Leg Arterial Bypass Surgery Melbourne

A patient’s guide

Mr Mark Lovelock – FRACS
Vascular & Endovascular Surgeon

Causes – Peripheral Artery Disease

Peripheral Artery Disease is a condition where fatty deposits build up inside the arteries in the leg/s. It may potentially lead to narrowing and hardening of the arteries causing decreased blood flow, which may cause pain and other complications.

If blockages become more extensive, patients may experience leg pain or numbness in the thighs, calves and/or feet, that may limit daily activities. In advanced cases the patient may be at risk of loss of the limb unless blood circulation is improved.

Hardening of the arteries – Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis occurs when fat, cholesterol, and other substances build up in the walls of arteries. Where these deposits occur are called plaque. Over time, these plaques can narrow or completely block the arteries and cause problems throughout the body.

Atherosclerosis

What is Leg Arterial Bypass Surgery

Leg Arterial Bypass Surgery reroutes the blood supply around a blocked artery in one of your legs. A graft is used to replace or bypass the blocked part of the artery. The graft may be a plastic tube, or it may be a blood vessel (vein) taken from another part of your body (most often the opposite leg) during the same surgery.

The goals of the surgery is to improve the blood flow to the limb, reduce pain, improve leg function and quality of life, and to prevent amputation.

Arterial Leg Bypass Surgery

Mr. Mark Lovelock – What happens during surgery

If Mr. Lovelock has recommended surgical treatment for your arterial disease in the form of a bypass graft in your lower limb – The following usually occurs:

What happens

You will be admitted to hospital, on the day before surgery to allow for:

  • Anaesthetic assessment
  • Pre-operative serological testing
  • Cardiograph
  • Blood testing – For your haemoglobin level and serum is held in case of blood transfusion requirements.

Important notes

Preoperative donation of your own blood – This can be arranged if required. If you have any objection to receiving blood products or blood transfusions please notify Mr. Lovelock.

Medications – You should inform Mr. Lovelock before surgery of all medication you take and bring all your medications with you to hospital. Please also inform Mr. Lovelock and your Anaesthetist of any drug allergies.

Before the Operation

Mr. Lovelock and the Anaesthetist will see you the night before surgery to discuss the operative procedure and the anaesthesia involved. An assistant surgeon will be introduced to you prior to the start of your operation on the day of surgery.

The Operation

Arterial bypass of the lower limb involves a long length of the leg being subject to surgical treatment. The incision(s) will extend from the groin to the region of the knee. The operation lasts from 1 to 4 hours and may be performed under general or local anaesthesia.

After the Operation

For the first day after your operation you will require close monitoring and will admitted to a Special Nursing Area.

Hospital stay

95% of people can expect to be in hospital for between five to ten days after their operation.

Pain control

Your Anaesthetist will discuss with you methods of pain control at the pre-operative consultation. Because of the discomfort following the surgery you will be confined to bed for between one to two days. Any difficulties in passing urine prior to surgery may require management by means of insertion of a tube into the bladder. Please report any difficulties with passing of urine to Mr. Lovelock prior to your operation.

Getting you moving

After surgery you will be encouraged to move by commencing small walks and building up to progressively longer distances slowly over time. When you are confident about walking without assistance you will be able to go home from hospital unaided.

Swelling

Swelling of the leg is a common post-operative problem but if it is marked or painful please inform hospital staff. You will be able to walk outside the home after discharge from hospital but you should refrain from driving a motor vehicle for 7 to 14 days.

Stitches and showering

The stitches in your leg may be left in place at the time of your discharge from hospital. You may shower normally and wash the surgical site gently with soap and water and pat dry gently.

Wound monitoring

It is not unusual for clear straw coloured discharge to escape from the incision area after your operation.

Important note – Any marked pain in the wound, reddening or discharge of yellow material with a consistency of cream should be reported to Mr. Lovelock’s office immediately.

Removal of stitches

Stitches will be removed by the Practice Nurse in the post-operative phase. Follow up appointments will be arranged for regularly until the healing process is completed.

Any unusual changes or sudden deterioration in limb function, comfort or performance, or a sudden onset of coldness or pain should be reported immediately to Mr. Lovelock.

Risks

There is a 98% chance that the post-operative phase and surgical phase of your procedure will be as planned. There is a 2% complication rate for arterial surgery in the lower limb and the following complications may occur:

  • Heart Attack (Coronary Thrombosis, Myocardial Infarction) can cause death or disability.
  • Wound Infection.
  • Thrombosis of the veins of the leg or of the arterial bypass graft leading to failure of the reconstruction can occur. This may endanger the leg and limb loss (amputation) in extreme cases may result.
  • Bleeding (haemorrhage).

Either bleeding or thrombosis involving your procedure would involve further surgery to control.

Warning

Smokers have an increased the risk of complications and a much higher risk of failure of the this surgery. You are expected to cease smoking permanently to give you the best chance of healing and ongoing leg function.

Mr. Mark E. Lovelock – F.R.A.C.S


Vascular & Endovascular Surgeon

Appointments and questions please call my Epworth Rooms:

PLEASE CALL (03) 9421 8944

After hours – Emergency calls can be made through my call service:

PLEASE CALL (03) 9387 1000

If you have any questions or to would like to book an appointment visit:

CONTACT INFORMATION

Leg Arterial Bypass Surgery Melbourne

Mr Mark Lovelock consults and treats patients from all over Melbourne in relation to Leg Arterial Bypass Surgical Procedures including Richmond, Mulgrave, Brighton, Box Hill, Wheelers Hill, Glen Waverley, Mount Waverley, Oakleigh, Gardenvale, Elsternwick, Elwood, St Kilda, St Kilda East, Caufield, Glen Huntly, Bentleigh, Hampton, Sandringham, Black Rock, Cremorne, Toorak, South Yarra, Collingwood, Fitzroy, South Melbourne, Hawthorn, Armadale,  Surrey Hills, Blackburn, Burwood and Camberwell.