Understanding Femoral Endarterectomy
The femoral artery is a large blood vessel in the groin area. You have two femoral arteries, one on each side of the body. Each carries blood into one of the legs. Femoral endarterectomy is a procedure to clear a blockage from the femoral artery.
How to say it
Why a femoral endarterectomy is done
Arteries throughout the body can become blocked by fatty deposits called plaque. Plaque in a femoral artery can slow the flow of blood to your legs. The result may be aching pain during walking. If blood flow is completely blocked, tissue can die. This can be very serious. Endarterectomy clears plaque from the artery so blood can flow freely again.
How a femoral endarterectomy is done
An IV (intravenous) line will be put into a vein in your arm or hand. This allows fluids and medicines to be given.
You will be given medicine so you don’t feel pain. You will likely get general anesthesia. This puts you into a state like deep sleep during the procedure.
The surgeon makes a cut (incision) in the skin over the site of the blocked artery. He or she exposes the artery.
The surgeon puts clamps on the artery above and below the blockage. This temporarily stops blood flow. He or she then makes an incision in the artery itself.
The surgeon removes plaque from the artery.
The surgeon closes the artery incision using sutures or a patch. He or she then removes the clamps from the artery.
The skin incision is closed. A tube or drain may be put into the incision to drain fluids from area for a time after the surgery.
Risks of a femoral endarterectomy
Plaque coming back, needing another surgery
Unable to remove the plaque
More disease, needing a larger operation
Plaque breaking free and flowing to other parts of the leg, causing other blockages, tissue death, and loss of limb
March 21, 2017
Neschis DG, et al. Treatment of chronic lower extremity critical limb ischemia. Up To Date. July 17 ed: Up To Date; 2015. p. 20., Neschis DG. Surgical management of claudication. Up To Date. April 8 ed: Up To Date; 2016. p. 11., Nguyen BN, et al. Most Complications of Common Femoral Endarterectomy Occur after Hospital Discharge. Journal of Vascular Surgery. 2013 October;58(4):1152., Nguyen BN, et al. Postoperative complications after common femoral endarterectomy. Journal of Vascular Surgery. 2015 June 1;61(6):1489-94., Slovut DP, et al. Peripheral Artery Disease. Surgical Technique and Peripheral Artery Disease. 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.111.059048. Circulation. 2012;126:1127-38.
Images Reviewed by Staywell medical art team.,Mancini, Mary C, MD,Ziegler, Olivia, MS, PA