A popliteal artery aneurysm is an abnormal bulge that occurs in the wall of the artery that runs through the area behind your knee joint.

  • Experience. Mayo Clinic doctors trained in blood vessel conditions (vascular specialists) and blood vessel surgery (vascular and endovascular surgeons) are among the most experienced in the country in treating people who have popliteal artery aneurysms. Each Mayo Clinic location offers a vascular center, staffed by doctors and other specialists trained in vascular diseases.
  • Team approach. Mayo Clinic doctors in several areas work together to diagnose and treat your condition.
  • Treatment expertise. Mayo Clinic doctors have expertise in treating people who have popliteal artery aneurysms and other aneurysms with endovascular surgery, open surgery and other options.
  • Efficient system. Mayo Clinic doctors evaluate your condition and develop a treatment plan, often within a few days.
  • Latest diagnostic tools. Mayo Clinic doctors use detailed imaging tests to diagnose your condition.

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Doctors trained in vascular and endovascular surgery, vascular medicine and others treat people who have popliteal artery aneurysms at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. Doctors in the Vascular Center care for people who have popliteal artery aneurysms.

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Mayo Clinic doctors trained in vascular and endovascular surgery, vascular medicine and others treat people who have popliteal artery aneurysms at Mayo Clinic in Florida. Doctors and surgeons in the Vascular Center care for people who have popliteal artery aneurysms.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 904-953-0853 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

Mayo Clinic doctors trained in vascular surgery, vascular medicine and others treat people who have popliteal artery aneurysms at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Staff in the Gonda Vascular Center cares for people who have popliteal artery aneurysms.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 507-538-3270 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

See information on patient services at the three Mayo Clinic locations, including transportation options and lodging.

Mayo Clinic doctors trained in blood vessel conditions (vascular specialists), doctors trained in imaging (radiologists) and others diagnose your condition.

Doctors usually find popliteal artery aneurysms during routine physical examinations or identify them on ultrasounds, X-rays or computerized tomography (CT) scans. Popliteal artery aneurysms often occur without symptoms.

Doctors may order several tests to diagnose your condition, including:

  • Ultrasound. An ultrasound uses sound waves to produce detailed images of your blood vessels. Both black and white and colored images can be displayed that can distinguish between the wall of the aneurysm and blood clot that may develop within the sac of the aneurysm.
  • Duplex ultrasound. Duplex ultrasound is a special ultrasound that gives information about blood flow through the aneurysm. Doctors often use ultrasound and duplex ultrasound to diagnose people who have popliteal artery aneurysms, and order other tests if needed.
  • Computerized tomography (CT). A CT scan uses a series of X-rays to create detailed images of the blood vessels in your leg. Sometimes doctors may inject a dye into your blood vessels to show the blood flow (CT angiography).
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create detailed images of your body's soft tissues. Sometimes doctors may inject a dye into your blood vessels to show the blood flow (magnetic resonance angiography).

Mayo Clinic doctors trained in blood vessel interventions and surgery (vascular and endovascular surgeons) and blood vessel conditions (vascular specialists) treat people who have popliteal artery aneurysms.

Doctors will work with you to determine the most appropriate treatment for your condition. Your treatment may include several options, depending on the condition of your arteries, your overall health, the size of the aneurysm and other factors.

Doctors may recommend endovascular intervention or open surgery to repair the popliteal artery aneurysm to help prevent potentially dangerous health issues and complications, including the aneurysm blocking blood flow to your leg, a blood clot breaking off from the aneurysm and other complications.

  • Endovascular intervention. In this procedure, which is less invasive than open surgery, your doctor inserts a long, flexible tube (catheter) into an artery in your groin or through the skin and threads the catheter to the aneurysm. Your doctor inserts an artificial tube (stent graft) through the catheter into the affected area and expands it against the walls of the artery. This helps to prevent the risk of a blood clot moving to and blocking the leg arteries, prevents rupture of the aneurysm, and avoids blockage of the knee artery. People who have endovascular intervention may have a quicker recovery and shorter hospital stays compared with open surgery. If you have blood clots and blocked blood flow to your leg due to a popliteal artery aneurysm, doctors may give you medications through the catheter to dissolve the blood clot before placing a stent graft.
  • Open surgery. In open surgery, your surgeon cuts the skin and tissue to reach the aneurysm directly. In one approach, surgeons create a detour around the aneurysm by placing veins from another part of your body (vein grafts) around the affected area. In another approach, surgeons place an artificial tube (prosthetic graft) in the affected area, approaching your aneurysm from behind the knee. During surgery to bypass the aneurysm with a vein or prosthetic artery, surgeons open the sac of the aneurysm, remove the blood clot and suture together the opposing walls to prevent recurrence or continuing compression to the surrounding blood vessels. Surgery keeps the aneurysm from entering your blood circulation and possibly rupturing.
  • Monitoring. If your aneurysm is small and you aren't experiencing symptoms, doctors may monitor your condition regularly with follow-up appointments and ultrasounds.

Mayo Clinic researchers study potential treatments for popliteal artery aneurysms and other types of aneurysms.

Publications

See a list of publications by Mayo Clinic doctors on popliteal artery aneurysms on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

Nov. 21, 2012