Dr Nigel Ackroyd - Vascular & Endovascular Surgeon
Dr Nigel Ackroyd - Vascular & Endovascular Surgeon: (02) 9977-5572

Patient Info

Open Arterial Surgery

An artery carries oxygenated blood from the heart to the different parts of the body. Normally the inner lining of the arteries is smooth. With advancing age, sticky substances such as cholesterol along with calcium and fibrous tissues may form plaques on the wall of the arteries. The plaque formation causes hardening and blockage of the arteries, which is known as atherosclerosis. The plaque on the wall of the arteries hampers blood flow and oxygen supply to the different organs and muscles. This results in the development of various symptoms and disease conditions.

The surgical removal of the plaque from a narrowed or blocked artery is known as open arterial surgery.

The basic steps involved in open arterial surgery are as follows:

  • The patient is anesthetized and the vitals such as breathing, blood pressure and temperature, along with brain functions are carefully monitored.
  • The arterial blockage is located and an incision is made over the skin of the identified site.
  • A tube called a shunt is inserted, above and below the blockage, to redirect the flow of blood. In some cases, the artery is clamped before the plaque location to stop the blood flow during the operation.
  • The plaque or blood clots are removed by specially designed instruments.
  • The artery is cleaned and widened by inserting an artificial graft or segment of your vein.
  • After the procedure, the shunt or clamps are removed to restore the blood flow.
  • Finally the incisions are closed.

In some cases, a thin, flexible tube called a drain is left in the incision for the drainage of any excessive fluid and is removed later.

Post-operative care

The patient may have to be hospitalized overnight for observation. More complex procedures may require up to a week's stay at the hospital. During recovery, the patient may require fluid and nutrition through an intravenous catheter. The incision should be kept clean and dry. Patients are advised to take their prescribed medications regularly. Patients should consult their doctor if they experience weakness, numbness, speech impairment, vision problems, chest pain, fever, pain, swelling, difficulty in breathing or vomiting.

Risks and complications

Generally open arterial surgery is a safe procedure for removing arterial plaque. The common complications associated with open arterial surgery include:

  • Bleeding
  • Re-blockage of the artery
  • Infection
  • Heart problems or stroke

The common risk factors that increases the chances of complications associated with open arterial surgery include:

  • Advanced age
  • Plaque in other vessels
  • Chest pain
  • Diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and congestive heart failure
  • Cancer
Dr Nigel Ackroyd - Vascular & Endovascular Surgeon
Dr Nigel Ackroyd - Vascular & Endovascular Surgeon