Femoral popliteal bypass surgery

Patients presenting for this operation have had a history of worsening leg pain (claudication pain) especially with exercise. The cause of the pain is often decreased blood supply to the limbs as a result of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a hardening or thickening of the arteries which often affects other major blood vessels in the body. Often patients have had other evidence of atherosclerosis which includes strokes or Transient Ischaemic Attacks (T.I.A's) or angina and heart attacks. This means that this surgery is associated with a moderate risk of complications associated with other vessel disease already present.

Patients presenting for this operation are assessed by their anaesthetist prior to surgery. The role of the pre-operative assessment is for the anaesthetist to assess your suitability for surgery and to familiarize him/herself with any co-existing conditions which you may have. Any questions or concerns which you may have may be discussed at this time.

Patients are required to fast pre-operatively. Usual medications can be taken when due with small sips of water. There are two main ways to anaesthetize patients for this procedure which are general and regional (spinal or epidural) anaesthesia.

Neither technique is necessarily superior to the other and the choice will be made by the anaesthetist depending on the patients pre-existing conditions and patients wishes. Risk vs benefit of each approach are discussed with you at the time of the pre-op visit. You can expect surgery to last for 2-3 hours.

During this time your anaesthetist will control your respiration, pulse, blood pressure, temperature and depth of anaesthesia. Blood transfusions are occasionally required. Depending on your condition transfer to intensive care may be required post operatively.

For more information please refer to www.allaboutanaesthesia.com.au