Treatment at Mayo Clinic

By Mayo Clinic Staff

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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.
Nov. 21, 2012