the artery walls.  This disease process is called peripheral artery disease.  When there's not enough blood flow to your lower extremities, you may experience pain when walking called intermittent claudication which causes the muscles of your legs to cramp and lose strength. In more advanced cases, you may develop pain or open sores on your lower legs and feet that won't heal.  At Maine Medical Center, we evaluate each patient and individualize treatment based on the patient's level of disease and circumstances.  If you and your vascular specialist make the decision to proceed with surgery, our expert team will be with you every step of the way.

In the days leading up to your operation: 

  • You will probably continue to take all medications; check with your surgeon
  • If not already on a beta-blocker, you will be started on a medication called "Lopressor" (if there is no contra-indication) to decrease the risk of heart related complications.
  • The night before surgery do NOT eat anything after midnight. You may have SMALL sips of CLEAR liquids (black coffee, black tea, apple juice, water) up to four hours before your procedures.

The day of your operation please:

  • Arrive at hospital and check in at the Ambulatory Surgical Unit (next to the emergency room) at the time indicated.
  • Leave all valuables and medications at home.
  • Bring a complete list of all medications you take including the dose, time of day you take them, and the time you took the last dose.

After your surgery is complete, you'll be transferred to our surgical unit where you'll spend 3-7 days. We've developed a patient picture pathway which provides guidelines and what you can do to facilitate a speedy recovery and discharge from the hospital!

Restoring blood flow by performing your surgical bypass usually provides relief of symptoms and allows wounds to heal. Your surgical team will discuss the results of the procedure with you and your loved ones. However, unless a healthy lifestyle is adopted and maintained, a new buildup of plaque can occur causing problems in the future.

Before you are discharged you will be provided with discharge instructions including:

  • Activity restrictions
  • Diet
  • Incision or wound care
  • Pain relief
  • When to call your physician for a follow up appointment
  • Who to call with any questions or concerns
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22 Bramhall Street | Portland, Maine 04102-3175 | (207) 662-0111