Vascular Reconstruction of Lower Extremity, Foot, and Ankle

Vascular Reconstruction of Lower Extremity, Foot, and Ankle

Michael D. Sgroi

Jason T. Lee


  • Femoral artery usually lies one-third the distance from the pubic tubercle and two-thirds from the anterior superior iliac spine.

  • Lateral dissection at the femoral artery should be minimized so not to disrupt the femoral nerve.

  • Medial dissection at the femoral artery should be minimized so not to damage the femoral vein.

  • Exposure of the common femoral artery should include the distal external iliac artery under the inguinal ligament.

  • Care should be taken to identify all distal branches (superficial femoral artery (SFA) and profunda femoris).

  • Anterior tibial artery runs in the anterior compartment of the leg.

  • Anterior tibial artery is between the anterior tibialis and extensor digitorum longus muscles.

  • Anterior tibial artery becomes the dorsalis pedis when it crosses the ankle joint.

  • Dorsalis pedis can be palpated just lateral to extensor hallucis longus on the dorsum of the foot.

  • Posterior tibial artery carries blood through the posterior compartment of the leg and plantar surface of the foot.

  • Posterior tibial artery branches into the medial and lateral plantar arteries in the foot.

  • Posterior tibial artery can be palpated midway between the medial malleolus and the Achilles tendon.


  • Ischemic claudication (ie, arterial perfusion inadequate to meet the demands of the muscle) leads to cramping, aching pain.

  • Claudication will usually occur one vascular level below the stenosis or occlusion.

  • Ischemic rest pain (ie, chronic ischemic neuropathy that is positional) is often described as diffuse aching or burning while legs are up in recumbent position, which is improved after legs have been put in the dependent position.

  • Vascular and neurogenic claudication must first be differentiated.

  • Infrapopliteal disease is most often going to lead to ankle and foot disease.

  • Patients with tibial disease are more likely to experience rest pain or have nonhealing wounds rather than claudication symptoms.

  • Ulcers to the medial side of the ankle are more likely due to venous disease.

  • Ulcers to the lateral food and ankle are more likely to be due to arterial disease.


  • An ankle-brachial index (ABI) may be obtained by dividing the systolic blood pressure of the lower leg/ankle by the systolic blood pressure of the upper arm (brachial artery) (FIG 1).

    • An ABI ≤ 0.9 is considered abnormal.

    • ABIs will most commonly be indeterminate because the tibial vessels become noncompressible and waveforms will be monophasic.

  • Toe-brachial pressures (TBIs) will be more diagnostic in patients with tibial disease.

    • A TBI < 0.4 will indicate a wound is unlikely to heal without intervention.

  • Arteriography should be performed to evaluate the tibial vessels prior to any distal lower extremity or foot reconstruction.

    • Patients with diabetes and end-stage renal disease most frequently are affected by small vessel disease, including tibial vessels and the microvascular circulation.

FIG 1 • Example of an abnormal ankle-brachial index study.


  • A patient must first have an appropriate inflow and outflow vessel identified for reconstruction.

  • Autologous vein has superior rates of patency compared to prosthetic grafts.

  • Vein mapping should be performed preoperatively, assuring at least a 3-mm conduit.

  • Shorter bypass grafts have better patency.

  • The most distal patent native vessel should be used as the proximal origin of the bypass graft.

    • For example, if the patient has a patent popliteal artery, this should be chosen over a femoral artery.

  • Primary patency (the patency of a graft without any adjunctive therapies to keep it open), secondary patency (the patency rate once the graft has been completely abandoned and no further interventions are performed to keep it open), and limb salvage rates are 56.8%, 62.7%, and 78.2%, respectively, at 5 years for pedal revascularizations.

Nov 24, 2019 | Posted by in Aesthetic plastic surgery | Comments Off on Vascular Reconstruction of Lower Extremity, Foot, and Ankle
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