Diagnosis

To diagnose popliteal artery aneurysm, a health care professional usually does a physical exam and checks the legs for:

  • Swelling.
  • Tenderness.
  • 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.

Tests

Imaging tests can help confirm a diagnosis of popliteal artery aneurysm. Tests may include:

  • Duplex ultrasound. This 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 professional gently moves a hand-held ultrasound device on the skin behind and around the knee.
  • CT angiography or magnetic resonance (MR) angiography. These tests take detailed images of blood flow in the arteries. Before the images are taken, dye called contrast is injected into a blood vessel. The dye helps the arteries show up more clearly.

Treatment

Treatment of popliteal artery aneurysm depends on:

  • The size of the aneurysm.
  • The symptoms.
  • Your age and overall health.

Treatment may include:

  • Regular health checkups. You'll have frequent checkups and ultrasound tests to check the aneurysm, particularly if the aneurysm is small.
  • Medicines. Aspirin or another blood thinner is usually prescribed for people with popliteal artery aneurysm. Medicines may need to be given through a vein. Blood pressure and cholesterol medicine may be given if you have symptoms of heart disease.
  • Surgery. Open surgery to repair the damaged artery is generally recommended for any sized popliteal artery aneurysm that's causing symptoms. Surgery is usually done for any popliteal artery aneurysm that's 0.8 inches (2 centimeters) or larger. Sometimes, a less invasive procedure called endovascular repair may be done. During this treatment, a stent is placed inside the popliteal artery to hold it open.

Popliteal artery aneurysm care at Mayo Clinic

Sept. 26, 2023

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  1. Sidawy AN, et al., eds. Lower extremity aneurysms. In: Rutherford's Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy. 10th ed. Elsevier; 2023. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed May 25, 2023.
  2. Cameron AM, et al. Femoral and popliteal artery aneurysm. In: Current Surgical Therapy. 14th ed. Elsevier; 2023. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed May 25, 2023.
  3. Braswell-Pickering EA. Allscripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic. June 5, 2023.
  4. Peripheral arterial aneurysms. Merck Manual Professional Version. https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/cardiovascular-disorders/peripheral-arterial-disorders/peripheral-arterial-aneurysms. Accessed May 25, 2023.
  5. Reed AB. Popliteal artery aneurysm. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed May 25, 2023.
  6. van Laarhoven CJHCM, et al. Systematic review of the co-prevalence of arterial aneurysms within the vasculature. European Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery. 2021; doi:10.1016/j.ejvs.2020.10.002.
  7. Naazie I, et al. Open repair versus endovascular repair in the treatment of symptomatic popliteal artery aneurysms. 2022; doi:10.1016/j.avsg.2022.06.096.

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