Aortobifemoral Bypass

Aortobifemoral Bypass for Peripheral Arterial Disease

Surgery Overview

Aortobifemoral bypass surgery is used to bypass diseased large blood vessels in the abdomen and groin.

To bypass the blocked blood vessel, blood is redirected through a graft made of synthetic material (such as polytetrafluoroethyline [PTFE] or Dacron), which is sewn to the existing artery. These man-made grafts are more likely to be used than transplanted natural grafts for aortobifemoral surgery because the blood vessels involved are large.

The artificial blood vessel is formed into a Y shape. The single end of the Y is sewn on the aorta. The two split ends of the Y are sewn below the blocked or narrowed areas of the femoral arteries. This allows the blood to travel around (bypass) the diseased areas.

General anesthesia is used and will cause you to sleep through the procedure.

What To Expect After Surgery

Since this surgery is done on large, deep blood vessels inside the abdomen, recovery times are longer than for bypass surgery to treat diseased blood vessels in the legs.

You will need to spend 12 hours in bed after the surgery and will be in the hospital for 4 to 7 days.

Why It Is Done

Aortobifemoral bypass surgery is for people who have blocked blood vessels (aorta or iliac arteries) in the abdomen and pelvis. The blockage usually must be causing significant symptoms or be limb-threatening before bypass surgery is considered.

How Well It Works

Aortobifemoral bypass is successful at keeping the artery open and reducing symptoms over 80% of the time for at least 10 years.


Risks for aortobifemoral bypass procedure include:

What To Think About

Bypass surgery is preferred for people who have many areas of blockage or a long, continuous blockage in the arteries of the abdomen and/or the pelvis.

Illustration of an “aortobifemoral bypass”

Illustration of an “aortobifemoral bypass”

The Y-shaped graft creates a bypass for blood to travel around the blocked section of the artery.


  1. De Vries SO, Hunink MG (1997). Results of aortic bifurcation grafts for aortoiliac occlusive disease: A meta-analysis. Journal of Vascular Surgery, 26(4): 558–569
  2. WebMD. Collected 6/9/06.