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Surgery is often reserved for PAD that is causing severe symptoms, when other methods fail, or there is a danger of limb loss. The main goal of surgery is to immediately improve blood flow to the affected areas.

Bypass Grafting

If blood flow to your limb is blocked or nearly blocked, your doctor may recommend bypass grafting . During this operation, a healthy blood vessel is removed from the leg or another area of the body. The healthy blood vessel is attached to the damaged artery just above and just below the damaged area. Blood will then be able to bypass the damaged area by moving through the new blood vessel.

Percutaneous Angioplasty

Percutaneous angioplasty uses catheters to help view and open blood vessels. A thin catheter is passed into larger arteries like those in your groin and passed through blood vessels to the blocked area. Instruments can then be used to remove or dissolve clots, open the pathway by compressing plaque, or place devices, called stents that help prop blood vessels open. Cryoplasty is another method that uses nitrous oxide to cool and open the artery.

Balloon Angioplasty

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Hills AJ, Shalhoub J, et al. Peripheral arterial disease. Br J Hosp Med (Lond). 2009;70(10):560-565.

How is peripheral arterial disease treated? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: Updated June 2, 2014. Accessed June 23, 2014.

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) of lower extremities. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: Updated August 11, 2016. Accessed September 23, 2016.

Prevention and treatment of PAD. American Heart Association website. Available at: Updated February 26, 2014. Accessed June 23, 2014.

11/4/2013 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance. Available at: McCaslin JE, Andras A, et al. Cryoplasty for peripheral arterial disease. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013;8:CD005507.

Last reviewed May 2015 by Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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