To diagnose popliteal artery aneurysm, a health care provider will usually do a physical exam to check for swelling, tenderness, or changes in skin color or temperature on the lower leg and behind the knee. You may be asked questions about your medical history and health habits, such as smoking.


Imaging tests can help confirm a diagnosis of popliteal artery aneurysm. If you have signs and symptoms of popliteal artery aneurysm, your health care provider may recommend:

  • Duplex ultrasound. This noninvasive test uses sound waves to see how blood flows through the arteries and veins. It's a simple and quick way to diagnose popliteal artery aneurysm. For the test, a health care provider gently moves a small hand-held device (transducer) on the skin behind and around the knee.
  • CT angiography or magnetic resonance (MR) angiography. CT and MR angiography provide detailed images of blood flow in the arteries. Before the images are taken, a contrast dye is injected into a blood vessel. The dye helps the arteries show up more clearly.


Treatment of popliteal artery aneurysm depends on the size of the aneurysm, the symptoms, and a person's age and overall health.

Treatment may include:

  • Watchful waiting. This means you'll have frequent checkups and ultrasound tests to monitor the aneurysm, particularly if the aneurysm is small.
  • Medications. Aspirin or another blood thinner (anticoagulant) is usually prescribed for people with popliteal artery aneurysm. Anticoagulants may need to be given by IV. Blood pressure and cholesterol medications also may be recommended to manage heart disease signs and symptoms.
  • Surgery. Open surgery to repair the damaged artery is generally recommended for any sized popiteal artery aneurysm that's causing symptoms or for any popliteal artery aneurysm that's 0.8 inches (2 centimeters) or larger. Sometimes, a less invasive procedure (endovascular repair) may be done to place a stent inside the popliteal artery to hold it open.

Popliteal artery aneurysm care at Mayo Clinic

Feb. 23, 2022
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