What is Femoral Endarterectomy?

Femoral endarterectomy is a surgical procedure done to remove plaque blockage from an artery that leads to the leg. In patients with peripheral artery disease these blood vessels can become clogged with a waxy, fatty substance called plaque. In severe cases, the lower leg may not get enough blood, resulting in cramping and pain. In some cases, blood flow is restricted so seriously that tissue in the lower legs and feet begins to die. During an endarterectomy, the artery is opened up, and the blockage pulled or scraped away.

A femoral endarterectomy is most often performed near the groin at the top of the thigh. The surgeon identifies the blockage and opens the artery with a small incision. The artery may be clamped briefly or re-routed to prevent excessive bleeding. Once inside the artery, the thick buildup can often be removed all in one piece. The surgeon may also form a graft using a piece of blood vessel from elsewhere in the patient's body, and use the graft to repair the artery where the blockage was removed. The wall of the artery is stitched closed, and the surgery is done. Blood flow to the leg and foot is restored.

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