Carotid-subclavian bypass is a surgical procedure that restores blood flow to the upper extremities. The procedure involves bypassing a narrowed or blocked section of the subclavian artery, which carries blood to the arm. This is achieved by attaching a transplanted vein or synthetic graft to the carotid artery in the neck and the subclavian artery in the chest. Carotid-subclavian bypass is typically performed under general anesthesia and requires a hospital stay of a few days.
Individuals who have a blockage or narrowing of the subclavian artery, which can lead to reduced blood flow to the arm, may be candidates for a carotid-subclavian bypass. Some common causes of subclavian artery disease include atherosclerosis (a buildup of plaque in the artery) and thoracic outlet syndrome (compression of the artery). Before undergoing the procedure, a thorough evaluation will be performed to determine if a carotid-subclavian bypass is the most appropriate treatment option for the individual.
The primary benefit of a carotid-subclavian bypass is the restoration of blood flow to the arm. This can significantly improve symptoms such as arm pain, fatigue, and lack of coordination. In some cases, the procedure may also prevent further complications from subclavian artery disease, such as stroke or heart attack. Additionally, carotid-subclavian bypass is a minimally invasive procedure with a high success rate and low risk of complications.
Following a carotid-subclavian bypass, individuals will typically stay in the hospital for several days to monitor their recovery and manage any pain or discomfort. During this time, they will also receive education about proper wound care and post-operative exercises to promote healing and prevent complications. It is important to avoid strenuous activity and heavy lifting for several weeks after the procedure to allow the graft to fully heal. Most individuals are able to return to their usual activities within six to eight weeks after the procedure.